From the voluminous literature on stress relieve (See my post of May 18, 2007 on in-house counsel stress and seven references cited.), here are some techniques that may help beleaguered in-house counsel.
1. Sort out those things that you can influence from those which you can’t control. For example, you can get the brief done in time, but you can’t control how the judge will rule.
2. Keep a list of tasks you need to do and set priorities on them (See my post of April 18, 2005 on the power of to-do lists.). Often stress is a reaction to feeling overwhelmed, and can be held at bay when you have a better sense of the overall picture. Follow the advice of Stephen Covey: Spend your energy on what’s important, not what’s urgent (See my post of April 8, 2005 on SMART goals.).
3. Try to match the effort you put into a project to its relative importance. Don’t overwork memos and emails; take your time on the important strategic decisions.
4. Where you can, delegate work. Delegation obviously takes work off your desk but also allows you to focus more effectively on what remains (See my post of Aug. 26, 2005 about measuring delegation to paralegals.).
5. Have a clear internal understanding, and with your clients, as to what is your role. If you are burdened with quasi-legal work for example, you can take steps to alleviate that (See my post of July 21, 2005 and my article on quasi-legal tasks that it cites.).
6. Take care of yourself, through adequate sleep, some exercise, and eating properly (See my post of Nov. 6, 2007 on energy.). Keep a balance in your life and respect your priorities (See my post of May 10, 2006 on Canadian data.). After all, it’s just a job.