Tag Archives: work-life balance

How working with a coach enables you to have a life and find your perfect balance between medicine and life

Perfect Work Life Balance

How working with a coach enables you to have a life and find your perfect balance between medicine and life

A coach:-

  • Pushes your buttons – so you think about whether you could make changes
  • Encourages you to do things you hadn’t considered before- so by doing something different other things in your life change too
  • Reminds you to keep on track with  your projects- so you achieve what you want
  • Follows up your promises of taking action – so you move forward step by step
  • Energises you to get started- by believing in your ability to succeed
  • Coaches you to find the solutions right for you- so you are empowered
  • Talks about the pros and cons of what you might do- so you move forward with conviction

 

  • Believes in you and your capabilities, so your self-esteem improves
  • Answers your questions, so you understand more about the process
  • Listens to you fully –so you feel  respected
  • Alerts you to possible challenges –so you are prepared for them
  • Never criticises your ideas, so you feel valued
  • Communicates with you appropriately –so you feel listened to
  • Encourages you at every step, so you keep going until you achieve what you want

Look here for some recent feedback from doctors about how they experienced  Coaching from me. 

Doctors and holidays another article.

I wrote previously about doctors and holidays and have just read an article from Software Advice about the same subject you might find interesting. I wonder whether you think the same rules apply to those of you who have their medical practice in the UK?

What struck me is the stories of so many doctors who never take holidays at all.  This can only lead to increased stress and an effect on general health and well-being.

Time for a holiday?

Here is the article: (Click the heading to read the whole article )

5 Rules for Taking a Vacation as a Solo-Practice Doctor – Software

medzip911.com11/13/12

5 Rules for Taking a Vacation as a Solo-Practice Doctor Software Advice (blog) It’s hard enough for any of us to consider taking a vacation in the current economic climate, let alone those of us responsible for the health of

 

 

Doctors and Holidays?

Holidays are supposed to be a relaxing and enjoyable time, even if you are a doctor. It should be a time  to let go of the overwhelm of your medical practice and reconnect not only with family and friends but also with yourself.

But your experience may not be the idyllic time of fun and relaxation portrayed in the travel brochures. Your holiday  may equal your expectation of  what ought to happen when you take time away from work.
Instead of feeling refreshed and relaxed you come back to your patients feeling worse than they look,  exhausted, frustrated  and wondering what happened to your dreams of rest and relaxation.

While away you found it was almost impossible to forget about work- related worries and however much you tried to leave technology at home you found yourself checking and answering emails and discussing work issues with colleagues via email or Skype in spite of the irritation and annoyance of your family or friends.

You’ve been left wondering if it always has to be like that: whether as a doctor you can ever ‘get away from it all’, and enjoy a holiday.
But it doesn’t have to be like this! There is an alternative if you can do just three simple things:

  1. set boundaries
  2. look after yourself
  3. relax

Setting  boundaries: decide before you go away what you will accept  in relation to emails, telephone calls and dealing with emergencies: by making sure you have arranged adequate cover for your routine work, told those who need to be told what you do not want to be contacted about and who will deal with any urgent problems.

Looking after yourself: remember to address your needs in relation to:  body, mind and spirit so exercise regularly, by walking swimming or whatever opportunities your holiday destination offers, eat and drink well but not excessively; and enjoy the moment whether it’s a wonderful sunset a magnificent view from the top of a mountain or across the sea or whatever inspires you in your holiday environment.

Relax: Be aware of areas of tension in your body then consciously take a deep slow breathe in and as you breathe out let go of that tension. Repeat this exercise during the day whenever you think about work or things you have to do when you return.

There are of course many other things you could do when on holiday to let go of the work stress and return refreshed and face the challenges again.

However if you make a start with these three and please put a comment below this post with your thoughts about more  ways which help doctors enjoy their holidays more and leave work stress behind them for a while so that they, and you, can  come back to work refreshed and ready to tackle problems.

 

What makes a doctor stressed and what can they do about it?

Doctor, you may feel stressed because of what you perceive as an  excessive workload, so you work very long hours.

You’ve noticed how this pattern affects your  home life, especially your relationships with your family and friends.

You’ve experienced the stress of keeping to government targets, especially when this means you have to persuade patients  of the importance of  having screening tests or examinations.  Although this could result in discovering pathology it also means an increase in time  spent with each patient, investigations and subsequent treatment.

Unrealistic demands from patients raise your level of stress too. These means time taken to explain why what the patient is requesting is not indicated. Sometimes you may give in and then feel the stress of doing something which may not be in the patient’s best interests.

