Summer vacation as a lawyer? We get it, lawyers have a busy job — and that’s an understatement. It can often feel impossible to take some time to slow down when you’re constantly getting swamped with client demands and cases. As difficult as it might seem to get away from your practice, it’s still worth the effort for your well-being. Taking a summer vacation as a lawyer is not only possible but, in many cases, necessary.
If the weather’s heating up and you’re starting to wonder what it takes to escape from the hustle and bustle, remember these tips to take a summer vacation as a lawyer.
Why take a vacation as a lawyer?
Retreating from the never-ending grind for a few days of vacation isn’t just a nicety; it’s a necessity. Consider these reasons why blocking out some vacation time should be a top priority in your busy schedule:
- Stress relief: Too much stress from a hectic work schedule can wear you down to the point that it’s hard even to catch a breath. Just a few days out of the office can take a massive burden off your shoulders and relieve your stress.
- Improved productivity: It might sound counterintuitive at first, but taking a break from work can be precisely what you need to become more productive. Returning to work after an extended break can lend you a fresh perspective on complicated problems.
- Improved health: Feeling stressed for too long isn’t just going to impact you mentally. It can also affect your overall physical health, such as your heart and blood pressure.
Five tips to take a vacation effectively as a lawyer
While vacationing is all about ease and relaxation, there’s no denying that planning time away can take a lot of effort. Consider these tips to take a vacation effectively, efficiently, and responsibly.
1. Plan and schedule in advance
Planning a summer vacation months ahead of time is essential for all professions – and that goes double for attorneys. For those who work in such a dynamic, fast-paced industry, it’s vital to look at your schedule months in advance to start planning things out. You’ll want to ensure that you have a clear agenda without any significant obligations on the near horizon. For example, court holidays are a natural time of year to plan vacations around.
Additionally, you’ll want to take steps to ensure that your clients will know that they won’t be able to reach you during your vacation time. One way to get started is to schedule out-of-office messages for your voicemail and email inboxes. On top of that, you might also consider emailing all your current and potential clients to let them know that you won’t be reachable during your vacation time. Taking steps like these can prepare you and your clients for a smooth transition to your well-deserved leisure time.
2. Sort out client projects ahead of time
Unfortunately, summer vacation as a lawyer isn’t always as simple as shutting down your computer and catching a cruise ship to the Bahamas. Before you make your grand escape, ensure that you put time and effort into taking care of your existing client projects so that they’re not left hanging at critical points while you’re away.
You can begin by working through your current ongoing client projects and acting on them. If necessary, you can organize this process by crafting a to-do list with a concrete plan of attack to make headway on all your current responsibilities. By carefully managing your approach to this ongoing client work, you can rest easy knowing that you’ve left your clients in a good place. Not only will your clients be satisfied that they’ve received the service they need, but you’ll be able to enjoy a guilt-free vacation in the knowledge that you’ve gone above and beyond.
3. Delegate your tasks effectively
Even if you complete all your major tasks before heading out on vacation, it’s an unavoidable truth that work doesn’t stop even while you’re away. However, you don’t have to simply let emails and assignments stack up while you’re out. Instead, if you work at an organization with other attorneys or if you have staff working for you, you can delegate your responsibilities to them so you can still make that progress.
This is where having a law practice management software, like PracticePanther, comes in handy. You can easily set up automated workflows that trigger tasks that can be assigned to your team. Once you’re back, you can review the current stage in the workflow and quickly pick up where your team stopped. This set it and forget feature makes it simple to transition back to work after a vacation without that overwhelming “I don’t know where to even begin” feeling we often experience.
You may not be able to completely reassign all of your projects, but at the very least, having other team members handle even the most minor tasks can make a substantial difference when you return.
4. Use practice management software
There’s no denying that legal work is often packed with tedium. It’s not unusual for attorneys to face mountains of paperwork to sign, invoices to create, and case information to manage. While you’re out on vacation, you can take some of these nagging little issues off your plate by getting help with automated law practice management software.
Solutions like PracticePanther have robust functionality to manage many of your admin tasks while you’re away. For example, if you’re worried about client accessibility, you can enable the client portal feature. This allows clients to review documents, email correspondence, and even pay their invoices without contacting your firm. Before you leave, you can even send your clients automated reminders and send them a text message before you take off.
5. Be ready to return after vacation
Even the most relaxing and serene summer vacation as a lawyer can be sullied if you return to the office to find your inbox stuffed with dozens upon dozens of urgent messages demanding your attention. You can minimize this shock by emotionally preparing yourself to return to work.
You may even want to give yourself time on your last day of summer vacation or your first day back to work to slowly adjust to the daily routine of law firm life. You can use this time to catch up on your emails, make to-do lists, and prepare draft strategies for your major projects, among other possibilities.
It’s time to go on that vacation
Being a lawyer is fast-paced and making time for a vacation can feel like a daunting task. However, it can still be within reach with proper planning and automated resources to keep your practice afloat while you’re away. With these steps, you’ll be on your way to a restful and fulfilling break.
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