We all want work/life balance, but it is not always the easiest thing to achieve. Focusing more on your career in order to meet personal, professional or financial goals can often come at the cost of sacrificing other priorities, such as family and other interests. It can be difficult to balance satisfaction on both sides.
This can be especially true for doctors and medical professionals. As you know, a doctor’s schedule can be quite overwhelming at times. With patients’ health at stake, it’s understandable that doctors want to help as many people as possible and in doing so, take on too much. And that’s just the patient side of practicing. If you’re a practice owner, you’re also responsible for all the business responsibilities of the office – managing your team, marketing, payroll and so on. Being a doctor and business leader can be a work/life balance killer for many dermatologists.
Balance can be achieved – you can find fulfillment both in and outside of the practice. But it does take continual effort, planning, time management and self-reflection. Here are a few ways you can create more work/life balance in your dermatology career.
Take Time Off
It’s easy to work through lunch or stay an extra few hours after closing to catch up. For practice owners specifically, this can be routine. But it’s a slippery slope to burnout and unhappiness. Having time away from the practice to decompress, relax and focus on other personal priorities is important and shouldn’t be neglected. Force yourself you make time in your schedule. This can even be small little breaks like going for a walk over lunch or getting a nap in. Or this can mean larger changes like not checking work while at home or completely unplugging while on vacation. This will help you avoid missing important family time, avoid burnout and even improve your productivity and focus.
Create Customized Operations for Balance
The specialty of dermatology can create opportunities to build a schedule and business model to your liking. Not taking control of your operations and taking on too much can lead to burnout and stress. That doesn’t mean you have to drastically cut your patient time though. This is where time management and planning come in. By scheduling certain times off each week and devoting a little more time to patient care on set days, you can still keep a gratifying number of clinical hours while having that time away from the practice. Focusing on certain services can also help you customize your operations. You can increase cosmetic services along with your medical care to boost revenue and free up some time.
Plan for the Future
If you’re just entering the field or even if you’re a veteran dermatologist, setting goals for where you want to be in the future (and how you will get there) will help you realize the work/life balance you want. These can be professional goals – perhaps you want to learn new skills to offer new services or build your practice up enough to bring on associates or other providers. Both can create more balance. If you’re offering more services, you can increase your revenue and free up more of your time, as mentioned. Bringing in other doctors or providers can help you shift patient and business responsibilities to also free up more of your time. You can also set financial goals and action items. If you’re in financial debt or have an abundance of student loans, you may feel less in control and be pressured to work more to dig yourself out. It doesn’t have to be that way though. Creating a realistic, actionable and balanced plan can help relieve that stress, eliminate debt and grow your finances.
If you’re working toward your ideal work/life balance but are still struggling, you’re not alone. But we’re here to help. We have the business support to assist with administrative tasks and expertise to help you reach your goals while enjoying life outside the practice.
If you’d like to learn more, schedule a consultation with one of our practice management experts today.