It always creeps in. You may not want it to – but as a business owner, it inevitably comes. And when it does, it takes many faces and forms:
- “I just need to get one more thing done.”
- “Oh, I’m the one to leave the office again…”
- “I haven’t taken a real vacation in THAT long?!”
My friends, I’m talking about being a workaholic.
As a clinician who’s running your own practice, you know all too well how easily those 40-hour weeks turn into 50 or 60 hours. Before long, you’re working weekends, and any semblance of maintaining a social life has flown out the window.
I know how hard it is to maintain balance when you’re a clinician. When everything depends on YOU, how in the world can you expect to find – and maintain – some sort of balance?
The key is doing less while getting more done. I know, I know. It may sound counter-intuitive, but it’s actually possible. Here are five of my go-to strategies that show you how:
1. Be in Control of Your Time
Even though it may not feel like it, you’re the only one who’s in control of your time. This means you have the freedom to create those important moments in your calendar to allow for mental refueling. You can use this time to:
- Get some fresh air
- Go for a walk
- Catch up with a friend
Taking a break from your work environment, if even for a few moments, refreshes your brain and allows you to get back your focus and refuel your energy.
2. Build in Quiet Time
Our lives are full of chatter. Whether it’s virtual, in real life, or between our own ears – we’re constantly exposed to stimulants and distractions. Because silence is such a rare commodity, you have to intentionally plan time for relaxation and quiet.
Here are a few of the benefits you can expect from getting some regular quiet time1:
- The ability to think more clearly so you can figure out that tough patient case
- A more positive outlook on life and your practice
- A lowered risk of heart attack, mental health challenges, and other stress-induced illnesses (and that’s a good thing!)
So, be sure to carve out a block of quiet time and give your brain a rest from the constant mental overload. You’re so good at advising your patients to take care of themselves. Giving yourself a dose of the same medicine will help you recharge, and soon you may find yourself serving your patients even better.
3. Commit to Working Less Than 40 Hours per Week
The thought of working less than a full 40 hours may make your chest feel tight and your nervous system flooded with a sense of panic. But did you know that working more doesn’t actually make you more productive?
A Stanford study showed how people who worked 50 years a week were far less productive than those who worked less.2,3 And once a person hit 70 hours a week, their productivity was so low that they were getting the same amount accomplished as someone who put in 55 hours.
What’s fascinating is that research supports how productivity actually goes up when you work less. When you’re limited on time, the pressure is on you to accomplish as much as you can. That pressure creates an energy spike which builds the momentum for you to finish more in less time.4
So, less time results in greater productivity.
If the thought of reducing your hours still makes you nervous, try taking a few baby steps. Look for opportunities here and there where you can shave off time, and gradually work your way down to only working 40 hours per week tops.
4. Take Care of Yourself
Ironically, as a healthcare practitioner, you’re probably not the best at taking care of yourself. And you’re in good company. You thrive when it comes to helping others, but when it comes to caring for yourself, sometimes you get a little stuck.
When this happens, take a step back and focus on the basics:
- Get enough sleep
- Take your supplements, herbs, and/or nutrients
- Prioritize daily exercise
- Find time to socialize and laugh
Paying attention to these simple things will make a huge difference in your overall health and well-being.
5. Ask for Help
If you do find yourself stuck, that’s OK! When your patients feel overwhelmed, you encourage them to reach out. The same goes for you, too, my friend. Don’t be afraid to ask for help including:
- Other practitioners in your network
- Delegating or hiring a bookkeeper or virtual assistant
- Finding a trusted mentor or coach
As a coach for holistic practitioners, I’ve worked with hundreds of practitioners to help them figure out where they may be spreading themselves too thin. It sometimes takes an outside perspective to help you see all the things that are going right rather than focusing on what’s going wrong.
You’ve Got This!
When you take care of yourself, you show up for your patients in a fresher, more attentive way. This results in better clinical outcomes, a better practice, more referrals, and at the end of it, a happier you.
The key to this is balance.
To start getting more done by doing less, all you have to do is take that first step. Then another. And another. Start by choosing one idea from this list that you can start implementing right away.
I’m rooting for you!
1. (2019, April 3). How to Relax: Easy Ways to Relax, Recharge, and Vanquish …. Retrieved October 30, 2020, from https://www.healthline.com/health/stress/how-to-relax
2. (2019, March 20). Stanford study: Long hours don’t make you more productive. Retrieved November 4, 2020, from https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/20/stanford-study-longer-hours-doesnt-make-you-more-productive-heres-how-to-get-more-done-by-doing-less.html
3. (n.d.). The Productivity of Working Hours – IZA – Institute of Labor …. Retrieved November 4, 2020, from http://ftp.iza.org/dp8129.pdf
4. (2018, August 7). Want To Make The 4-Hour Workday A Reality? This … – Forbes. Retrieved October 30, 2020, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/briannawiest/2018/08/07/want-to-make-the-4-hour-workday-a-reality-this-is-why-working-less-accomplishes-more/