There is, too, the ‘gremlin’ sitting on your shoulder, nudging you about possible  litigation and asking you whether you’ve done the right thing, in case  the patient decides to sue you.

When you feel well and unstressed  you can deal with all of these things in a relaxed and professional way, but what can you do to move from stress to confidence and calmness?

Ways to reduce your stress levels are simple. The strategies listed below may
seem like common sense and some of them are just that. They are probably things you know already and may even be advising your stressed patients to do these already.

  • Stop caffeine: this has a huge effect on stress levels. Limit caffeine to one cup or less a day and notice how your  stress decreases.
  • Learn to relax. Do this at least once a day. Arrange to have a gap, a 5- 10 minutes each day, when you can sit quietly. This could be when you take a break in the middle of the day, or  in your office between patients.  It’s fine to do this sitting in a comfortable chair.  Close your eyes and start with your feet, think about each area of your body, and  consciously tense the muscles and then relax them.Take relaxing breaths whenever you feel the stress rising. Take a slow breath in, to a count of five,  as you think about breathing in relaxation, then a slow breath out as you think about breathing out any tension in your body.
  • Do some regular exercise: walking for 20-30 minutes each day either from your car, bus or train, to your place of work, or by going outside  in your lunch hour  not only to have something to eat away from your desk and patients but also to have a walk. 
  • Eat more healthy foods, which means eating more complex carbohydrates and cutting down on sugar and other simple carbohydrates. Eat a Mediterranean type diet, with more fish and less saturated fats

However simple as they seem to be, they work. So take yourself in hand and resolve to try the  five strategies until they become new automatic habits for you. To become automatic you may have to repeat something new for 21 days. So make a chart with these five habits listed and tick them each day  you succeed in doing them.. You could also log your level of stress each day on a scale of 1 to 10 and notice the improvement.

Want some support while you change?  Find out about coaching.

 

Making changes: you have to take action and stop procrastinating!

So many doctors would like to have a different sort of life. Do you sometimes dream of a life, yes, as a doctor, but with the time to do the sort of work that inspires you and has a huge benefit for your patients? Yet instead you have to deal with the reality of busy clinics, demanding patients with not much wrong with them while others who you would dearly love to have the time and energy to treat and give the benefit of your expertise to, are side-tracked because you have to keep going to get the work done each day.

Take your first step!

Perhaps at first you were so thrilled to have qualified after all those long years of study as a medical student, that you were even glad to suffer the lack of sleep and heavy work load of the time you spent as a junior doctor, yet always dreaming of when you would become a consultant and then at least you would have the life you dreamed of.

Yet perhaps it hasn’t quite worked out the way you hoped. You are the victim of your own success. Even though you are highly intelligent you just don’t seem to be able to make the changes you know you want to make. You succumb to the ‘emotional blackmail’ of colleagues asking you to do extra work, or the opportunity to do extra private work, because you know you can genuinely help people with your expertise and you hate the idea of letting people down by saying ‘no’.

You are juggling too many plates in the air and are becoming more and more stressed as a result.

There is an alternative: you could:

  • discover how to free up more time
  • start to put yourself first for a change
  • do the work you love, yet on your terms
  • change something in yourself
  • actually take the actions you know you have to take
  • stop procrastinating
  • become highly motivated

How can you achieve all of these?
Be highly self-motivated, make your plans and take action. You already know what you want to do so ‘just do it.’ But you’ve been like that for years so what would give you that push you need to actually make that difference and initiate the changes you want?

Find someone who is ‘on your side’, supporting your ideas, motivating you to take action, acting as a sounding board, challenging you to think through what you plan so you so you develop the strategy best for you.

Find out more about COACHING

Time, Doctors and Work-Life Balance

How will you get your time management sorted?

Doctors contact me saying that one of their aims is to improve their work -life balance. They know what happens when this is too heavily weighted to their work activities, seeing patients, or doing the admin tasks of a busy medical practice and too little towards the rest of life, but feel they are unable to change anything.

This article  has 17 useful tips: http://www.aafp.org/fpm/2001/0600/p60.html

I’ve written a couple of Kindle books (Critical Time management mistakes and More than 80 ways)  on the subject too.

Also there’s the article I wrote which  recently published in the Independent Practitioner: CLICK HERE

If you want to have a quick chat call me here,

or find out about personal coaching here.

Time management: is it something you struggle with?

Attention doctors, physicians, registrars, junior doctors, private medical practitioners:

Time Management mistakes nearly every doctor makes.

