Can I see someone’s daily “routine”? Im a first year, and I’m having a hard time staying healthy and in shape when I’m working 10-15 hours/day. I miss working out all the time, and I want to prevent burnout. We have a 2000 billable req/year. Thanks!

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I was in leveraged finance - my first year, I gained 20 pounds (yay!) because I ate takeout every day and worked all day. Didn’t do much of anything else. Sleep was erratic, stress was high.

My second year, I implemented some changes and tried to work out 2x during the week by waking up at 6am, and then once on the weekend whenever I could squeeze it in. I tried to order healthy takeout. Waking up at 6am when you went to bed at 3am is really hard, and I often skipped my workouts. It’s also hard to eat a salad at 8pm when literally the only thing that you can look forward to in the day and that brings you a modicum of joy is shoving a giant cheeseburger into your mouth and washing it down with a can of coke.

My third year, I left my firm and went to another one that had slightly better hours. This was during covid, so I got to stay at home. Much easier to fit in a workout/eat better. Still, the work was shit and stressful and I hated it.

My fourth year (now), I moved in-house and it’s the best decision I ever made. I wake up at 7am 3x a week to work out. Log on around 9:30am..log off around 6:30pm. I like group fitness classes so I try to go to the morning ones, but if I sleep in, I can squeeze one in in the evening (something I was literally never able to do in biglaw). I have time to buy groceries and cook my meals. I’m dating, I have time to see and hang out with my friends and family. I have full 2-day no-work weekends. I have lost those 20 pounds and look like a goddess.

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Wow….this comment…the light at the end of the tunnel 😭😭

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OP: Here is a blog post I wrote that may help http://jaimiefield.com/2021/04/01/rainmaking-recommendation-236-how-to-spend-your-time-on-rainmaking-the-pandemic-edition/ :

The first thing I teach my clients to do is to take one week and record everything they do from the moment they wake up till the time they go to sleep. Find out where you are spending time with things that aren't going to help you - for example, if you are like me and sometimes get stuck for 15 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour, watching TikTok videos; or maybe you go to research something and it winds up taking you down the rabbit hole of clicking on links, etc.

After you have figured out where all of your time goes, then begin to plan your day. Literally, put appointments on your calendar for everything - working out, eating, sleeping (at least 7 hours), working in the office, whatever else you want to accomplish, and follow it like they are inviolable appointments with yourself because they are!

If you are spending any time on Netflix, Hulu, TV, the internet, etc. then you can find the time to do the things you want. And by the way, I am not saying you cannot Netflix and chill, or scroll a social media site, or do just about anything you want, just make sure that every moment of the day is a conscious choice and not something that you are doing because you got into the habit of sitting in front of the tv after you've finished working. When the average daily internet usage (and not for research) is 145 hours per day, and when the average tv watching time is up to 5 hours per day, people sometimes do not know where their time goes -that's why I do the exercise with my clients.

As I always tell my clients, if Richard Branson can successfully run 60 companies at the same time and still stay in shape, healthy, and have fun (and please do not argue that he has thousands of people working for him - he still does a tremendous amount of work per day), then you can too.

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This. Has been so true for me. Getting exercise in as soon as I wake up before scrolling my phone has also been so great for sticking to 5-6 day/ wk schedule. Some days I find it harder than others to stay off internet/ phone (I was bad today) but it usually contributes to the nights I work later than I should.

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Leave the firm. Find a lifestyle firm or In House if you want a more balanced life.

likesmartfunny

First year in 2020, second in 2021, and third in 2022…. So Jan 1, 2022

I wake up at 5am, work out from 5:30-7:00, shower and get ready, coffee, etc. start work at 8am. Typically work until about 7pm, take a break for dinner. Put in another 1-3 hours of work and then go to bed between 9pm and 11pm ideally. Obviously some days that doesn’t work and I’m up working until midnight or 2am, but as a regular schedule, it works pretty well for me. It means I don’t have time for Netflix or things like that during the week, but I feel mentally a lot better working out regularly so it’s worth it to sacrifice tv time.

likefunny

Late to this but… there are things in life besides Netflix and family? What about culture, being aware of what’s going on in the world, friends, idk, going outside? I feel like this schedule deprives you of what’s necessary to be a well rounded person. I’ve talked to young partners at law firms that had no clue what’s going on around them. This is how you get that way. I don’t think it’s good for anyone and sets a ridiculous standard.

