Doctors are highly motivated professionals whose work can be extremely demanding. It’s important to maintain a balance between professional and personal lives and find ways to keep both fresh and dynamic. At The Institute for Podiatric Excellence and Development (IPED) one of our goals is to help podiatric professionals at every level achieve a successful and satisfying career and personal life. Here, Dr. Hal Ornstein and Neil Baum offer some suggestions:
1. Always be a student. Medicine is a life-long commitment to learning. No doctor can be on top of his\her game if they are using the knowledge and skills that they received when they completed their education or training. You should always make time to be a student for your entire career.
2. Learn to say "no." The next time you are called to join a hospital committee, to become a member of a board in the community, or to accept an invitation for an evening dinner ask yourself these questions: 1) Will the obligation enhance my career? 2) Will the commitment take away from my time with my family and friends? 3) Will this obligation lead to balance or imbalance in my life? Remember it is not a sin to say "no."
3. Take active control of your finances. Most young doctors today enter practice with nearly $250,000 of debt, which will take years to pay off. Balance comes from financial security and that’s why we recommend that even in the face of daunting debt, you start saving for your children's education and for your retirement.
4. Hang out with people one generation older or younger than yourself. If you are a young, new physician, then meet older more seasoned doctors who can show you the ropes, share their valuable experiences, and give you wise counsel when you need it. If you are an older physician, hang out with the Gen Xers. This contact with younger people can keep you current, keep you energized, and keep you on top of your game. My advice is to balance your friendships. This is one of the prime benefits of membership with IPED.
5. Exceed patients' expectations. Adhere to "the extra mile philosophy." This requires you to go the extra distance for your patients and to exceed their expectations. Your patients will remember you for it.
6. And finally have fun. The best advice to achieve balance is to take your profession seriously, but not yourself. Find ways to inject a little humor into your daily activities. Start your day by listening to a humor CD of Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Cosby, or an old Abbott and Costello routine. A smile is the shortest distance between two people. Let us not forget that medicine is the most enjoyable profession, and it can be the most fun and rewarding.