Finding balance as an attorney can seem like an impossibly daunting task, especially if you haven’t experienced it before. The reality is that not finding work-life balance can lead to prolonged stress, tension within personal relationships, burnout, and even unexpected hospital visits. We know this because many of our attorneys experienced some (or all) of these consequences before joining Practus. Thankfully, Practus partner, Ryan Smith, shared how and why he was able to find work-life balance in his 4-part series.
Ryan’s series takes you on a journey from food and fitness to office equipment and personal fulfillment. His series helps and inspires attorneys to find their version of work-life balance as a legal partner, husband, father, friend, and grill master (well… grill enthusiast at least). Regardless of where you are in your journey towards a better work-life balance, we’re sure you’ll gain a few tips along the way.
Introduction: Work-life balance
In Ryan’s introduction to his work-life balance, he shares a scene featuring Cowboy Curly in City Slickers on the importance of finding your “one thing” – the thing that fulfills you and keeps you going. This initial scene sets the tone for the entire series and is worth a watch. You can find the full intro article & the scene he refers to here.
Part 1: Food & Happiness
“Mediocre art is far worse than bad art. Bad art does not waste our time.” Don Paterson
Around the world, food is considered a form of art and culture. To have mediocre food takes away from the experience, fulfillment, and happiness of one of the best things this world has to offer: a mouthwatering, fully satisfying meal.
Part 1 of Ryan’s work-life balance series for attorneys dives into how turning ingredients into something extraordinary unlocks the creative side of his brain that doesn’t need to follow the rules, a complete contrast to the strict securities side of law Ryan typically practices. By doing something that is completely outside of his work life, he’s fulfilling more than just his hunger; he’s also fulfilling his spirit.
Learn how coloring outside the lines through cooking has inspired Ryan’s work as an attorney in Part 1 of his series (and find some delicious recipes too).
Part 2: Fitness
Contrary to assumptions based on his LinkedIn feed of charitable runs for Alzheimer’s research, Ryan wasn’t always into fitness. It took a visit to the ER to realize just how vital fitness was to work-life balance as an attorney.
Practicing law is an inherently sedentary field with many hours spent at a desk behind a computer, but that doesn’t have to mean your entire life has to be sedentary. Part 2 of his series highlights the positive impact fitness has had on his overall work-life balance as an attorney. He explains how fitness is an avenue to meet people outside of the law while having fun and improving overall health.
Part 3: Service
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Gandhi
Most of us know the world doesn’t revolve around us, and serving others can be a great way to remind ourselves of this. Practicing law takes a significant amount of emotional and mental energy because most attorneys are handling client issues that greatly impact the client’s lives. After all, attorneys are in the business of providing legal services.
That being said, there’s a difference between serving our paying clients and serving those that are in need with no expectations of compensation in return. Part 3 of this series highlights different ways attorneys can provide service while finding themselves in the process.
Part 4: Equipment
Parts 1-3 discuss how to find work-life balance as an attorney with activities outside of your typical practice of law. Part 4 of Ryan’s series dives into how to promote this balance within your own practice by upgrading your office equipment.
Now, you might be thinking the final part of this series seems out of place. Before you skip Part 4, ask yourself how many hours each day you spend at your office or home workstation. A lot, right? So, why wouldn’t you invest in your equipment to make each minute (and billable hour) optimal?
Ryan admits he was skeptical about his equipment’s effect on his work-life balance until he had the opportunity to cook with a scenic cliff side ocean view (pictures in the full article). He realized from this moment just how much your environment and equipment you use have a positive impact on your end product.
This final part of the series ties everything together while giving attorneys extremely helpful tips and recommendations to upgrade their equipment setup.
Whether you resonate with the metaphor of Cowboy Curly’s “one thing,” or are simply fed up with feeling your profession as an attorney is taking its toll on your personal life, Ryan’s series paints a vivid picture of the multifaceted nature of work-life balance, offering practical and vulnerable insights with motivational paths to enriching both professional and personal dimensions of life in the legal world. You can access all our work-life balance content for attorneys, including Ryan’s series on our website here.