Solo Attorneys: Stay Motivated and Avoid Getting Burned Out!

by Melanie Fischer on June 23, 2016

tiredOwning and managing a solo law practice can be a great professional undertaking. As the owner of a solo law firm, you can be considered a small business owner and an entrepreneur. Being the owner of your own firm means that you are your own boss. You have the freedom to make your own schedule, and you are responsible for taking your business in the direction you want.

There certainly are quite a few perks associated with business ownership and entrepreneurship. However, it’s not uncommon for small business owners to experience professional burnout at some point in time. In many cases, entrepreneurs go through cycles during their time as a business owner. Sometimes there are feelings of excitement and enthusiasm – but there can also be times when there are feelings of boredom, stress and burnout.

It’s important for entrepreneurs in all professional fields to recognize the signs of impending boredom, stress, and burnout – and to learn how to heed these warnings before they make an impact on you and on the success of your business.

One of the most important factors to remember is the reason you decided to open a solo law practice in the first place. Before you launched your practice, you were probably very excited about the idea of owning and managing your own business.

The thought of being a solo attorney probably allowed you to envision a less stressful professional life.  You also looked forward to creating your own schedule and of course to growing your practice into a successful and profitable organization. Reminiscing about these thoughts when you are feeling burned out or discouraged is essential to re-gaining a positive outlook and attitude.

Following are three examples of how to stay motivated and avoid getting burned out:

Take a break. Entrepreneurs are notorious for not taking breaks or vacations. When you are an employee of a company, you are typically given a certain number of vacation or personal days per year. While it might be difficult for an employee to actually schedule the allowed time to use all those days, most employees find time to take a short break – even if it’s just a one- or two-day vacation. When you’re an entrepreneur or small business owner, it is difficult to take time off. Even so, it’s important to take a break every so often. A short vacation from work allows you to relax and re-fuel.

Don’t allow yourself to take on more work than you can complete in a timely fashion. Small business owners are typically hesitant to turn away business. But if your schedule is already over-booked, and if you think it will be impossible to complete the additional work within a reasonable time frame, it may be best to turn it down. When you have too much work on your plate, you can end up with stress, fatigue, and ultimately with dissatisfied clients. This is not good for you or your business.

Stay organized. One of the greatest causes of stress for many small business owners is disorganization. If your office is cluttered or disorganized, spending a few minutes at the end of each day making sure it’s as clean and tidy might help you feel less stressed and more relaxed. It can be difficult to work in an office when a desk is covered in folders and paperwork. It can also be challenging to find documents and other pieces of information when items are not filed properly. Simply making things a little bit neater can be extremely helpful and can put you back on the right path.


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