Lawyer Burnout Likened to WWII Pilot “Target Fixation”

Debra L. Bruce, JD, PCC.

There’s an excellent article called Target Fixationon the “Life at the Bar” blog by Julie Fleming Brown. She likens lawyer burnout to the World War II fighter pilots who were so intent on hitting their targets that they failed to pull up in time after dropping their bombs, and literally hit their targets. If after reading Julie’s article you realize you need to find some ways to gain more time and disengage from “target fixation,” perhaps my article about ‘work/life’ balance tipsposted on December 7, 2006 will help. I’m also happy to brainstorm other solutions with you.

Texas Bar Journal Talks About Coaching for Attorneys

Debra L. Bruce, JD, PCC.

The December 2006 issue of the Texas Bar Journal includes an article about why and how lawyers are using coaches. The article is entitled “Suit Up, Johnson, You’re Going In,” and it quotes yours truly, Debra Bruce. Here is a link to the article on lawyer coaching, in case you want to read it.

Work/Life Balance: Are You Tottering on the Brink?

Debra L. Bruce, JD, PCC.

As a coach to lawyers, this is the time of year when I really hear the life balance questions. All year lawyers struggle to maintain work/life balance, but the challenges become more acute during the holidays. At the same time that family and friends clamor for our attention, year-end deadlines for budgetary, tax or financial reporting purposes cause our clients to pressure us with non-negotiable demands.

Here are tips to implement all year long to help achieve balance between work and your personal life, but especially during the holidays.

1. Put your own oxygen mask on first. This is the most important tip, and the one you’ll be most tempted to skip. The flight attendants tell you this for a good reason. You can’t help others or meet their demands if you deplete your own reserves. What replenishes your energy? What relieves stress for you? Spending a few minutes with nature nurtures the soul, even if you merely water the plants in your office. Create space for 15 minutes of quiet at the start of your day, and protect it. It sounds counter-intuitive and maybe impossible, but my clients are surprised at how problems roll off their backs, instead of developing into time-sucking crises, when they start the day with quiet time.

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