At the beginning of the year, the JBA Board of Governors started one of its meetings off with members writing down their goals for the year, both professionally and personally.
Every single one of us wrote down that we wanted to improve our work/life balance.
As I sit here writing this while on vacation (why did I not finish this before I left?), I realize just how important this quest is.
Don’t get me wrong — lawyers lead a blessed life.
Our jobs afford us the opportunity to use our God-given skills, challenge our minds, and allow us to work with an amazing group of talented attorneys in Jacksonville.
It also offers many of us the chance to enjoy things in life such as time with our families and trips to exotic places (said as I type this overlooking Vilano Beach).
But, too often we seem to get caught up in the cycle of work that we fail to realize just how lucky we all are.
Taking some time here on the deck reflecting on this made me think of a few of the reasons why it is just so important for us to take a break.
Is there really anything more important? Those piles of records will be there when you get back. There will always be more to do than there are hours in the day. But, how many times can you watch your children or nephews build sandcastles on the beach?
With the hustle and bustle of daily life, these moments can get lost in the shuffle. Do not let that happen, take time to enjoy them.
Getting back to basics
I doubt many of us dreamed of becoming lawyers because we wanted to sit behind a desk and stare at a computer screen all day.
Most of us believed that by becoming lawyers we could help people. Are we doing that?
If not, how can work that into our daily routines?
It may sound cliché, but it is true that you get so much more back from giving to others. Perhaps it is taking a case for Jacksonville Area Legal Aid or volunteering for your local animal shelter.
What are you passionate about? Take a minute to think about it and then become involved. You will not regret it.
Take time to say thank you
We all worked hard and studied harder to become lawyers, but along the way there were those that helped us.
Maybe it was a mentor at your first firm. Maybe it was a teacher who took extra time to help you understand why a + b really did equal c.
Those people helped mold you in to who you are today. Remember that.
If you can, be sure to reach out to them and say thank you. It will mean the world to them.
And while you are at it, consider becoming a mentor yourself.
The JBA has an overwhelming request for mentors. Perhaps you could have that same impact on a young lawyer starting the process in this profession. For more info: www.jaxbar.org/jba-mentors-needed.
You cannot be 100 percent all of the time
We work diligently for our clients. But we cannot be 100 percent all of the time. Without taking a break every now and then, you are not providing your clients the best service.
Walk away from your desk, clear your head, and when you get back, you just might see the solution to the case that has been bothering you for weeks.
Your clients will understand
Our clients are people, too. They understand just how important it is for them to take a break and recharge and they will understand that you need time to do that too.
These may all seem like simple ideas, but they are important.
Taking a break will make you a better lawyer and a better person.
So, from the beach I say, take a break!