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Productivity Tips

(The Lean Law Firm Blog)

E231: The challenges and solutions to unplugging at work for improved productivity

May 29, 2024
A professional looks tired and burnt out at his test with a laptop.

How long can you be completely “away” and unplugged from your law firm? No work-related phone calls, no checking email, no checking in with the office, and no worrying about it while you’re unplugged.

Most of our Practice Accelerator coaching group said they could go a couple of days to a week. The old hands could go at least a week, but some new members couldn’t even go a day. 

Your Tip: If you never unplug, you’re going to burn out.

Taking time away—and by this, again, we mean completely away——can be good for you and your practice.

What’s better is that stepping away to unplug regularly can actually have substantial benefits for your productivity. It may seem counterintuitive at first, but trust us, it’s worth figuring out so you can unplug successfully and with ease. 

Advantages of Unplugging

Did you know that taking a break can :

  • Improve your concentration and reduce digital fatigue, so you can work more efficiently.
  • Become a more creative problem-solver, because your mind has time to fully reset.
  • Allow you to embrace more of what you love at home and around your community with family and friends, so you can refresh your soul and rekindle your personal relationships.

Challenges of Unplugging and Their Solutions:

When you’re planning and executing your “away” time, you may run into some difficulties along the way. Here are some challenges and potential solutions: 

  • Challenge: Office FOMO (fear of missing out) can be hard. You may worry about missing urgent developments in cases.
    Solution: Set realistic expectations with colleagues and team members, so you know the regular work is covered and you’ll be notified if something truly urgent comes up. The more prepared you are, the more confident you’ll be about your breaks.
  • Challenge: The idea of returning from a break to a mountain of work may be discouraging. You might even think it would be easier to skip your break  entirely to avoid the backlog and the stress.
    Solution: Make returning easy by setting up an out-of-office response that sets expectations for your return, delegating tasks you could have done while away to people (or AI), and blocking off some time when you return specifically to handle any urgent matters that may have arisen during your time away (we usually block off the entire first day back in the office, so we have lots of time to catch up)

The first time you fully step away might not go perfectly, but the benefits far outweigh the difficulties. Most importantly, stepping away from the constant demands of your practice lets you rest, recuperate, and think more freely. Not only will it help you maintain overall well-being and prevent burnout, it can also allow you to access ideas that have been simmering away subconsciously. You may find a solution to an ongoing problem or uncover  new insights that might not surface during your stressful day-to-day routine.

Refreshed, focused, and motivated people are more productive people! Even if it feels uncomfortable at first, disconnecting from your daily life, technology, and habits is a crucial step towards increasing your productivity (and restoring a little balance to your busy mind).

Your action item: Give yourself a break. Start small, with a few hours or even a full day, and get comfortable stepping away for a complete break.

Interested in exploring productivity opportunities specific to your law firm? Book a call and let us help you get out of the grind and into your Power Zone where you’ll be happier and more productive.

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