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Some of these comments are ridiculous. You can absolutely have a daily life outside of big law, even with a 2000 billable req, but it depends on your practice area. Some days I really think I’m gonna be able to go to lunch or dinner with a friend and then it doesn’t end up being feasible, but that doesn’t happen very often. If I work a 15 hour day, I work a 5 hour day the next day. Don’t be afraid to set boundaries. I don’t respond to emails after 7pm if it’s not urgent. No one gives me weekend work and I only do it if I wasn’t productive enough during the week. FWIW, I’m a second year, in a regulatory practice, on a large team and well respected at my firm. Today I only made it to the gym for 20 minutes so I’m gonna try again tomorrow. :) Also, for me, there inevitably becomes some point during the day where i hit a wall with my productivity. If that happens to you, take that time to go to the gym or catch up on errands or take a nap or whatever it is you need to get done. No point sitting at your computer trying unsuccessfully to force yourself to focus for an hour.

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I’ve seen people work themselves to legit 3000+ hr years (lev fin and cap markets practice). It’s 12-16 hr billable days during the week, and then 8-10 hrs on weekends…maybe a week or two of vacation and a weekend day off here and there. But yeah, total madness.

Wake up at 9. Eat breakfast and try to make my hair look presentable. Join 9:30 zoom call. Respond to emails. Do some substantive work. Take nap during lunch. Work some more and make plans to go to the gym later. Do a little more work. Decide to skip the gym. Order delivery. Watch Netflix and surf the Internet. Go to bed around 1am. Get mad at myself for being so out of shape. Repeat.

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I live in the American Gardens Building on West 81st Street on the 11th floor. My name is Legal Counsel 1. I’m 33 years old. I believe in taking care of myself, and a balanced diet and a rigorous exercise routine. In the morning, if my face is a little puffy, I’ll put on an ice pack while doing my stomach crunches. I can do a thousand now. After I remove the ice pack I use a deep pore cleanser lotion. In the shower I use a water activated gel cleanser, then a honey almond body scrub, and on the face an exfoliating gel scrub. Then I apply an herb-mint facial masque which I leave on for 10 minutes while I prepare the rest of my routine. I always use an after shave lotion with little or no alcohol, because alcohol dries your face out and makes you look older. Then moisturizer, then an anti-aging eye balm followed by a final moisturizing protective lotion. There is an idea of Legal Counsel 1. Some kind of abstraction. But there is no real me. Only an entity. Something illusory. And though I can hide my cold gaze, and you can shake my hand and feel flesh gripping yours, and maybe you can even sense our lifestyles are probably comparable, I simply am not there.

likefunny

Can I see your new business cards?

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Am I the only one who needs 8-9 hours of sleep to function?

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We live in a weird society where getting less sleep is somehow lauded. Sleep is a necessary bodily requirement

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Look at the partners. Do any seem to be in shape? That’s your future.

likesmartfunny

Most of the ones I work with are in great shape. Probably an indication of work ethic and time management skills. I definitely form certain opinions when I am cross the table from a slob, and it almost always translates into their work and skill. Wrong? Don’t care 🤷🏼‍♂️

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You literally have to just carve out an hour a day for exercise, whether it’s a 6am workout (before the emails start) or after people log off later in the day. Outsource other things like cooking (e.g., Postmates, or a meal delivery service like freshly) and that helps add time to make it more possible.

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This is me—I can only guarantee a workout and a dog walk if I do it first thing in the morning before I start responding to emails around 8am.

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I work out in the morning most days. If I need extra sleep then I try to fit a quick workout in at lunch or during the dinner hour.

My priorities are: walk my dog, 7 hours of sleep, exercise. I try to make time for those 3 things every day even if it means sacrificing basically everything else. I meal prep on weekends and use a crockpot during the week. Of course there are days I can’t do those things but 80% of the time I can fit them in. Honestly the key is to be efficient at work instead of pissing away time on social media.

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The crock pot during the week has saved me.... Now, I also use the instant pot... There’s nothing better than having that dinner there when you get home. Major timesaver.

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If you are efficient and the work is there, 2000 hours isn’t that hard to meet doing something like an 8-6

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I had twins just before starting law school. Graduated, passed the bar and talked to several firms for potential employment. After those discussions I felt I was going to miss my kids grow up in order to make others rich while I busted my balls. Went solo and figured if I was busting balls it was for me and only me. Nearly 30 years in, kids college paid for and a nice retirement established I’d only say work for you, you’re the only thing that matters. The sacrifices you make are for you. I work out 3-5 times a week, I turn off my phone at the gym.
Quit being a slave to a firm.

