Work/ life balance commitment and thoughts


I work in corporate america in NYC. I’m very early in my career, so resilience to keep going after many mistakes is key. I’m a tax attorney and currently work at job that does a lot of transactional work where a client may email us at 5:30 and we do an overhaul to respond to their queries by 10pm (that was tonight). I struggle with this scenario at least once a week, probably more:

I start the day hopeful that I can have a normal day and leave the office by 7 or 8. I usually arrive between 8:15-8:45, not many others do but I’m a morning person and that is when I feel like I can get a jump start. Then as the day progresses, I still feel good and “in control” and so I make plans with myself. I tell myself I’m going to get off at 7:30, I will make it home by 8:15 (minimum 45 minute commute, I work in Manhattan and live in Brooklyn), and then I can go to the gym and still have some time to myself before I go to bed around 10:30/11. And then, work slowly piles on, or I get some asks around 5 or 6 that side track me from completing what I wanted to get done that day, or I just get tossed some client emails that need to be addressed ASAP. As it hits 7:30… then 8… then 8:30, I become so angry and disappointed and sad. I’m not going to make it to the gym and it crushes me every time. Yet, I keep having the same hopes and the same utter disappointment that may bring on tears (as it did tonight, not for the first time). It seems so trivial yet it’s crushing and happens so frequently.

How do I manage my work expectations and the small promises I make myself through the day? I struggle to find what thought will provide me the feeling of peace in a work an environment that is very chaotic and makes keeping plans a challenge. Work culture is not great, and saying hey I want to go to the gym, I can finish things later tonight is challenging when getting home and working out is at least 2 hours of time, let along if I do anything else for myself.

Would really appreciate your thoughts!