Thursday, April 17, 2014
Do you wake up in the middle of the night with the same thoughts--often dreaming of missing this deadline or failing to do that task?
Do you hear the alarm clock a few hours later only to immediately feel that knot in your core, worrying about that ball you are dropping--dreading opening up your email inbox to see what fresh horror awaits?
Far too many attorneys are caught in this cycle.
STOP THE ANXIETY CYCLE
If these questions hit a little too close to home, then it is high time to think seriously about chronic anxiety, over-work, and the need to re-evaluate how you spend your time. Before you roll your eyes this is not necessary another call to remind you that "life is too short to spend all day in the office."
To be clear, life is ultimately too short to prioritize work over all else. BUT, taking steps to lower anxiety and ease up on your incessant to-do list does not automatically correspond with less money. The opposite is true in many cases. As pie-in-the-sky as it may seem, doing less is often far more effective (and profitable) than doing more. (For general primers on that concept see The 80/20 Principle and The 4-Hour Workweek).
There are no shortage of excellent discussions of lawyer anxiety and depression. But if you happened upon this post you likely want instant gratification and help. Here are three steps you can take tonight to slowly walk down the road of more sanity, less chaos, and, yes, more profit.
1) Meditation - You do not have to take your shoes off, sit in complex positions, or listen to bizarre music. Meditation simply means taking 10 minutes to focus on your breathing and not on the 10,000 other worries dive-bombing your brain on a daily basis. This is not New Age nonsense. There is real science behind the benefits of meditation. You can do it anywhere at any time. Think about it.
2) Sleep - You need a regular sleep schedule. This is not the first time you've heard this. The benefits of solid rest are simply unquestioned. Consider that this week the world's oldest person--116 years old--attributed her longevity to three things: Sleep (8 hours a day, always), Sushi, and Relaxation.
3) Outsourcing - Much anxiety is rooted in performing more tasks than you have time for and/or work that you do not enjoy or know how to do well. Fortunately, there is a solution: have someone else do it. Obviously as legal content writers and legal blog writers, we work in the outsourcing arena, and so this is a tip near and dear to our hearts. However, you do not have to take our word for it. Virtually every example of strong business growth coupled with less anxiety involves passing the reins to others.
NOTE: Actual depression is very real, requiring professional support. It is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of, but you must take time to talk to someone about it.
Photo Credit: Arturo J. Paniagua via Compfight cc