How Lawyers Can Look Up, Step Back, and Find Time

What does it take to be a successful attorney? Most lawyers believe in a kind of tunnel vision, a laser focus on putting in the hours required to increase productivity, no matter the personal cost. If there’s not enough time in the day to both complete the work and nurture the family, we know which one suffers.

Here’s some counterintuitive information: Devoting all your waking hours to the practice of law can sabotage the very success you crave.

Psychologists say that when you fail to disconnect, you’re preventing yourself from running at maximum speed, from thinking creatively and acting effectively for yourself and others. When you’re overworked you lose awareness and your mind, rather than expanding, contracts and robs you of insight.

It’s like you have a bad kind of tunnel vision, the kind that makes you single-mindedly chase the thing that seems to matter most–the time to work.

We can all agree there’s never enough time for everything. But, with mindfulness, we can achieve better balance. So, if you’re pressed for time, consider these work life strategies from the experts on how to look up, step back, and find the time you thought you’d lost:

  • Recognize that you’re trapped in a cycle of chasing time-consuming tasks that only give you more time-consuming tasks, not fulfillment or satisfaction.
  • Do not think about how little time you have or focus on how busy you are.
  • Compartmentalize constructively by keeping difficult things in one part of your life from contaminating the other parts of your life.
  • Be present in the moment.
  • Calendar free time to do absolutely nothing and decompress.
  • Discover or rediscover your non-work passion and use this outlet to gain perspective.
  • Say “no” to excessive commitments. If you wouldn’t want to do it tomorrow, don’t agree to do it two months from now.

To learn more about how others deal with the time-no time conundrum, listen to Hidden Brain’s “Tunnel Vision” podcast.