Take 5 minutes: Tip the scales of work-life balance in your favor

When you feel yourself sinking deeper into a bad case of physician burnout, finding a way out can feel daunting, if not impossible.

But it doesn’t have to.

I believe recovering from burnout begins when you start taking small, purposeful steps in a new direction. I recommend you start by getting a handle on your work-life balance.

Do you balance the time and energy you spend at work with the time and energy you spend living the rest of your life? Or are the scales tipped unevenly?

All of us are strapped for time. It’s a condition of modern life. And we are all guilty of using our lack of time as an excuse for so many things.

How many times have you uttered these worn out phrases?

I don’t have time for :

  • exercise
  • cooking
  • playing with my children
  • vacuuming
  • meditating
  • balancing the checkbook
  • a date with my honey
  • talking to my boss
  • taking vacations
  • flossing

This list could go on forever.

But, guess what? We all make time for what matters most in our lives.

And here’s a number that just might change your mind about time: Did you know that two hours a week equals 100 hours a year?

Yikes!

Think of how many two-hour batches of time we waste every day, let alone every week.

In 100 hours during the past year, you could have:

  • planned and enjoyed a fantastic four-day vacation
  • cleaned out the garage, the attic, and the basement
  • lost 10 pounds from exercising two hours a week, every week
  • outlined and perhaps written that book you keep talking about
  • volunteered at the shelter twice a month for a year
  • enjoyed a two-hour date night every week

So, be honest. What’s stopping you?

In a word, Intention.

Or rather, a failure to set an intention around living a balanced life.

If you’re one of those busy doctors who doesn’t even take time for lunch, then it’s high time for you to mend your ways.

Try this small shift in behavior, and watch the ripple it makes in your life. Take five minutes out of your day — you know now that you have it — and write down just one thing you can do this week that will equalize the scales of your work-life balance.

The first step is recognizing the change you can make; the next step is setting an intention and incorporating the change into your life.

Accountability combined with intention works wonders. So, please share below what you are going to do for balance this week.

Supporting each other to promote work-life balance is a good thing.

Starla Fitch is an ophthalmologist, speaker and personal coach.  She blogs at Love Medicine Again and is the author of Remedy for Burnout: 7 Prescriptions Doctors Use to Find Meaning in Medicine. She can also be reached on Twitter @StarlaFitchMD

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