Lawyers, physicians, and other professionals have many pertinent duties and responsibilities. They seek ways to serve their clients better. High quality service comes with quite a busy schedule.
NYC professionals work upwards of 70 hours per week and still have to find opportunities to spend quality time with family and friends.
With working long hours, being on call, keeping up with research initiatives and administrative tasks, as well as being mentally and physically stretched in high-pressure situations, is it really possible for doctors to have a healthy work-life balance?
What is work-life balance?
Work-life balance is a practice that encourages the pursuit of passions and time with loved ones outside of work. The idea is to promote a healthy separation from your work life and your home life, allowing you space to develop relationships and pursue the things important to you.
But as many researchers point out, work-life balance is more than attending your favorite yoga class before work, it encompasses other housekeeping items like cooking, cleaning, laundry, and paying bills, almost none of which are seen as unwinding tasks.
Work-life balance is a tricky thing to get right. In the three A’s of professional excellence, affable, able, and available, available always seems to be the most in demand. Modern professional service depends on always being availability and that demand can blur the lines between work life and personal life for many of us. It can be easy for that work to slowly creep into each facet of your life so that it becomes indistinguishable from who you are.
Our society is dominated by work. In fact, the United States is among the most overworked developed country in the nation, making a work-life balance for many seem like a happy ending in a fairy tale. But can we find a way to have some separation?
Even though it becomes increasingly tricky to unplug from work, especially with our omniscient technology, there are ways that you can create healthy boundaries between your work and your personal life.
Take Advantage of Your Opportunities
Attorneys and physicians consistently fall into one of the highest paying jobs in the U.S. This increase in cash flow allows you to have opportunities that other people might not.
We know that money can’t buy happiness, but according to many recent 2017 psychology reports spending money to free up your time will make you happier. The New York Times reported that people who spend money on tasks they do not enjoy, dry cleaning, for instance, frees up their time from doing laundry and instead allows them to engage in activities they do love.
Money may not be able to buy happiness but it can buy you time by delegating some tasks you may be able to find more time in your schedule than you initially thought in order to make it to your kid’s soccer game or finally attend your monthly book club (after reading the book of course).
This idea is meant to get you thinking about spending in an intentional way. It could be a trip upstate to enjoy nature or a Broadway show, but whatever it is make it something that you and your loved ones can bond over.
Intention is Everything
Work-life balance usually ends up lining up with your values and priorities. What are some of the things you value?
- Time with my wife and son
- Traveling to new places
- Exploring the city
- Increasing the revenues of my practice
Use your list of values to make a plan about how to incorporate those things into your work-life balance plan. You may not be able to have date night every week or extra time to travel each quarter, but if you don’t lose sight of your values and the things and people that are important to you, you will be able to make time to do the things you love.
Work-life balance isn’t something that just happens right away, and that balance does not have to be 50/50 either. It can and should be something you customize based on your personal needs and wellbeing.
Everyone needs time to pursue their dreams and time with loved ones. Everyone is busy, and we all know how busy a young professional’s life can be (I’m married to a physician!) But taking the time you need for yourself is something that you won’t regret.
That time will only help you grow as a person and continue to develop into the best you can be.