If one decides to live a better life with work life balance and Googles, “How to achieve work life balance,” one would get over 150,000 hits with advice from psychologists, life coaches, and a myriad of other types of people.
After studying the question, and reading a ton of articles, I finally found the answer. Ready? Work life balance is a myth. It is impossible to achieve. There is no such thing, and many people will beat themselves up trying to find the perfect balance.
I believe many attorneys and court reporters can easily work too much, not take care of their bodies, put off family and friends, having fun, until a more convenient time when there is no expedited transcript or hundreds of pages to scope. When will that time come? When you’re old? Infirmed? Exhausted?
The experts all agree there are five spheres of life that we have to focus on: HEALTH, WORK, FUN, FAMILY, FRIENDS. If we don’t give energy to any one of these, our life is not fulfilled. The experts also say that the key is to integrate all five spheres into your life NOW, to not wait, but use the whole of our workday, home life, and be mindful.
HEALTH SPHERE: We cannot put off taking care of our bodies. Our bodies are fantastic, and we need to respect and take care of ourselves. The experts all agree it is important to start off the day with a healthy breakfast. Super busy people have a habit of not eating (no time) until they are so hungry that chips and junk food seem like a perfect solution. Plan your meals. Create a quick, healthy lunch routine.
Did you know you can do yoga in your chair? Attorneys and court reporters sit more than probably any other profession. If you Google “Chair yoga,” you will be shocked how many great videos there are that show us how we can do simple stretching exercises while at our machines, and they’re not weird yoga poses. The attorneys will never know you are exercising and stretching.
Exercise doesn’t have to be training for a marathon. It can be a walk around the block.
WORK SPHERE: Attorneys talk super fast. The seven-hour rule is more like nine hours. Depositions can go from 9:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. easily. Expedites can come at us any moment like sniper fire. Some things we cannot control. BUT there are attorneys and reporters who are using their jobs to enjoy life. When traveling for a deposition, find time to enjoy where you are, even if it is just for an hour. Your body and brain deserves to enjoy.
When talking about work life, the advice that came up over and over again was organization. Having an organized office, desk, home, and team allows your brain to relax. When I talk about “organized team,” I mean to be ready with a scopist, back-up scopist, proofreader, housekeeper, gardener, Uber driver, whatever it takes to allow you to do what you do best and make money.
Multitasking has become a big part of our work life because of email, smart phones, and constant information coming at us. BUT multitasking is incredibly bad if you are striving for any type of balance. In one recent study, Russell Poldrack, a psychology professor at UCLA found that “multitasking adversely affects how you learn. Even if you learn while multitasking, that learning is less flexible and more specialized, so you cannot retrieve the information as easily.” People use different parts of the brain for learning and storing new information, and when people are multitasking, the brain scans show people using the part of the brain called the striatum, a region of the brain involved in learning new skills; brain scans of people who are not distracted show activity in the hippocampus, a region involved in storing and recalling information. Poldrack warns, “We have to be aware that there is a cost to the way that our society is changing; that humans are not built to work this way. We’re really built to focus. And when we force ourselves to multitask, we are less efficient in the long run.”
FAMILY SPHERE: Improve family life balance. Don’t be afraid to unplug. Create and stick to a daily routine. Make time for yourself. You need your own time. Take your vacation. Be present. Be consistent. Be accountable. Never feel guilty about taking time for yourself or for taking a vacation. Enjoy every minute. Notice the beauty around you and breathe.
FRIENDS SPHERE: Friends are important. Keep in contact. Don’t keep score. In other words, don’t think, “I invited her over last time. It is her turn to invite me over.” Be loyal. In other words, don’t tell others what your friends have trusted you to know. Remember their birthdays. Deal with any conflict. Be a fan and want for your friends to succeed. Live in the moment. Follow the golden rule. Friends are quality, not quantity.
FUN SPHERE: Find fun wherever, whenever you can. Use music in the morning to help wake you up. Dance in your room. Sing in the shower. Laugh at your pets’ antics. You are allowed to have fun all of the time – so let yourself.
Integration is the key to success
Being off-balance is good for you
Embrace opportunities at all times
Protect your time – Don’t waste time
Learn to say “Let me think about it…” Then think.
Kramm Court Reporting is committed to finding balance and supporting our clients and the reporters we work with in finding their work life balance.