The legal profession has some of the highest rates of burn out, substance abuse, and mental health issues. All of those issues can also be intertwined. Burn out can cause mental health issues. Mental issues could cause burn out or substance abuse. Substance abuse could cause or exacerbate mental health issues. It’s a serious problem. What can overwhelmed attorneys do to better their stress management?
Traditional Means of Stress Management for Overwhelmed Attorneys
Of course, there are some traditional means of stress management for overwhelmed attorneys. These techniques shouldn’t be overlooked. It’s important to explore stress management techniques so that you can adopt the ones that really make a difference in your life and in your practice. Some of the most used techniques include:
- Daily exercise. Studies show that even 75 minutes of exercise per week can help you feel less stress.
- Learn to say no. It’s not always easy to say no, but learning to do it in your professional and personal lives can be helpful. Start small and recognize that you don’t necessarily need to provide an explanation for your saying no.
- Create and follow a daily game plan. Know what you need to do every day and do it. Spend just 15 minutes to create your daily game plan. Start by listing your absolute priorities and go from there. By the way, 15 minutes in a day is roughly one percent.
- Take time for you. As the old saying goes, you cannot pour from any glass. Create appointments to do things you want and need to do and stick to them.
- If you need help, get it. If you need more help in the office, get it. If you need mental health or substance abuse help, get it. Getting any kind of help can be scary. It can feel like you’re admitting you’re out of control. That’s not necessarily true. It could be that you’re getting help to create and maintain better control over yourself and your practice.
How Overwhelmed Attorneys Can Use Legal Tech for Stress Management
Technology of any kind is designed to help us. Sometimes, though, the idea of using any sort of technology (let alone legal tech which would directly affect your practice) can feel stressful. How much time will it take to install and adopt? How much management will it need? What will it cost? Is it really worth it?
The good news is that legal tech doesn’t have to be difficult to adopt, use, or manage. When chosen properly, it can even help you lower your stress level. Here’s how:
- Automation can help lighten your workload. Automation can come in many forms, and it doesn’t have to run your entire law firm. It can be as simple as the document or form assembly feature present in your practice management software. It could be using a chatbot to help improve the client intake process or to create basic forms and documents for you to review.
- Stay on top of your to-do list. This can be as simple as using Trello, Todoist, Evernote, or Outlook’s task manager. Create a list of everything you need to accomplish today, this week, this month, and even this quarter (or more). Give every task a deadline. You can share your to-do list with others. Depending on what program you use, you may be able to assign certain parts of a task to another person. Your practice management software may offer docketing as well as to-do lists. It may also provide you with a way to create workflows for each task. Regardless of how you choose to use technology to help you stay on top of your tasks, the most important point is to check those lists and follow-through.
- Time tracking for better billing. Using legal tech to help you track your billable time can make the entire billing process easier for you. No more remembering to write it down. No more hoping you took adequate notes for documenting how your time was spent on a matter. Instead, you look up the appropriate client or matter, pick the appropriate activity, and turn on the timer. You can also add notes. Then, at the end of the billing period, invoices can be compiled and reviewed in a fraction of the time.
Stress is an inevitable part of being a lawyer, but you can regain control and minimize how it impacts your life. Find and try traditional stress management techniques as well as the right legal tech options to help manager your stress. You may even notice an increase in your productivity!
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