Archive April 2017 XVIII, No. 4

Staffing: Avoid Career Burnout

3 steps to improve your physical and mental wellbeing.

Jeffrey Smith, MD

meditate HAPPY PLACE Setting and meeting achievable life-improvement goals will help you deal with the daily grind of working in surgery.

There are case volumes to maintain, revenues to maximize, surgeons to satisfy and patients to please — is it any wonder you might feel a little stressed? Here are a few things you can do to cope with the demands of your high-pressure job and avoid career burnout.

1Find your rhythm. Many life coaches refer to this concept as finding a work-life balance, but I like to call it finding your "rhythm." Finding your rhythm is absolutely essential to preventing and treating burnout. It's very difficult to simply create "time" or "balance" in your life; it's much more practical to spend your energy on creating focus, which requires emphasizing quality over quantity. This takes energy and effort, but it's doable. Limit distractions, be mindful of the task at hand and focus your energy on the receiver of your attention, whether that's a coworker, patient, spouse or child.

When you're home, be home. That might sound unrealistic, especially if you can't avoid working at night, but you can set a boundary between work and home and stick to it. Set aside an hour or two when you get home to truly focus on connecting with loved ones or to decompress. At a predetermined time, get back to work. But until then, let yourself turn off for a while.

Amazingly organized and mentally fit people know their productivity wanes if they spend 8 straight hours at work thinking about the next item on their to-do list. When it comes time to engage in work-related tasks, you'll be much more focused if you take periodic breaks for a mental recharge.

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