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Recovering work/life balance

Specer_2        While on a cruise, Miami attorney Spencer Aronfeld looked around at some of his older fellow passengers and had a revelation. “I started to wonder how I ever am going to retire.”

   Aronfeld, a personal injury lawyer has been a solo practioner for 17 years, filing every motion, answering every phone call and arguing every case himself. “When I was not there, my business shut down,” he said.

        But more than that, Aronfeld, 43, realized that mid-career he had a successful law practice but no work/life balance. “I was killing myself, working 12-14 hours a day and it was never enough. I had a wife and two kids that I never saw. It was a miserable existence.”

      So, Aronfeld decided to make BIG changes. He brought in an advisor to help. First, the advisor coached Aronfeld to hire two lawyers to pitch in with cases. Next, he encouraged Aronfeld to scrutinize new cases more carefully, looking for quality rather than quantity. He also helped Aronfeld put in systems to run his practice in a more organized way and avoid constant interruptions. Staff gets in earlier and knows how to open and close the office. It’s paid off.


    “Now I’m not working on weekends and I’m planning my day so that I know at certain times I'm returning phone calls.” Aronfeld says.  In addition to spending more time with his daughter and son, 9 and 6, he says his business is running more smoothely. Another bonus: “I’m not so exhausted all the time.” Aronfeld says he actually can see retirement in his future. "I'm trying to plan at 43 so I can get there at 63."

     I admire the way Aronfeld has reclaimed his work/life balance. What have you done (or not done) to improve the quality of your life at work and home?