My boyfriend is snoozing beside me. It’s 11:30 am on a Saturday. I’m sitting here on my computer, writing, researching, emailing, thinking. Which one of us has the right idea in this scenario? As with almost all important questions, it depends. What a boring answer.
I’m pretty much floating in and out of work mode all the time and never feel completely burnt out. I rest when I need to, it’s pretty simple. People are often so shocked that I leave the office before 8 pm, and utterly aghast that I’m allowed to go home by 6 pm. Managers of the world should pay attention, my coworkers and I are the most dedicated, loyal group of people because of the goodwill this work environment breeds.
But back to my point. My other half, although he works during the weekends too, is resting right now. He’s hibernating. “Recharging his batteries.” I don’t ever seem to need a recharge. Lawyers are pretty much always chewing on their cases, thinking up strategy, making mental to-do lists, and worrying. That never completely shuts off, and that’s a good thing. I send myself brainstorming emails at all hours because inspiration comes at all hours.
Shouldn’t we all be allowed to rest when we need it (and not just on the weekends)? A very quick note to parents: I know you get no rest on the weekends, and I think this fluid type of work-life construct applies all the more to you. A mentor of mine carves out meditation time in the middle of the afternoon because this is when his body is in a natural lull. Pushing himself to work through this would be counterproductive and inefficient. Turns out, he’s the most efficient man on the planet. Someone else I know works very early in the morning and checks out by 3:30 pm because this fits his body’s natural clock. Personally, I get a full 8 hours of sleep every night. Otherwise…well, I shudder to think about it.
Why is it not a workplace policy, especially at law firms, that as long as you are meeting your goals and deadlines, you can make your own schedule? The internet tells me flex time and telecommuting are becoming more popular. At least in my profession, I’m not seeing it. I see a lot of burnout, and I hear a lot of complaints about hours. And this makes me sad.
Contrary to certain stereotypes, lawyers are a surprisingly creative crowd. Creative types aren’t generally chained to desks for twelve hours a day. Lawyers should be stretching their minds and their hearts, and not giving themselves carpal tunnel syndrome by typing on computers 24 hours a day. (I say that as I’m typing on a computer, of course.) Each thing we do enriches all of the other things we do. It’s time to respect the interconnectedness of life. (I know, channeling Anne-Marie Slaughter here).
Weekends aren’t just for resting anymore. And weekdays aren’t just for working. Isn’t it simply that life is for living? My job is the single biggest part of my daily life, as it should be. But there is so much else out there to do and accomplish, there is lots of fun to be had, and lots of time we should be spending with our friends, our kids, our partners and our neighbors. This is my personal pipe dream I guess, but I know many lawyers would be so much happier if workplaces recognized that our activities don’t “take away” from our work, they add to it.
- 8 Ways to Work Smarter, Live Better, and be More Productive (slideshare.net)
- Don’t Do Chores On Weekends (adulteratedblog.com)