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Last week, we read about an article discussing the fine line between having the right amount of stuff on your plate to avoid boredom, and being too busy. That elusive place in the middle was dubbed the "sweet spot" by The Wall Street Journal, and accompanied by a snazzy graphic (see below).
That got us thinking, how can lawyers find that elusive sweet spot? Here are our tips for finding that stress sweet spot and avoiding both boredom and overload.
The first thing you need to do is accurately gauge how much you can handle. Are you bored or unmotivated? Maybe that's a signal that you can take a little more on. Are you feeling completely stressed out? According to The Wall Street Journal, shortness of breath, insomnia, or forgetting to do things are all telltale signs that you might have too much on your plate.
When figuring out whether you are too busy, don't compare yourself to others. A person's threshold for how much work and stress she can handle is purely personal. Just because someone can handle a little more, or less, doesn't make her better, it just makes her different.
You need to recognize that your schedule is not static, so you may be going through a particularly busy time, but it won't always be that way. Has something happened recently to make you busier all of a sudden? Is it time that you hire more staff? Are you taking on more cases than you, or your firm, can handle? You may just be going through growing pains, and it's nothing that time won't help you get through.
If you are too busy, then you're not working at your full potential. Maintaining a manageable case load is not only integral to a successful practice, but also to a healthy state of mind -- and body. Take a few minutes to really think about how you can adjust your schedule -- and don't convince yourself that you're too busy to do it.
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