Schedule the Big Rocks
Six Tools for Work-life Balance
1. Schedule important things in your personal life: exercise, self-care, reading, family responsibilities, date night. Put these on your calendar, so they don’t have to be worked into your work schedule.
2. Learn the art of saying no.
a. The patient/practice doesn’t always come first. Learn to put yourself first and prioritize the activities that bring you joy and fulfillment.
b. Schedule your most important non-work priorities directly onto your calendar.
c. Never agree to any non-personal/non-family responsibilities until you first refer to your priority calendar. Politely decline any responsibilities that interfere with your scheduled personal priorities. “I would love to help, but I have an important pre-existing commitment.”
3. Leave work at work, so you can be home when you’re home. Abandon the “always on” philosophy and learn to use the “off” switch.
a. Use all your senses: incorporate movement, sound, smell, taste, and feeling.
b. Use a trigger to help jumpstart your transition to “home”.
c. Use mindfulness and intention.
4. Optimize days off
a. Delegate the punch list: outsource.
b. Plan ahead to keep your time off truly free and set the expectation at the office that time off is just that. Your coverage can handle the calls on your days off, just as you cover for them on their days off.
c. Use the time for meaningful activity that feeds your soul, instead of errands and sleep.
d. Cut the electronic tethers. Silence your phone and don’t check email.
5. Refine and start living your bucket list. Your list should be a source of inspiration, not regret.
a. Write it all down.
b. Authenticate and refine the list to keep only those items that are truly important to you.
c. Schedule something on the list and take concrete action to help it materialize.
6. Focus on nurturing your most important relationship, your relationship with your spouse or significant other.
a. Have a date night at least twice a month. Schedule the next one before the current date night starts. Take advantage of recurring activities that are mutually enjoyed, such as theater tickets, sporting events, dance lessons, etc.
b. Turn off your phone ringer.
c. Don’t discuss kids.
18 Tips for Work-life Balance
1. Cut out the tech.
2. Use vacation time wisely.
3. Carve out time to accomplish critical tasks.
4. Start each day off right.
5. Set aside time for breaks.
6. Know your limits.
7. Outsource jobs that don’t require your degree (unless they bring you joy).
8. Delegate work tasks.
9. Clean up your space.
10. Rely on your colleagues.
11. Make time for self-care outside of work.
12. Ask for input.
13. Accept the things you cannot change.
14. OK to do things simply for fun.
15. Let go of something before you take more on.
16. Engage in healthy activities.
17. Be present.
18. Cultivate a support system.
Flexible Work Arrangements
1. Part-time (fewer hours)
2. Job share to maintain coverage and continuity of care
3. Longer days, short workweek (extra hour Monday-Thursday, take Friday afternoon off)
4. Work from home (telemedicine)
Setting Healthy Boundaries
I Bounced Back From Burnout by Setting Boundaries, Priorities
Good Boundaries Free You
3 Steps to Saying NO with Grace and Power
Why Do Physicians Say Yes When They Should Say No?
Adapted from: https://www.physicianleaders.org/news/the-power-of-no-why-physician-leaders-should-set-boundaries-
1. Desire to feel needed
2. Fear that refusing responsibility will suggest incapability
3. Fear of losing job
Setting Boundaries to Keep Work at Work
Adapted from: https://hbr.org/2013/12/happy-workaholics-need-boundaries-not-balance
1. Temporal boundaries
a. Set aside specific times for non-work activities.
2. Physical boundaries
a. A physical separation from work and rest of life can help keep work from seeping into personal time.
b. This includes not only separation from the workplace, but also separation from the trappings of the workplace: phone, pager, laptop, EMR, paper charts.
3. Cognitive boundaries
a. Leave work behind mentally as well as physically.
b. Be present and work on not allowing yourself to become distracted.