When the Working Day is Done . . .
How Much Fun Are You Having?

By Irene Leonard, Lawyer Coach    

Reprinted with the permission of the King County Bar Association, August 2007


I'm a business coach for lawyers who frequently finds herself helping lawyers discover how to have more fun. In addition to setting goals that relate to their professional career, I also coach my clients to set goals related to having more fun. Lawyers do want to have fun.

I start work with my coaching clients using a simple life satisfaction assessment that includes "fun and recreation." Many of my legal clients have a tendency to give themselves a low score when they answer the question, "How satisfied with fun in your life are you?" Check out www.coachingforchange.com/WheelOfLife.pdf to complete your own life assessment.

It's important in reaching your professional career goals to make sure other areas of your life - like fun - are satisfactory, so that you can more easily focus on improving your career aspirations.

What's YOUR Idea of Fun?

Many of my clients don't know what fun is for them. What's fun for you? Here's what a few of my clients have done to improve their fun quotients. All names have been changed to maintain client confidentially.

Geoffrey needed to carve out time for his music: playing, practicing and listening. He learned that the joy he got in connecting with his music added to the pleasure of his law practice.

David improved his fun quotient by making sure he got his billable hours in by 5 p.m. so he could leave and spend time with his children. He worked on ways he could be more efficient while at the office so he could leave at a reasonable time.

For Cindy, fun was taking a day off each month to do whatever she wanted, such as go for a hike, visit a museum, go shopping or do some gardening. She took a complete break from legal work on her day off.

Steve improved his fun quotient by learning to track his hours consistently (he was not good at tracking all his time when he started working with me) so that he could spend more time on his volunteer opportunities, which were fun for him.

For Karin, vacations are fun, so she worked on increasing her vacation time from two separate weeks each year to as much as three weeks at one time and a total of six weeks for the year.

Sally had to determine what "fun" was for her. She knew it wasn't physical activities. She also had to get over the concept that fun should be "ha-ha funny" in order to be fun. Ultimately, Sally realized that fun for her was eating fine food at wonderful restaurants, reading trashy novels, shopping and spending time with her boyfriend. The good thing about all these fun experiences is that she could engage in them during her work week.

What's important is to discover or confirm your own definition of fun. That definition might change as you go through transitions in your life, so don't worry about finding the definitive definition. Stay clear of doing things just because other people think they are fun and you don't. That's definitely not the way to have fun.

What's It Take To Have Fun?

The practice of law is demanding and if you don't make having fun important, then you're probably finding you aren't having enough fun. Here are some things that might help you increase your fun quotient:

The following are goals that my lawyer clients have pursued to increase their fun quotient:

The above stories are examples of lawyers having fun outside of their work. When you have fun outside of work, it's easier to improve your work life so it becomes more fun. It's also possible to improve your satisfaction level with your work itself so that it becomes more fun. Yes fun! Some things you can do include:

Maintain a Fun Attitude

Attitude goes a long way to having more satisfaction and fun in your practice. You can decide the glass is either half empty or half full. You can decide that you're enjoying yourself and having fun or that what you do is drudgery. Shifting your attitude may be all you need to do to notice the pleasure or fun in what you're doing.

Brainstorm ways to bring more fun into your life and you'll find it's possible to have more fun. Come up with a plan to increase your level of satisfaction with fun in your life. You won't regret it.

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Irene Leonard is a business coach and lawyer, who can be reached through her Web site, www.CoachingForChange.com. Her idea of fun is eating out with friends, reading page-turners and gardening. “My work is fun,” she says, “because I take such pleasure from helping my clients achieve amazing career successes as a result of our working together.”