A few weeks back I was interviewed on the topic of work-life balance for physicians. Here is the 4th question I was asked and my response.

Can you comment on how the first step in building work-life balance is defining work-life balance for oneself and one’s life goals?

The first step in building work-life balance is awareness and knowing oneself. Too easy we can get caught up in societal pressure, comparisons with colleagues and neighbors, or expectations from family. And so it comes down to being honest with oneself and asking oneself, “What is most important to me in my life? What are my priorities? What brings me joy? What gives me energy? What do I need to have and do in my life to perform optimally and consistently?”

You see too often society and older generations look at work-life balance as slacking off and not wanting to work so hard. But work-life balance is a big component to optimal performance and rest is a necessary piece to it. Physicians need downtime from work to recharge, they need to recharge energy after a long work day, they need a solid and harmonious family life in order to be a good and empathetic physician. Balance is the foundation for being a good and productive physician.