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Work-Life Balance Is a Myth for Medical Residents—Do This Instead

Updated: Oct 16, 2021

Life as a medical resident is overwhelming. It often feels as if there aren’t enough hours in the day to complete tasks and sleep—let alone have fun. If not properly managed, your constant state of “on-the-go” will lead to mental fatigue and burnout.


Despite the reputation of a medical professional’s work-life balance, harmony is possible. In fact, below we’ve listed the top four ways medical residents with demanding schedules can take back a bit of their time and make the best of their work-life balance.


1- Make Time for Self-Care—While You’re Working


Just because you spend your life at work doesn’t mean you can’t live at work. This is an untapped secret to work-life balance: making time for a life at work. You can start by keeping a calendar, or setting an alarm, to help you block out areas of your day for self-care.


At work, this can be as simple as stepping outside your workplace for a 20-minute lunch break. In that time you’ll breathe fresh air, change your scenery, and get your mind away from work responsibilities. Don’t have time for a lunch break? It happens. Here are some more “self-care at work” tips:


  • Take a quick walk around the unit while listening to your favorite song

  • Listen to a podcast in the background when in your office—bonus points if it’s a funny one

  • Do a quick five-minute breathing exercise to help curb anxiety

  • Download a mobile game on your phone and play it for five minutes every hour

  • Declutter your desk, even if it just means putting that stack of papers away in a drawer

  • Light a candle in your office (try an aromatherapy one for extra relaxation)


It doesn’t matter when or how you take time for self-care, but if you schedule it or set a reminder on your phone, you’re more likely to do it. Stepping away actually increases productivity when you’re working. In setting boundaries, your mind will be refreshed and you’ll want to be at work.


2- Focus on Your Purpose


With the world still recovering from the devastating COVID-19 pandemic and the healthcare industry suffering a shortage of medical professionals, life as a medical resident gets heavy. It can be easy to lose sight of your purpose in the field. That’s why you should spend time each week focusing on why you entered the healthcare industry.


Every Sunday, take time to meditate/ponder on this and, ask yourself:


What makes me happy?

Do I love what I do?

Why did I choose this career?

What does work-life balance look like for me?


Write down the answers to these questions and see if your life aligns with what you said. If not, take steps to ensure they do. Work-life balance looks different for everyone—and that’s okay. As long as you are staying true to yourself, true to your desires, and true to your goals you’re doing the right thing.


Remember, residency does get easier each year. Take it one day at a time and enjoy small victories when they happen.


3- Learn to Let Go


Working in healthcare can be an extremely fulfilling career, but we have a tendency to overdo it. Decrease burnout and improve your mental health by letting go of things you can’t control.


As doctors, we expect too much from ourselves. Newsflash: perfection is a myth, so lower your bar.


  • Don’t obsess over large, mountainous goals. Instead, make small, achievable steps towards your accomplishment. Write your small goals down and check them off as they are reached. Your small victories will add up and build confidence that lasts.


  • Limit social media apps, minimize long conversations, and truly focus on what you need to do. Prioritize and complete your responsibilities in order of importance and time sensitivity. Then circle back after you’ve completed the items you deem as more significant.


  • Start saying no. You don’t have to pick up an extra shift or take on more duties than you can handle. Time management is all about prioritizing, which means you get to decide how much is too much.


4- Lighten the Load With Tech


Writing patient notes is an exhausting task aside from actual patient care. It’s essential to ensure each patient receives the best care possible. But what do you do when there are so many tasks and not enough time?


That’s easy: maximize efficiency and reduce time-wasting activities with the all-new technology, dotScribe. dotScribe helps you write notes more quickly and provides all the medical resources you need to simplify your job. It can easily save you an average of one to two hours a day in charting, writing notes, and medical decision making.


This software is the perfect addition to any EHR and helps medical residents save time with faster charting and medical notetaking. It’s the best way to eliminate time-consuming tasks and prioritize patient care. With dotScribe, everything you need to succeed as a medical professional is in one easy-to-use dotphrase-based software.


Adjusting work-life responsibilities can be challenging, but it is possible when you add in time-saving technologies that lighten the burden of work. Communicate your need for systems designed to help physicians and other medical professionals thrive.


Work-Life Balance For Residents Is Now Possible!


Ideally, your workplace wants to maximize employee performance; they also want you to enjoy working in the healthcare industry. Accomplishing this feat takes effort as well as time-saving tools like dotScribe. Spend more time enjoying life, and less time hunched over your computer. No matter what drives you during your time as a medical resident, with the help of technology, life and job fulfillment can co-exist. Lighten your load with advanced software like dotScribe. It’s designed by medical professionals, for medical professionals.


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