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Love this. I have two kiddos as well. It is inspiring to see a post like this.

Working mom here. I wake up around 6:30 and begin wrangling a toddler that has recently learned to throw everything in the toilet while my husband works out in the morning. I get myself and the tiny human ready, and pray my hair looks halfway decent when I roll into the office at 8:30ish with my daily Starbucks. I preplan all of my meals so I can stay within my calorie limit (lots of rabbit food), and work at the office until 5:30 to 7ish. If I can make a spin class twice a week at 7pm, I literally run into the class fashionably late and toss on my shoes during the first song. Then home to cuddle my more manageable tiny human, a quick shower, and I’m in bed as early as possible. Most of my workouts are during the weekend when I can block out time before the little man wakes up. Unfortunately, it’s not a perfect system and I wish I could force myself to wake up early to work out during the week but I just can’t. My only advice is to try to find a schedule where you can prioritize your needs (until you have kids and then you can throw all that me time out the window) because living for work is incredibly draining and frustrating.

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Your toddler stays up after 7? Mine is VERY ready for bed by 6:30-7 so if I’m not home my then, I don’t see them :-/

So, one thing I’ve learned, is that partners and senior associates made it up the ladder because they are good attorneys and not because they are good managers. Sure there are some exceptions but law firms are different from businesses where managers are promoted because of their job skills + ability to train/manage their employees.

All that to say - raise your hand and ask for help if you’re feeling overworked. They don’t want good people to burn out. You’re not asking to get paid $$$$ to just work 8 hours a day but it’s not unrealistic to think you can squeeze in family/personal time for a ~2 hours each day.

Morning workouts are definitely easier. Also, people won’t miss you for 15 minutes at a time. If you’re WFH try taking 15 minutes 3x a day to do a mini workout.

likesmarthelpful

Im not big law but still cringe when I hear people say being a lawyer is not a “9-6” job. Um, it should be for the most part w room for emergencies, esp once you have kids. Not even sure how female attorneys manage more than 9-6 w little kids. I sure cant. So i’ll pass on the big law salary bc my ovaries are only good for so long.

likesmart

I’ve found in order to really count on being able to work out, I have to just do it in the morning. I don’t typically get emails before 9:30 and if I do I feel much better about ignoring them than I do about a later in the day email. I get a meal kit that has helped enormously with the eating healthy thing.

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Thank you so much!

We should all demand a 4 day work week!

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Honestly, if you’re like me, work to impress the hard hitters in your group the first 6-9 months. Then after they respect you, you can start to feel like you an make decisions that are better for your well-being because you have that “credit”, so to speak. Block out certain times on your calendar that make it look like you’re busy in a meeting- can be actual workout classes, just sleep-in time, walking around the block & doing your grocery shopping, etc. Schedule regular vacations- every 4 months; don’t sell yourself short. Bill your time with the knowledge that you spend time “thinking” about work when you’re not at your desk- obvi not in a fraudulent way but if you spend 15 times thinking about who to email to handle something, that’s billable time. Some firms give billable time for knowledge management work / drafting templates - max that out.

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How many days are these vacations every 4 months? Curious as an incoming associate.

When I’m not totally swamped, I bring my phone on a morning run and stay close to my place and run as much as I can before I start getting morning emails to maximize that morning time. I also recently got a Peloton so I fit in 20 min workouts here and there. WFH definitely helps since I don’t have to be in work clothes.

likesmart

I’ve done this for runs too. The bonus is when you PR your mile time because the partner calls and you need to get back to your laptop as soon as possible.

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7th year here. Best shape of my life. When I entered law school I asked a world class cycling buddy who is also a lawyer how he handled it all. "If it is important you'll make time for it."

He was right. My workouts are from 5-7am every day (long distance runner). Cool down. Shower. Awake and in the (home) office by 8. Work until 8. A few hours to make dinner and chill until bed at 10. Some days require a longer night of work. But every morning is 5. When I return to the office it will be about a 30 minute shift to account for commute. But same principle.

You'll figure out what works for you. It isnt easy, but you wouldn't be asking if you wanted easy.

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Love it. Thanks!!

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