Balancing busy careers and family life
Balancing your personal life with the professional demands that come with working as a veterinarian can be quite daunting. This kind of balance between life and work is crucial, though; at least if you want to have both personal satisfaction and a great career. However, it’s definitely not easy. It will require you to set the right priorities when it comes to both professional development and day-to-day work, as well as the right needs of your lifestyle; like your family, friends, and personal growth.
Firstly, you need to set yourself the right self-care plan, but one that you can realistically follow. This will go a long way toward you achieving the perfect relations between your family life and your professional life as a veterinarian. And if you have a family, this will require some adjustment on their part as well; while it may represent something of a puzzle for your children and spouse, it will all be worth it. Once you realize the best way to lead your life, you will be able to nurture your family and social relationships much better.
Strategies for work-life balance
Spending Less Time At Work
One of the most important aspects of making sure that you’re spending enough time with your family is spending less time at work. In the spirit of that, you’ll need to do some planning in advance. We recommend setting aside an afternoon and making a calendar of all the most important family and birthday celebrations for the coming year; stuff like get-togethers, weddings, and even class reunions. That way, you’ll know when to seek time off, and be able to adjust accordingly. You’ll have enough time to find a fellow veterinarian to be on call or to work for you.
Also, talk to your practice owner to see if they’d be open to allowing you a flexible work schedule. Even if it does turn out that they won’t allow that, you could still talk to other veterinarians and trade hours, so both of you could make time for important events in your lives. If you’re the owner of your very own practice, all of this still stands; just find another veterinarian in the area who’d be glad to cover for you when you need some time off with your family and friends.
Apart from this, you also must know when you simply have to say “no” to something. And we’re not just talking about work, but in your family life too. At the end of the day, there’s no way to truly please everyone and do everything. So, if you feel like you won’t have time for something; don’t take this task on, but learn to politely reject it in a timely manner.
If you feel that your current place of employment is encroaching on your family life too much; there’s always the option of practicing elsewhere. Just make sure that you’re fully aware of the policies that any prospective practice owners have in terms of family leave, bereavement leave, paid time off, job sharing, and flexible schedules.
One of the most important aspects of keeping family life and your veterinarian career in tune is to avoid taking any work home with you. And that includes ongoing stuff like emails and any other projects. If you allow yourself to be on-call all the time, then the free time you have with your family isn’t really free.
And once you are at work, make an effort to track your time at the workplace for an entire week. You may identify some tasks that aren’t really meaningful, so you can delegate them elsewhere, or that you could do once or twice during the week in bulk so they take less time. If you find yourself staying at work longer than needed all the time, then start leaving on time at least twice a week, and see if you can up the ante from that.
Also, if your spouse can make it - we recommend eating lunch with them outside of your workplace at least once each week. Plus, you should know that studies show veterinarians being at a high risk of burnout and depression on average. With that in mind, talk to your employer (if you don’t own your own practice) about setting up a program for employee wellbeing and wellness.
Apart from this, you need to make sure you’re as efficient and mobile as you can be. If you want to keep your career in sync with your family life, try to see all the ways in which you can make your daily schedule more streamlined and effective. For instance, are you losing a lot of time on your daily commute?
Arranging your time according to public transport or someone’s carpool may prove too cumbersome and fiddling. In that case, we recommend buying a car of your own and saving yourself the trouble. If your budget can’t handle a brand new vehicle, there are always quality used cars on websites like KBB, FindTheBestCarPrice, etc. At the end of the day, you’ll save yourself the time you could use better with your family.
Making Positive Changes
Experience Life Outside Of Work
When you’re not actually working, you need to use the time you have with your loved ones in a quality manner. So, when you’re with your family and friends, don’t spend all of your time on your phone or tablet. Set technology aside for a while. Stop checking news headlines or emails, and drop your social media for a bit; focus on the people you’re currently with, and both you and them will find it more worthy of appreciation - enjoy some fun activities.
Also, just like when we talked about your office life - you should track and measure how you’re spending your time when you’re outside of your office, over the course of a week. You’ll see some patterns emerging and becoming more clear; showing you what you could do to cut time on menial chores and spend more quality time with friends and family. If you’re stopping at the store each day after work, set aside one free afternoon to do the shopping for the entire week.
Plan a weekly menu so cooking isn’t that much of a chore if you don’t want to order out constantly. On the other hand, if you hate spending an entire day just on laundry, do a quick load each day and you’ll find having a new free afternoon for more meaningful stuff! In other words, the proper organization of errands is incredibly important if you want to save enough time for quality family life. And if you don’t want to delegate stuff like cleaning to other people, lower your expectations on the level of quality you need to maintain with such less-important stuff.