How Do Some Doctors Achieve Work-Life Balance?
It is possible to achieve work-life balance as a physician. You can enjoy your personal life and have an exemplary, successful career. However, unlike previous generations, today’s work and personal life tend to intertwine significantly.
This should not be seen as a negative, as effective time management strategies can help you get time for yourself.
Today, the concept of work-life balance is drastically different. Earlier, physicians could switch between multiple roles, while today’s physicians have to manage other parts simultaneously.
Earlier, it was easier for physicians to control the amount of work they did. It was easier to shift between work and family. This way, you could enjoy your personal life with friends and family without worrying about your work, and vice versa.
However, today’s scenario is drastically different, as it is nearly impossible to distinguish your personal and professional life as a physician.
As healthcare providers become more accessible, thanks to advances in technology and telemedicine, they spend a disproportionate amount of time working.
Consequently, an ‘integrated lifestyle’ seems more feasible than separating personal and professional life. Today, the aim is not to achieve a work-life balance but to better blend the two.
Making Time for Yourself
Physicians usually work 100-hour weeks, including a few nights a week at the practice or the hospital. According to time management experts, maintaining a work-life balance does not necessarily mean spending equal time on both.
Often, professionals who work long hours cannot spend quality time with their kids and spouses, citing fatigue and stress. However, this should not be an excuse; instead, there is a need to push for quality time, regardless of the situation.
It could be challenging for the physician and their families, but a physician’s moral responsibility lies with the patients who need their help.
Studies show physicians find it easier to spend maximum hours at the hospital or clinic if they are passionate about helping others.
However, the stress of working long hours at a stretch tends to show its effects sooner or later. Many physicians and healthcare workers who work long hours end up developing ulcers.
You can maintain a good work-life balance by limiting the number of hours in a week you are ready to dedicate to your profession. The remaining time should be solely spent with loved ones.
Setting boundaries, such as working five days a week and taking appropriate breaks during your shift, are the stepping stones to achieving an ideal work-life balance. Achieving work-life balance today means being a good physician and having enough time to spend with your family.
A perfect work-life balance is subjective and means something different to each individual. Most physicians state that work-life balance is about the flexibility to enjoy life outside your chosen field.
Prioritizing your work during the earlier part of your career as a physician is expected. The focus is usually on making a solid foundation for a career in medicine initially.
However, when you have a family, you must slowly shift your priority and divide it equally between your professional and personal life.
You must be creative with scheduling to make more time for yourself. This will also maximize the time you have to spend with your family.
Finding the Right Fit
Ask yourself, what does work-life balance look like for me? What do you want your schedule to look like? What do you want time for? Once you are clear about these things, creating a stable balance between your professional and personal life becomes more accessible.
The best way to do this is by being clear about your motivations, emphasizing work-life balance and setting practical and honest expectations.
Although not every position can be formed to fit a physician’s requirement regarding work-life balance, many can be.
With the significant shortage of physicians in the country, many organizations are in a position to meet specific schedule requests. The severity of the needs and individual demands being made determine this aspect.