Ask LawCrossing: Busy Lawyer with Two Kids Wants More Quality Time
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I'm a practicing lawyer with two young kids and finding time for them is a challenge. How can I better manage my schedule to leave more time for them?
Without knowing your schedule, it's hard to offer time-management specifics. I can, however, suggest a way to make the most of the time you already have with your kids. If you're like many lawyers, lack of time is only part of the problem. The other major challenge is lack of presence. That is, when you're with the kids, you're not sufficiently there.
Legal work tends to colonize as much of your brain as you let it, so it's crucial that you make a conscious effort to be mentally and emotionally present when you're with the kids. The following exercise takes a few minutes, but it's well worth it in terms of what you'll bring to your spouse and children.
Take a few minutes when you get home to shift into a different, more family-friendly gear. Sit quietly, become aware of your body, and let go of the stresses and demands of work. Spend some time visualizing how you want to feel when you're with your kids.
Then, when you walk into the kitchen to greet the gang, you can avoid the culture shock that lawyers often experience in the transition from work to family. You'll find that you feel better about your relationships and are less likely to resent your time at work.
One really practical suggestion I can offer is to adjust your bedtime and wake-up times. Sometimes even a minor change can free up time to get things done and give you more time with the kids. Stephan Rechtschaffen's book, Timeshifting: Creating More Time to Enjoy Your Life, may help shed more light on the subject.
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