Do you have a game plan for changes you want to make in 2015? If not, I want to share ideas with you I shared with an associate years ago.

Years ago, a senior associate in our firm who I will call Linda told me that she was burning out. She described working all day, including eating at her desk, and then getting home, fixing dinner, putting her kids to sleep and then feeling totally exhausted.

I know that Linda is not the only lawyer who has felt that way. Most of us instinctively know things we should do; yet we don’t do them because we can’t find time. Sometimes we make New Years resolutions and quickly revert back to our old habits the first time we feel challenged.

As I told Linda, we will never find the time. We have to make time. I also told her that she should not make crash diet changes, but rather she should make permanent lifestyle changes. Here are lifestyle change suggestions I gave Linda:

  1. Take responsibility for your career and life.
  2.  Determine the priorities in your life and plan each week around those priorities (e.g. family, health, spiritual, work).
  3. Exercise for at least 30 minutes 5 days a week.
  4. Eat dinner at home with your family at least ___nights a week.
  5. Get up from your computer once an hour and, if nothing else, just walk down the hall and back.
  6. Take time during the lunch hour to get outside. Do not eat at your computer.
  7. Focus on things you can control rather than worrying about things you cannot control.
  8. Be a “glass half full” person rather than a “glass half empty” person.
  9. Begin building your career based on your major definite purpose (the intersection of your talent, passion and client needs).
  10. To better understand the lifestyle changes outlined above read these three books and after each chapter write down how you will apply what you read:
  • “The Power of Full Engagement” by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz – this book will teach you to manage your energy.
  • “First Things First” by Stephen Covey, A. Roger Merrill, and Rebecca R. Merrill – this book will teach you to manage time based on your priorities.
  • “Getting Things Done” by David Allen – this book will help you reduce stress by getting better organized.
  • Veronica Fallow

    Did Linda follow your advice? Was she able to achieve these lifestyle changes while continuing to work at a large law firm? I’m interested in how these ten lifestyle changes, and the time commitment they take, can be followed while billing 2100+ hours.