6 Tips For Better Work-Life Balance For Busy Dentists
Work-life balance is a trendy topic that we hear and read about often yet is a concept that can be hard to implement in #reallife. As a dentist, and leader of your dental practice, you have to wear many hats all day long and often times wear them for long hours at a time. With this reality, the concept of work-life balance can seem difficult to imagine and perhaps even frustrating to attempt.
Cultivating a work-life balance in the dental profession is not a one-size-fits-all approach yet more of a conscious practice that is unique to you and that you return to often.
In this week’s blog, we explore this concept and share with you 6 powerful tips to cultivate a richer work-life balance.
#1 Identify Your Top Core Values
When you take time to identify your top core values, both personally and within your dental practice, you create a powerful foundation to return to when it’s time to prioritize your week, make important decisions, budget your work/personal life and more.
When you know what matters most to you, you are more empowered to say no to the things that don’t align with your core values and say yes to the things that do.
Without knowing your core values, you can become more susceptible to overscheduling yourself, not prioritizing what’s important and as a result fall victim to imbalanced work-life experience, burnout, overwhelm and feeling frustrated in all areas of your life.
What are your top 3 core values?
#2 Let Your Schedule Reflect Your Values
Once you’ve identified your core values, personally and within your dental practice, it’s time to track your schedule and see if your schedule reflects those values.
To do this, you will need to track your schedule for a week. Everything that you do throughout your day (personally and professionally) will go into your calendar. If you forget to add something to your calendar, add it in after the event.
Track everything; when you exercise, eat a meal, work meetings, phone calls, errands…everything.
At the end of the week, review your schedule and reflect over how much time went to each area of your life (work, family, health, personal hobbies).
- Does the time in each area of my life feel balanced?
- Does the time devoted to each area of my life reflect my top core values?
If not, what actions and changes can you make to your schedule to find more balance?
Bring these reflections to your calendar as you schedule your next week. Before you schedule anything in your calendar ask yourself:
- Does this support my core values?
- Is this the best use of my time?
#3 Be Present
Once you’ve identified where you can make conscious shifts in your schedule to better reflect your core values, it’s time to practice being present with each task at a time.
Often, we feel out of balance when we are doing one task but thinking of the next task we have to do. This lack of mindfulness decreases our level of productivity, prevents us from enjoying the task at hand and staying focused on the here and now.
As you move through your new (consciously constructed) schedule, ask yourself:
- How can I be more present with whatever task is at hand?
- If I am working on a project for work, what might I need to do to be fully present?
- If I am having dinner with my family, what might I need to do to be fully present with them?
Being present and undistracted cultivates a richer quality experience that leaves us feeling more fulfilled and connected.
#4 Phone Management
One big, bold action to help cultivate presence and balance in our lives is learning to put the phone away.
Don’t get us wrong…phones are incredible devices that enable us the freedom to work on the go. They serve us and our businesses and help us stay connected to our friends, family, colleagues, and patients.
Yet, it doesn’t take much to get sucked into the habit of always having your phone in your hand and not knowing how or when to put it away.
These devices can empower us one moment and rob us of the present moment next. We can quickly find ourselves out of balance by being in the habit of not putting the phone down and thereby distracting ourselves from fully resting, relaxing, be in nature, and connecting in our relationships.
What poor habits do you have around your phone?
Where in your day can you put your phone away to practice being present more?
#5 Take A Vacation
Taking time away not only serves your health but it also creates the space for you to reconnect with your ‘why’ for practicing dentistry and building a dental practice in the first place.
When you remove yourself from the day-to-day hustle of your practice, you are able to reconnect to your purpose, your passion for practicing, your relationships, your health and cultivate ideas and connections that you can never find from an exhausted, over-worked mind.
Stress and overwhelm are no small things in the dental industry and burn out rates are increasing every year among dentists.
Taking vacation not only keeps you healthy but it ultimately nourishes your work life and your personal life simultaneously.
When can you schedule your next vacation?
Where in your schedule can you schedule in rest and relaxation?
#6 Ask For Support
We can’t be everything to everyone and we can’t be two places at once. When we try to attempt this, we end up overwhelmed and resentful in our relationships.
To be fully present and give your work and personal life the care and attention they deserve, you must learn to ask for help.
Perhaps you can find the help you need by better automating your dental practice or asking for additional help from your team. Maybe it’s enrolling your family members to help out around the house more so that the time you spend at home is filled with quality time together.
What support would help you achieve more balance in your life? Who can you ask for this support?
Work-life balance is a practice that requires mindfulness, attention, awareness, and commitment.
Begin with the 6 tips and observe the subtle (or bold) shifts that occur when you put them to practice!