Prioritizing A Healthy Work-Life Balance

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Whether you are a grad student trying to work your way through med school, or a professional clinician running your own firm, there are boundaries that need to be set in order to find a peaceful balance between work and play.  

Some people are hell bent on making as much money as they can by working every hour of the day, others choose to spend the as much time as they can outside the boundaries of an office. While both of these lifestyles have proven to generate success in their own ways, the majority of working professionals, especially those in the medical field, are concerned with the perfect work-life balance.

Jim Bird of WorkLife says that the work-life balance is accomplished when an individual can find meaningful daily achievement and enjoyment in the four life quadrants: work, family, friends and self.  In response to the question, “What is your purpose in life?” Bird said:

“I just want to achieve something today and I want to enjoy something today. And if I do both of those things today, I’m going to have a pretty good day. And if I do both of those things every day, for the rest of my life… I’m going to have a pretty good life.”

Finding achievement and enjoyment throughout a given day may not be the easiest thing in the world, but here are 12 tips that many help:

1: Define your priorities and be organized.  Create categories when things come up in your life:

  • Urgent and important
  • Important, but not urgent
  • Urgent, but not important
  • Neither urgent nor important

2: Know your daily habits and schedule things accordingly

Are you a:

  • morning person
  • midday
  • night owl

3: Manage your time and develop a routine.

Have set work hours and stick to them.

  • Create yearly goals
  • Create monthly goals
  • Develop week to week tasks
  • Set day to day tasks
  • Execute

4: Exercise!

A healthy body will create a fresh mind.

Find your thing: yoga, running on the beach, weightlifting, MMA classes, rock-climbing. Push yourself beyond your boundaries and figure out what you’re physically capable of.

5: Outsource.

Play to your strengths and let others handle things you are not as passionate about. Finding ways to delegate is a skill that you may or may not be good at, but it is one that helps create a successful work-life balance.

6: If it has a power button, use it every once in awhile.  

Distance yourself from always being virtually locked in and find ways to get connected to what really matters like:

  • family dinners
  • kids soccer game
  • your spouse’s birthday
  • vacation (it’s OK to bring your work, but don’t bring it to the beach)

7: Take self-analysis.

Don’t just keep going without stopping to record every now and then. Take a break and  realize what has happened in your life. Get know yourself and be cognitive of your ups and downs. Tips: Maybe write down some patterns or observations, interests, dislikes and learn from your lists as they grow over time.

8: Support breaks.

Plan short coffee meetings with like-minded individuals. Talk, vent or plan to take over the world. Meeting with people who understand things the way you do is a powerful tool. If you know more than one of these people create a support list. The meetings don’t have to be long (15 – 30 min).

9: Grow and nurture your networks.

Know the people you want involved in your life and the people you don’t. The people who are most involved in your life, both professionally and personally, will have the greatest impact on you, so make sure they have their priorities in order.

10: Have “me” time.

Make time to sleep, think, pray, re-vitalize and/ or meditate.

There are many lists out there that are similar to this. If you did not find anything that resonated with you, keep looking, but don’t forget the most important thing: working for what you love is the same thing as enjoying, while achieving.


Riley Schatzle
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