Burnout is a huge problem. About 70% of Americans feel disengaged at work, which is a huge symptom of burnout, and there’s no reason to suspect that lawyers are different and maybe suffering more than others.
Nobody knows exactly how many lawyers experience burnout, but there are too many. One solution is to develop high-quality relationships where it’s safe to discuss burnout.
Burnout Prevention Techniques
Plenty of burnout prevention techniques include doing lesser work or taking some time to restock and recharge. For an advocate who survives on billable hours, taking time off to recharge may create its own mess of financial stress. Time that is not spent working means taking a salary hit. Law demands acute attention to detail, and the price of even a mistake at your end could be worth millions of dollars or even life in prison for someone.
Although the legal profession fosters burnout, lawyers can protect themselves, without making monumental changes like leaving the job.
Create More Meaning
Check any serious conflict between values and work as lack of meaning in life is a key driver of burnout. You are not saving people or fulfilling your own life’s purpose every single minute. Seek meaning in your work. For many lawyers, it already exists and needs more exposure. Lawyers change lives, so connect more with your clients and focus on the importance of your work for them. Remind yourself of the good you do.
Let Go of Perfection
Perfection is the enemy of good enough. Easing on perfection is critical. Women, suffer from a need to be perfect at everything, from looks to motherhood to career. Lawyers need to compartmentalize perfectionist tendencies. Triage your life a bit, and figure out what really must be done perfectly, and settle for good enough if needed.
Build Awareness of Stress, Feelings, and Triggers
You solve a problem by acknowledging it. Learn to recognize signs of being pushed to the edge, whether these are headaches, anger, irritability, or worse. Protection against burnout is by recognizing when it’s coming and upsets your life. Any activities you could cut? Can you hire someone to help you or delegate some tasks?
Manage Energy Levels
Manage your energy, not your time as humans are not machines and need breaks. Studies show that humans cannot focus for more than 90 minutes. After that, we become inefficient and less effective. Taking a good, relaxing break by taking a walk, meditating or even listening to music, after every 90 minutes. Attempt the tasks that energize you first when your energy levels are high.
Increase Focus and Productivity
Many of these changes sound simple but are not easy to carry out. Taking stock of things gone wrong and changing them requires honest introspection that most avoid. But if we don’t, we may spend a year on the couch watching reruns.
The more severe the burnout becomes, the harder will be the cure. Burnout is not a personal failing but tends to hit the best of the employees – the ones with enthusiasm and who readily accept responsibility and whose job becomes a part of their identity. If you suspect burnout, you must take the Maslach Burnout Inventory-General Survey. This well-researched survey provides evidence to be shared with your healthcare provider and for obtaining professional help. Consider new practice areas, take a sabbatical, find work that adds meaning, or secure additional support.