The medical field is one in which chaos is not only accepted, it’s embraced as part of everyday life. Unfortunately, having to work crazy hours, manage multiple shifts and being pulled in a dozen different directions at once can also wreak havoc on one’s personal life. The key is to make a conscious effort to strike a healthy balance between professional duties and personal obligations. Thankfully, with the right approach, this is entirely doable. That said, here are a few tips for achieving a better work/life balance.
Determine what your needs and desires are.
How much money do you truly need to live a comfortable life? Perhaps there are ways you can cut back, whether it’s in the number of hours or shifts you work, that will make things leaner financially, but better in terms of the quality of time you get to spend with your family or pursuing the personal hobbies that fulfill you. Be honest with yourself about what you absolutely need and what you truly want, and then work from there.
Understand your motivators.
Why did you decide to enter the medical field? Was it because you wanted a steady, well-paying career or because you really wanted to help others? Perhaps it was a little of both. Uncovering the motivators behind why you strive to do well at work – whether professional prestige or personal satisfaction – can help you determine what type of schedule you’re comfortable working and prevent burnout. If you’re going for that big promotion, by all means – put in those extra hours. If not, making some adjustments may be perfectly acceptable.
Assess the needs of your personal connections.
The needs of young children are much greater than those of college-aged kids, which means if you’ve got little ones, you’ll probably want to spend more time at home now, with the plan of increasing your workload over time. Figure out what your family obligations are and what your personal connections need from you before taking on too much at work. Remember – work/life balance isn’t just about your own mental wellbeing. There are often several others who are impacted by the decisions we make. Don’t forget to take these factors into account.
Seek guidance from your colleagues, managers and mentors.
Evaluate those with whom you work to figure out which individuals seem to have found the right balance in their own lives, and then ask them to share their wisdom. Seeking advice and guidance from those who are older and who have likely already been in your shoes can help you avoid making certain mistakes in your own career and/or personal life.
Hone your negotiating skills.
If you do determine that cutting back some of your hours or changing shifts is something you need to do in order to attain a better balance between your personal and professional life, be aware that you may have to negotiate a bit to get what you want. In some instances, making a change simply won’t be possible. Be honest about how important finding balance truly is and whether or not you’d be willing to walk away if your needs aren’t being met. It may be scary at first, but in the long run it will pay off.
Working in the medical field can be incredibly rewarding. It can also be terribly stressful. Making an effort to strike the right balance between your work life and the time you spend with family is the key to achieving both a long, fulfilling career as well as a happy life.
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