Blog Post: April 2021

CPD Junkie Blog

Like everything good in life, there must be a balance. It is not something you find, but something you create."

Work-Life Balance– 

Can we Really Have it all?

Do you constantly worry about upcoming deadlines or work? Do you find yourself always talking about what you ‘have to get done’ and only half listening to your friend’s weekend escapades? Well, you’re not alone. It is estimated that 19% of Australian workers spend more than 45 hours a week at work (ABS Labour Force Survey, 2021). In fact, on average, studies suggest that full time employees spend about 4.6 hours working for free per week (Browne, 2019).  

So why the imbalance? It is thought that work can provide purpose, can encourage a sense of community, boost productivity and good habits, and more importantly, provide the financial basis for living. As we all know, overhead costs are not free. Although work may provide many desirable rewards, there is a misconception that ‘more is better’, which can result in people working long hours for diminishing or even worse returns.

But why is work- life balance necessary? It can

  • Prevent early burnout and reduce stress– by keeping your work and life separate, you can try to leave the stress at work and retreat home for some necessary rest and relaxation;
  • Promote a healthy mind and body– the mind and body are inseparable, having a healthy mind and body can lead to higher energy levels and emotional stability;
  • Increase productivity– it is about the quality of time spent not the quantity. Studies found that people work more overtime hours are less productive (Shumizu et al., 2004). Remember a fatigued mind is an unproductive mind; and
  • Make you more well-rounded– it is okay to have a life outside of your job. In fact, it is encouraged. You are, above all else, a human. Try to use those outside interests to connect with others and pursue hobbies outside of the mouth.

So how do we manage to pursue your passion while still having a life at the same time?

Here are a few ways to start:

Stop and take care of yourself – burnout is not the solution

Spend some time to re-evaluate your values and prioritise interests that matter to you. Ensure you take breaks, get some daily exercise and incorporate good habits. Patients can tell when you are stressed, so instead of rushing through that last filling, use the extra time to go over treatment plans, type your notes or enjoy a quick stroll in the sun.

Live in the present

Although easier said than done, try to focus on the now. Deadlines and tomorrow’s woes will happen whether you worry about them or not. Best to direct your energy towards the task at hand and leave the worrying for tomorrow.

Set Boundaries

Establish a routine that encompasses both work and outside activities. It is okay to say “No” when situations arise outside those hours, most appointments can be rescheduled, anyways.

Practice Time management and Make a Plan

Try to restructure and organise your schedule more efficiently. Manage your time, so you can continue doing activities outside the clinic. Work smarter (remember those “SMART” goals you wrote down at the beginning of the year? Well, it may be time to revisit them), so you don’t have to break your back while working harder. Make a schedule, pencil in those date nights and make sure you follow through. Happy spouse = happy house.

Ask for help

If you find yourself overwhelmed, try to reach out to someone. Developing a healthy work-life balance can be difficult, but help is available, even when you think you do not need it. Learn how to manage stress effectively and let go of the little things, your staff will thank you for it.

Dentistry can be demanding, but it does not have to consume your every thought. Like everything good in life, there must be a balance. It is not something you find, but something you create. We work to live rather than live to work. Try to smile and enjoy those moments when you’re not thinking about how crooked those teeth are, although difficult, it can happen.

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