You probably got into the healthcare field because you like to help people.
It’s a field which tends to draw in those who want to do better for others, sometimes at the expense of their own self care.
This is especially true throughout these past two years, living through a global pandemic as healthcare workers are facing added stress and higher rates of burnout as the situation constantly changes and new variants of the virus emerge.
We’re Symbiosis, a medical coworking space in Washington DC, and we want to help you learn how to manage work and life, so you don’t end up burning out in running a medical practice, and can keep doing the things you love – both on, and off, the clock.
What Is Work Life Balance?
We hear about “work life balance” all the time – but what is it exactly?
Work life balance will look different for everyone, but generally, it means maintaining a balance between professional and personal goals and responsibilities.
It’s important to understand that maintaining work life balance is an ongoing process – not something you can achieve once and then say, “okay I’m done”.
Maintaining work life balance requires continuous evaluation of your priorities and how you spend your time and recognizing this can be difficult when things get stressful.
How To Find Work Life Balance In Your Healthcare Career
As a healthcare provider, it can often be difficult to maintain a healthy work life balance, however it’s incredibly important.
If a patient came to you, with an issue such as not getting enough sleep due to increased stress, you would likely tell them to find ways to manage their stress, because we all know sleep is important.
Or, when someone is at risk of developing diabetes due to poor eating and exercise habits, you would help them to develop healthier habits.
However, it can be difficult to follow your own advice at times.
Like the old adage goes, doctors make the worst patients.
This is because it’s hard to give somebody advice in a field where they feel like they’re already an expert.
But all healthcare providers know that some of the most frustrating patients are the ones that don’t follow protocol.
Not only do their health concerns never really get better, it’s hard to improve patient retention in your practice since they aren’t seeing results.
So try to model what your own ideal patient might look like, and follow your own advice.
Let’s have a look at some ways to do this.
1. Take Care Of Your Own Health
As a healthcare professional, this should be obvious – it’s your field of expertise after all.
However, when things get hectic, it’s easy to ignore the things we know we “should” be doing.
Skipping your workout because you were needed at work for an extra hour.
Stopping for fast food to save time instead of taking the time to cook a healthy meal.
Doomscrolling on your phone at night instead of going to bed at a reasonable hour.
Learning to recognize when you are doing these things, and putting importance back on some of the basics of health – sleep, exercise, and good nutrition are super important.
These are all probably things you would tell a client to do – so learn to follow your own advice.
2. Let Go Of Your Need To Control And Be Perfect
“Perfect is the enemy of good” –Voltaire
If you’re a perfectionist, then you know it can be difficult to give up the tendency to keep working on something until you feel it’s “just so”, or let others see something which you feel is “less than” perfect.
The more responsibilities you have on your plate, the more perfectionism will hinder your ability to get things done, because you won’t feel anything is ever good enough.
This can lead to higher levels of stress and burnout.
After all, whether you’re a solo provider or you run multiple healthcare practices, you can’t possibly do everything.
Learning to recognize what “good enough” looks like for the vast majority of things you do can help you to maintain work life balance, and save the perfectionism for when it really matters – in treating your patients.
3. Identify Your Biggest Time Wastes
We all have them.
Things we do, which we know aren’t important, but they take up our time and distract us from our true priorities.
You’re already pressed for time in your practice, being pulled in a dozen different directions.
Your patients need your attention, you’ve got referrals to follow up with, pre appointment notes to review, post appointment notes to write, running tests, interpreting tests, writing prescriptions, taking CEUs, reading medical journals, the list goes on.
What are you doing in the day that you don’t need to do?
Similar to point #2 above, what can you delegate to other people?
And, for the things you have to do yourself, how can you systemize your practice to make these tasks easier?
4. Make Time To Unplug
There are countless apps and programs designed to help us communicate better and promote “better workflow” and “collaboration”.
However the advent of work cell phones has led to many of us being constantly on call, and for our work life to spill into our personal lives.
Although there may be times when your job requires you to be on call, or ready to respond at a moment’s notice, you need to find the time to unplug as well.
However, it’s important to recognize not everything is an emergency – and treating everything like am emergency can make it hard to recognize when there is an actual emergency.
Responding to messages from work when you’re supposed to be taking time out with friends and family shows them, they aren’t your priority in the moment.
Unplugging from work can help you take back control of your personal time, and help you build resilience.
5. Change How You’ve Built Your Life
Are you trying to “do it all”?
You work all day, and then need to come home, prepare dinner, help the kids with their homework, and keep the house clean.
It can be exhausting, trying to stay on top of everything.
Looking for ways to help manage or outsource those tasks can go a long way to help with work life balance.
Maybe you value the time spent each evening helping your kids with their homework, so you ask your partner to help prepare meals a few nights a week.
Or perhaps hiring a housekeeper to come every other week to keep on top of those dust bunnies which seem to multiply out of nowhere will allow you the time to relax you so deserve.
Take a look at the things you do every day, every week, every month and ask “do I need to do this?” or “is there a way to make this easier on myself?”
How Can Symbiosis Help?
So you know you need to make some changes to help maintain a better work life balance.
Something else you can do, which can help with this is to consider joining a medical coworking space, such as Symbiosis.
There are many benefits of starting your private practice in a medical coworking space, or even moving your already established one.
For one, starting your own clinic with Symbiosis means you are the boss – you maintain control over who you work with, and what hours you choose to work.
No more after hours calls, or getting called in on the weekend because someone else couldn’t make it.
In addition, working in a medical coworking space means you’ll get a chance to network with complementary healthcare providers.
And many of the hidden costs of building your own private healthcare practice – hiring and retaining staff, choosing a clinic location and paying exorbitant rents, auditing to figure out why your practice is losing money, and more – we take care of all of it for you.
Regardless of what type of practice you run, if it has to do with healthcare, we can help.
Questions? Ask Symbiosis
Are you ready for a different way of working?
Want to be your own boss, and take control of your schedule?
We’re Symbiosis, a medical coworking space in Washington, DC, and we’d love to welcome you to our family.
Contact us today for more information.