Page 19 - Minnesota Vol 8 No 6
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gling with some level of depression. We are also incredibly sleep-deprived and o en fail to engage in su cient physi- cal activity or healthy eating habits.
THE BURNOUT SPECTRUM
Fortunately for us, chronic stress is something that we can learn to manage, and in order to avoid burnout, we must see it as our duty to do so. Unmanaged chronic stress that leads to burnout will a ect our performance and will limit our ability to truly enjoy the work that we do.
Also fortunately for us, we do not have to do it alone.  e  rst step is to understand where you fall in the burn- out spectrum. Having a clear picture of where you cur- rently stand will help you see what e ort is necessary to avoid burnout or come out of it.
A very helpful tool to do this is the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) that I have used to help a lot of my fellow attorneys and high performance coaching clients. It is the most commonly used tool to self-assess whether you are experiencing burnout or are close to it. While people tend to respond di erently to stress, this self-assessment tool provides some general questions that have a broad enough range to give you a good idea of where you are.
If you  nd out that you are experiencing “high-level burnout,” it is going to be really important for you to con- sult your doctor, a mental health professional, or counsel- or to further assist you in managing any chronic stress that you may be experiencing.
THREE SUGGESTIONS TO MANAGE BURNOUT
As some preliminary support, here are 3 suggestions that I continue to use e ectively to help fellow colleagues manage and avoid occupational burnout:
NO. 1: TASK INVENTORY LIST.
One of the most important strategies you can do ini- tially to manage burnout is to do an inventory and prepare a list of all the tasks and assignments that you are respon- sible for on a day-to-day basis.  en create 3 columns, the  rst one titled “Automate,” the second titled “Delegate,” and the third one titled “Eliminate.”
 e goal is to then go through every single task and put it in one of the columns so that you either automate it, delegate it, or simply stop doing it. A lot of times burnout stems from doing a lot of tasks that we simply do not need to be doing ourselves. With such powerful advances in technology there are many tasks that can now be automat- ed and you do not have to do them manually. Also, focus on engaging in the most high-level tasks and delegate any tasks like copying or preparing exhibits to your secretary or paralegal.
If you are a solo practitioner, you can  nd online support from websites like www.onelegal.com that assist with tasks such as court  lings, process serving, delivery of courtesy copies, document searches and retrieval, subpoena prepa- ration and more. I have found that my clients sometimes have a challenging time letting go of some tasks, but look at it this way, your health and holistic wellness depend on it.  e future of your business depends on it and more im- portantly, you owe it to yourself and your clients to repre- sent them at the most e ective levels possible, and this will help you get there.
NO. 2: FOCUS ON RECOVERY.
As a trial and appellate attorney I learned that while stress was part of the job, chronic stress did not have to be.  e key is to  nd times, even if they are in short spurts, to bring the level of stress back down to a level 1 or 0 if pos- sible.  ere are many things you can implement at your workplace that need only take a few minutes at a time, including breathing exercises, meditation, taking a full lunch, doing micro-exercises, having a quick call with a loved one, listening to a positive a rmation or mantra.
 ese short, no-stress activities can help reduce the overall level of stress we experience throughout the day, especially if we engage in them several times a day. It is also very important, however, that you engage in longer periods of low-level to no stress. Nature tends to bring some of the most powerful bene ts, so if at all possible, on the weekends schedule a long hike, a trip to the ocean, a walk in the park. Longer periods of exercise are also in- credibly helpful and while the Department of Health and Human Services recommends 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week, even 75 minutes of more vigor- ous aerobic activity is incredibly bene cial. Broken down, that comes out to about 10 minutes per day of exercise.
NO. 3: DEVELOP AN EFFECTIVE CALENDARING SYSTEM.
Most of the time our day will control us instead of us controlling our day. One important strategy is to develop a calendaring system that includes not only your profes- sional deadlines, but your personal, non-work related ac- tivities as well. Whether it is a date night with your part- ner, a family member’s birthday, a fun weekend activity, a dentist appointment, time at the gym, dinner time, a trip to the grocery store, these are all activities that should be included in the same calendar as your professional cal- endar. If you are concerned about making your private life public, you can create private notes on your calendar that no one else can see, especially if you use Outlook or Google Calendars. I recommend this as well if you use a regular appointment book, have it all in there.
Not doing this will o en cause us to unnecessarily clut- ter our minds.  ere is no need for us to do this and this alone can help us breathe a little better because we know that we are less likely to miss a professional or personal deadline or activity – which is o en a key stressor that we experience.
My hope for you is that with these tools you are able to restore yourself. Feeling exhausted and drained does not have to be the norm. While we do not talk about it in the legal profession, having self-compassion is perfectly acceptable. When it comes to your well-being, develop a long-term perspective and give yourself permission to nurture yourself and develop the highest levels of profes- sional and personal ful llment. Best of luck my fellow col- league.
FERNANDO FLORES IS A TRIAL ATTORNEY, HIGH PERFORMANCE COACH, AUTHOR, LECTURER, PODCASTER, AND INTERNA- TIONAL SPEAKER. FERNANDO WORKS WITH ATTORNEYS TO INCREASE PROFESSIONAL PERFORMANCE BY AVOIDING OC- CUPATIONAL BURNOUT AND DEVELOPING STRESS-MANAGE- MENT TOOLS. IF YOU NEED EFFECTIVE AND POWERFUL SUP- PORT IN THIS AREA YOU CAN CONNECT WITH HIM BY VISITING WWW.1FERNANDOFLORES.COM.
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