Feeling behind at work? Are you overwhelmed? You’re not alone. Lawyers suffer nearly four times the depression rates of other professions, and stress and anxiety within the legal profession are well documented. Professional burnout is on the rise and while there are no quick fixes for the depression epidemic afflicting lawyers, there is some relief to be found through the practice of mindfulness.
Set your intention the night before
This is especially helpful for those of us who have trouble falling asleep due to our racing minds. Before you go to sleep, set your intention for something that you want to accomplish in the morning. Having reminders set up for yourself in the morning are also helpful. For example, if your intention for the morning is to start your day with 5 minutes of meditation, maybe it would be helpful to leave yourself a sticky note on your bathroom mirror so that the rush and chaos of the morning doesn’t distract you from your original intention.
Start with your priorities – not someone else’s
Do you spend your morning hours trapped in your Inbox? When you’re responding to emails, you’re allowing other people to set priorities for you. Carve out no-email time in the morning when you’re most productive to do work that requires focus.
The Power of having a NOT To Do List
Create a ‘Not To Do List’ and see if it’s bigger than your ‘To Do List’. This follows right along with setting your priorities. Work can pile up, it happens to all of us, and when this happens, it is easy to get caught in the overwhelming urge to complete the work and meet the deadline. However, that often also means that we end up spending our days doing more work than is expected of us. The act of creating a not to do list helps to highlight a lot of the work that is meant to be delegated or outsourced to colleagues.
Things that pop up on our desktop or makes noise pulls us away from what we’re focusing on. Consider turning off auto-notifications on your computer as well as your phone.
One attorney shared that she was constantly getting distracted by staff needing her attention. In order to reduce interruption to her work flow, she put a timer on her office door. When she needed a block of time to work, she would set the timer. This let whoever visited her office to see that this was her “no distraction” time and also knew exactly what time they should come back.