Do you struggle to get things done through the day? Do you wonder what’s happened to the time and feel upset at how little you get done?

Do you notice that some of your colleagues seem to cope much better than you do with the amount of work there is to do each day?

What might happen if you carry on like this?

  • You are less and less efficient in relation to your medical work.
  • You forget about the life you had before you worked as a doctor.
  • Your friends and family complain that they never see you.
  • You take most of your holiday to unwind.
  • You regret becoming a doctor….

BUY NOW

But it doesn’t have to be like that. There are simple strategies you can adopt to take you to a place when you can:

  • leave work at a reasonable time
  • be able to relax and enjoy life away from work more
  • feel happier at work and get things done more efficiently and effectively
  • learn simple ways to make a difference in your life.

Here are the strategies you’ve been waiting for :

    • 3 reasons why doctors struggle with time management
    • 7 mistakes doctors make in relation to time
    • Simple ways to ways to overcome these
    • Benefits of managing your time more effectively

 

Time Management Mistakes nearly every doctor makes

Get it now for less than the price of a cup of coffee!!

 BUY NOW

What is your way to leave work behind you when you go home?

One of the challenges of being a doctor is worrying so much about what’s happened during the day that you may find it very difficult to ‘let go’ when you go home.

Do you worry about whether you’ve made the correct diagnosis, arranged the appropriate investigations and explained the procedures in a clear and unambiguous way to your patient?

Is there a little ‘gremlin sitting on your shoulder nagging you about whether you’ve been a proficient  doctor and done everything you have to do for that patient?

Don’t worry you are not alone! There are hundreds of other doctors who experience a similar sense of anxiety when they leave work and start to go over in their minds what happened during the day. And it’s not only worrying about one patient: those feelings you may have of not doing as much as you could do may be multiplied many times.

As a result you may begin to feel overwhelmed and exhausted. So what could you do?

You could develop a simple ritual to do before you go home so that you tell yourself that you are washing all that ‘stuff’ away.

You can do this simply by washing your hands and telling yourself that all your worries and anxieties are going down the drain with the dirty water. I used to do this and found it very effective.

When you do this or something which is relevant to you, then you will be better able to relax and enjoy your hours away from the patients and return next day feeling fully refreshed and ready to face up to the new challenges the new day will bring you.

Work Life Balance

I have referred to Medicine being like a monster that eats into your life and the following blog post compares working as a physician as being like having a gorilla in your life! The advice this author gives is congruent with what I’ve written about making your out of work committments as important as those at work: saying no more often to extra work and yes more to things you do which nurture your own health and well-being. Click the link below to read the article.

Work Life Balance for Doctors means saying No with power and grace

www.thehappymd.com3/20/12

Work life balance for doctors means being able to say no to defend your larger life from the 800 pound gorilla that is your career.

Life for doctors – don’t neglect the rest…

If you’ve been through years of medical training, passed your exams and become a doctor, ask yourself whether you are a doctor for life and discover for yourself how much of you is now wrapped up in your identity as a doctor?
It’s important to remember that you are more than your profession, that you are more than your training and you deserve to have a life both in and out of Medicine.

Yet so many doctors forget this and as a result they neglect the important parts of themselves that existed before they became doctors and will be there when they have retired from Medicine.

If this applies to you too then consider this: your life as a doctor is more than your medical practice. You are allowed to have other interests apart from medicine and to have the time to spend with friends, family and community too.

What’s stopping you having your life as a doctor combined with a life away from that identity?
Perhaps there are overwhelming pressures on you to pass examinations, to do more research and to fulfill the expectations of your seniors. Maybe you put so much pressure onto your juniors in their pursuit of medical excellence and success that they daren’t question you nor realise that a doctor needs balance in his or her life.

Yet when you do create space for something away from your medical work you will find that you become more able to deal with the stresses of your day to day working life as a doctor.

Remind yourself that you became a doctor to diagnose and treat sick people, but you didn’t necessarily agree to give up every other aspect of your life. Recall what used to make your heart sing before you became overwhelmed with the doctor’s life. You may find that just remembering what it was that gave you an internal buzz that you realise you would love to re-visit that hobby or activity once more.

Don’t only think it, make the decision now, today, that something has to change and do one thing differently that will be the first step to changing your life to include things away from Medicine for a regular time set side each week just for you. The step you take could be simple and might be for example to book a ticket to go to a concert, see a film, join a class, bang a drum or go for a walk in the park.

Coaching helps. More information HERE too.