The holiday season is normally filled with joy and family and friends. But as the pandemic continues to rage with no end in sight, some holiday parties and get-togethers have been cancelled or have gone virtual. Many people are still working from home and are missing friends, coworkers, and family members who live far away. The days are getting shorter, the nights are longer and colder. Joy might seem out of reach this year. But there are ways to find hope.
In October, I attended Stuart Teicher’s presentation on “Igniting or Re-Igniting the Passion for Practicing Law” at the State Bar’s (virtual) Wisconsin Solo & Small Firm Conference. His presentation was excellent, and his advice was a shot of inspiration that many people could use this year. So, for the benefit of those unable to attend Teicher’s presentation, here are some of my favorite tidbits.
Find your passion again. One way to do this is to pursue your practice area with a “relentless determination.” It’s easier to enjoy work if you are diligent and feel competent and prepared. Similarly, you’re more likely to procrastinate on a task that you are uncomfortable doing. So take the time to do your homework and prepare.
Remember why you chose your practice area to begin with. What did you like about it and what changed? If your practice area is no longer satisfying to you, maybe it’s time to try something different to reignite your passion. Find something you love and take the time to do it, whether it’s a new practice area, a hobby, volunteering, or spending time with family or friends – safely of course – to help you reignite your passion. What’s stopping you?
Give yourself time to focus. This can be difficult in our world of constant distractions. Try turning off the notification function of your cellphone and computer – even if it’s just for an hour or two – to give yourself time to think without interruption. Try meditating to clear your mind.
Clean and organize your desk, your work area, and your home. Doing so is an instant pick-me-up. If you need the visual reminder of files on your desk to remember which work you need to finish, write them down or keep a list – but put the files away. Trust me, you will feel better.
Have a clear break between work and leisure time, particularly if you are working from home.
The tips above might not be sufficient. I know that holidays can be especially depressing and isolating times for some people. If you need someone to talk to, remember that the State Bar’s Wisconsin Lawyers Assistance Program is always here for you.
Lastly, remember to take care of yourself. Stay safe. Take time to exercise, eat right, talk to friends, and get outside. Make a point to enjoy this holiday season.
Cite to 93. Wis. Law. 4 (December 2020).