You’ve Got to Have Balance

Acrobatik In Copenhagen” from RasmusH on Wikimedia Commons. Used under the Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0 License.

Rapper Akrobatic said it best: “I got mad problems with the world though, even my profession.”

The problem: lack of balance in the profession. A ton of attorneys haven’t figured out how to balance the needs of making partner with those of having any other identity than “attorney.” This is a surefire way to begin to hate not only your profession, but your life as a whole.

I’m no guru when it comes to balance. I just

came off of four days straight of depositions. I took work home all last week in order to stay ahead. That said, I do try generally to maintain things in my life that bring a little non-law to my world. I have a few recommendations:

Get a hobby!

Seriously! Mine? Cooking, raising chickens, blogging, music, and gardening. Well, the gardening isn’t really a hobby, but a constant struggle to fight back the morning glory trying to strangle my roses and privet. Do I have enough time to do each of these things as well as I’d like? Heck, no! But it’s fun and gives me something interesting to talk about at parties.

Take time for yourself!

Between work, hobbies, honey-do lists, and outside obligations, I’m often busy from dawn to dusk. However, I try to make a little time each night for me. Sometimes it’s as simple as taking a nap or taking a couple hours to go buy and play with the new iPhone. Those things you do for yourself have a big payoff on your sanity.

Take time for others!

This may seem like a no-brainer, but make your significant other and your family a priority in your life. Years ago, during law school, I went through a heart-wrenching breakup. I was spending all of my time trying to get published on top of my 2L course load. This led to fatigue and, ultimately, fights. I hadn’t been taking the time to make sure I was nurturing the relationship. Like anything that doesn’t get nourishment, it died. It was the hardest life lesson I’ve learned. When I talked with my dad about the situation, he told me, “It’s just a job.” He was right. Ours may be a stressful time-suck of a profession, but at the end of the day, it’s just a means to pay the bills and help people along the way. Now, no matter how busy I get, I make the time to go to family gatherings. I take the time to go on “dates,” and I commit by buying tickets well ahead of time and blocking my calendar.


Finally, take a danged vacation! Every year I go someplace different. Last year, it was Mexico. This year, Italy. If you’re saying, “Yeah, right! With what time?,” go to your calendar right now… I’ll wait. Open it up. Click to the first month where you have a week or two that isn’t yet gobbled up by depositions or trial (be sure to check either side of that block, as you really can’t have a trial the day after this block). Look good? Okay, block it off NOW. Now go purchase your tickets to [insert place that has really good drinks served with nice umbrellas]. DON’T TAKE YOUR LAPTOP.

Your practice will survive without you (and will do a lot better in the long run).

One thought on “You’ve Got to Have Balance

  1. markpattersonlaw

    I blasted out of the office at 4:04 PM today on my road bike. You got to have balance I said to myself, yeah, particularly on a road bike.

    I swung the front wheel down east to Riverside. Riverside, that part of my hometown where all the crime seems to reside. Just after crossing the freeway bridge I am in a descent when I catch sight of a heavy set woman struggling up the hill wearing a sweatshirt that reads ” I Do Dumb Things” . She is smoking a cigarette. Yeep, Riverside, you betcha.

    I follow the river around Everett’s northern border and down to the water front. Fit, well groomed young men are jogging in the opposite direction on the path. These are not locals, they are sailors; Navy or Coast Guard. All the fit well groomed local young men are either in college or in the military somewhere else. The rest are not fit, and not well groomed, and left behind here.

    It is charming to see the bronze statue which commemorates the fisherman we had here once as the sole alternative to working in the mill, and even more charming to see fishermen still tending nets. It is like Ballard without all the Subarus.

    Its been months since I have ridden. There always seemed to be someone or something in the way of getting out. I wasted that long dry spell we had on the phone or at this terminal.

    I guess I will take that balance now, in full winter kit. The fenders are on the bike. Yeep.

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