One of the most common challenges that doctors face is managing their time effectively. When you aren’t time-aware the work seems to be endless and takes priority over the rest of your life.
This means that your work-life balance suffers. The less you manage your time the more the problem grows. This has an impact on your life in and out of work too. Not only does it affect your friends and family but also your relationship with your partner.
Most crucial of all is on your own health and well-being. Because when you fail to manage your time effectively your personal physical and emotional health will be affected too.
Is it an inevitable part of a doctor’s lifestyle?
Not necessarily, although many doctors say they are overworked and don’t have enough time, to do things they used to enjoy away from work. It seems as though this feeling of being overworked becomes part of the medical culture, as if it was necessary to ‘forget the rest of your life’ from the day you start your house jobs, when you started to work as a doctor.
Some doctors work and do nothing else to the detriment of their health and well-being and the relationships with those close to them. They forget how important self-care is to being a ‘whole person.’
Some can only cope with the stress and overwork by drinking or eating too much. Some decide to pack it all in and leave the profession.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. What I want is for you to have a more balanced life – to be able to work well and efficiently as a doctor and also enjoy your life after work too.
If you leave work late each day and also take work home with you every evening or weekend, remind yourself that you are not super human and are just like every other human being. It’s OK to leave some things to do tomorrow and have some time for rest and relaxation too.
You need some time away from work and time to enjoy sport and hobbies and being with your partner, friends and family and also time for yourself and your own self-care. If you neglect any or all of these your health, both physical and emotional will suffer and have an impact on the way you care for your patients.
If you go into your Hospital or Practice to catch up at the weekend, even when you aren’t on call, then you need to take some action sooner rather than later to stop this way of life.