Work work work work work

That Rihanna song is so catchy isn’t it?

Warm weather has finally arrived and it’s difficult to focus at work from time to time, but I find it much easier to work longer hours when it’s not dark at 4 or 5PM. That just makes me sleepy. And grumpy.

I wanted to share some good advice that I got a few years back about succeeding in private practice: You always need to have a little more work than you’re actually capable of getting done in the time you’ve got. Clearly, that doesn’t mean that you should take on so much work that you’re doing a disservice to your clients, but it’s something that I remind myself every once in a while when I start to feel like I’m actually getting to the end of things.

Be busier than you think you should (or want to) be.

I like crossing things off my list as much as the next person, but what I’ve learned is that you really are never done with legal work. As with any good business, the successful lawyer is always a little too busy. Think about it – you probably wouldn’t be that interested in a restaurant with no one in it, so who wants to go to a lawyer who is only ever working on one file at a time? First, as a young lawyer, if you don’t have a decent number of files, you’re probably not getting the breadth of experience that you need to keep advancing. Second, if you’re twiddling your thumbs on someone else’s dime, you should probably start looking for a new position because that isn’t likely to last too long.

Also, I just don’t think you can really have any work/life balance if you aren’t working. I suppose it’s a variation on “you can’t have the good without the bad”. Not that work is bad, per se. Just that, if all of your time was free time then you might not appreciate the time that you get to spend with your friends and family as much because, you know, you can see them any time you want. When you have work that you enjoy and that keeps you busy, you feel that much better about taking a break from it and coming back to it later.

It’s possible to be busy and enjoy your time off. In fact, having other interests can actually make you better at your job. I’ve taken up no fewer than six hobbies over the past few years (it may seem excessive, but I think my real hobby is learning to be a jack-of-all-trades). Recently, I’ve taken up golf, which has allowed me more time with my husband and is a nice change of pace.

What kinds of things do you do to unwind? Let me know in the comments!