Doctors Need the Balanced Approach

Knowing how to separate work and play is the key to personal and professional harmony. Sadly, it seems today’s doctors are sorely lacking in this vital quality.

“Next to love, balance is the most important thing.”

—John Wooden

I truly believe my father’s success as a physician was grounded in his ability to develop and maintain a balanced life and advocate for the same in all those he touched.

He found fulfillment in balancing work and play. Knowing how to separate the two was the key to his personal and professional harmony. Focus and relaxation were his anchors. Dad also encouraged his patients to live this way. “All things in moderation,” was his treatment tagline.

Sadly, it seems today’s doctors are sorely lacking in this vital quality. According to a new survey by Locumstory.com, “nearly two-thirds of physicians (65%) feel more overworked now compared to when they first started their careers and 64% say they have less free time than when their careers began. Overexertion is felt strongly across all practice types.”

“Due to the growing amount of paperwork, physicians are spending more time at work, but less time with patients,” the survey found. “In addition to working longer hours, physicians are also taking secondary jobs to supplement their incomes.”

All this lack of balance is casing doctors to contemplate the once unthinkable. “More than half of physicians (55%) indicate they had considered quitting or leaving the medical field in the past few years,” according to Locumstory.com. “Of those who have thought about quitting medicine, the majority indicated it was due to spending too much time entering EMR data (68%), being overworked (62%), and spending too much time on paperwork (59%). Looks like a real medical profession crisis.

I recently happened upon Zorka Hereford, the author of EssentialLifeSkills.net, who offered up 5 Tips For Living a Well Balanced Life: 1) Take care of and nurture yourself: You cannot accomplish anything if you're unhealthy. 2) Know what your priorities are: Not knowing what you want and trying to do everything at once can be a recipe for disaster. 3) Create an efficient mindset: Take time at the beginning of each week to assess what needs to be done. 4) Expect the unexpected: If you accept that anything can happen at any time, it's less likely it throw you off your stride when it does. 5) Maintain a positive mental attitude: Once you've done everything you can within your control, let your life unfold.

And for a better perspective on balance, here are some valuable quotes for doctors to consider:

“Technology is notorious for engrossing people so much that they don't always focus on balance and enjoy life at the same time.”

—Paul Allen

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”

—Albert Einstein

“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.”

—Thomas Merton Read

“Being successful means having a balance of success stories across the many areas of your life. You can't truly be considered successful in your business life if your home life is in shambles.”

—Zig Ziglar

“Overcome your barriers, intend the best, and be patient. You will enjoy more balance, more growth, more income, and more fun.”

—Jack Canfield

“The best and safest thing is to keep a balance in your life, acknowledge the great powers around us and in us. If you can do that, and live that way, you are really wise.”

—Euripides

“Confidence and doubt are at two ends of the scale, and you need both. They balance each other out.”

—Barbra Streisand

“There's no such thing as work-life balance. There are work-life choices, and you make them, and they have consequences.”

—Jack Welch

“To go beyond is as wrong as to fall short.”

—Confucius

“It is better to rise from life as from a banquet, neither thirsty nor drunken.”

—Aristotle

“Work, love and play are the great balance wheels of man's being.”

—Orison Swett Marden

“A well-developed sense of humor is the pole that adds balance to your steps as you walk the tightrope of life.”

—William Arthur Ward