How often have you considered doing something you’d like to do but realized you don’t have time for it? How often does a week pass by and you did not have a minute to yourself? Not even a minute to do anything you might want to do just for yourself. It’s a typical scenario these days, especially for lawyers.

The problem is that not making time for you can lead to chronic stress and depression. Did you know that 70% of all lawyers report higher than normal levels of stress, anxiety and depression? Not making time for yourself not only leads to that statistic, it makes it far worse than it needs to be. While you may be busy, and your to-do lists are probably overwhelming, you must make yourself a priority.

Kids, job, chores, stress, Covid, bills to pay, cooking, cleaning and everything else we have to do is a lot. But, without self-care, we will burnout quickly and then what happens to all those responsibilities? When you neglect your own needs and mental wellbeing, everything (and sometimes everyone) in your life suffers.

Meetings, deadlines, and appointments are all crammed onto your calendar. I’ll bet at least 80% of your daily schedule is already allocated. But, more likely than not, there isn’t a single mention about time for yourself in there.

Everyone needs personal time. Time to unwind. Time to breathe. Time to have fun and experience joy. Time to explore hobbies and interests. Time to get away from the law.

Finding time to focus on self-care may be challenging, especially when job and family life are demanding, but this is something we must all do, even if it is only 30 minutes here and there.

5 Ways To Get Some You Time

Prioritize

Prioritize, first and foremost. A well-organized plan will put your mind at ease and lead to a more productive week. Scheduling time ahead is an excellent method to guarantee you don’t scrimp on that all-important self-care time. You can also see where you can squeeze it in (which can help ensure you take it). In any case, prioritize what’s vital and learn to say no or delegate, as discussed further below.

Say No (It’s All Right, I Promise)

It is quite acceptable to say no. In fact, the most successful lawyers I know have structure and boundaries that make saying no so much easier. Your time is very valuable, and it needs to be spent on activities that provide meaning to your life. It’s okay if you don’t want to accept that lunch invite if what you really need is some alone time. It’s also okay to say no to a friend who has requested your help with a project but it gets in the way of your regeneration time. And – yes, it is true – it is okay to say no to a client who wants to see you at the exact time you are going to the gym to work out some of your stress. In fact, I worked with a man whose entire business took off because he learned how to say no to clients and keep his daily workout in place.

Switch It Off

Take a break from your phone and computer. How many times do you get an afternoon to yourself, only to waste it replying to e-mails? Social media has its advantages, but it can also entice us to spend an hour looking at useless memes or get drawn into an empty pit. Some would say surfing the net is relaxing but it actually stimulates parts of your brain you need to quiet when recharging. Limiting distractions is the first step in creating time for yourself.

Timely Departure From Work

Lawyers work 50-60 hours per week, at least. But when you need some alone time, this is one of the easiest things you can do. Make it a point to leave the office (and not take home any work) around dinner time at least once a week. Then take advantage of that time by engaging in your favorite pastime, getting a massage, meditating, spending time with a friend you don’t see very often, or doing anything that helps you relax.

Learn To Delegate

According to VeryWellMind, “Are there responsibilities that you have at home or at work that could be delegated to assistants, family members, or others? Allowing someone else to take over a task can bring added benefits. They may find that they’re better at it than they thought they would be (or than you thought they would be). They may also enjoy the feeling of helping out. At the very least, it could bring a sense of teamwork.” Also, hiring support like a virtual assistant, house cleaner or personal chef are less expensive than you might think and can free up hours every week.

Finding time just for you is not a mindless act. It involves thinking about what you need to do, knowing that you are important enough to yourself to make the time for, then making sure you do it. The key to self-care is consistent practice. You don’t have to spend a lot of time on it every day; in fact, spending even a few minutes a day can have a tremendous effect.

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