We experience many things that deplete our energy throughout the day, personally and professionally. To be more productive lawyers (and better spouses, partners and parents), we need to be more intentional about replenishing our energy. Micro self-care is one way to do that. Micro self-care is defined as quick, self-replenishing practices throughout the day, every day that are simple, free (or inexpensive) and doable. In other words, don’t wait for your next vacation. Incorporate small habits into your day and throughout the week.
You can start the day with a grounding tool (i.e. listen to music in the car on the way to work), practice an energizing tool after lunch (i.e. walk outside) and implement something relaxing at the end of the day to transition out of work (i.e. on the way home, sit at a local lake for 15 minutes). During a workshop, one lawyer said that to avoid bringing work issues home he would imagine putting them in a duffle bag and tossing them by the side of the train tracks he crossed on the way home. He would then “pick up the duffle bag” in the morning on the way back to work. A colleague of mine would intentionally touch the door frame on her way out of the building to remind herself that she is leaving her office and, thus, to leave work there.
Of course, it can be more challenging to set boundaries when the office is at home, as is the case for many of us during the pandemic. If you have a room that serves as your office you can try the “door frame” approach mentioned above. If your home or apartment is smaller and virtually every room is an office, then put your work “stuff” aside or out of sight for the evening. As an example, if the bedroom has necessarily become an office for you, at the end of your “office” day remove anything work-related so the bedroom is a bedroom again.
Implement the replenishing and boundary setting practices that will work for you and commit to doing them regularly. To make you more accountable, tell someone you trust and ask him/her to follow up with you.