EMPLOYED PRACTICE

Beyond Work-Life “Balance”

 


FREE PREVIEW. AAFP members and paid subscribers: Log in to get free access. All others: Purchase online access.


FREE PREVIEW. Purchase online access to read the full version of this article.

Balance isn't sustainable, but perhaps we can achieve dynamic equilibrium.

Fam Pract Manag. 2016 Mar-Apr;23(2):7.

Author disclosure: no relevant financial affiliations disclosed.

The desire for better work-life balance is a common concern among physicians and a key reason for choosing employed practice.1 But the term work-life balance has always struck me as problematic.

In my experience, achieving a true balance between work and non-work activities is incredibly challenging and, when achieved, is fleeting. My moment of balance is quickly upended by a sick child, a partner's vacation, a new project at work, a patient in labor, etc. True balance is unsustainable.

Additionally, the term work-life balance suggests that work equals bad and life equals good. This does not ring true for me because there are many aspects of my work that I love (and some aspects of my life that I don't always love).

Because of this, I've started thinking about work and life as a dynamic equilibrium. A dynamic equilibrium is a steady state where inputs equal outputs even though they are continuously changing. There can be chemical reactions going on in the middle, but the outcome is no net change. Using this metaphor as a work-life model makes a lot of sense to me. For my outputs (e.g., work, hobbies, or relationships) to be at their highest potential,

About the Author

Dr. Schrager is a professor in the University of Wisconsin Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, Madison, Wisc.

Author disclosure: no relevant financial affiliations disclosed.

Reference

1. Kane L. Employed vs. self-employed: who is better off? Medscape. March 11, 2014. http://www.medscape.com/features/slideshow/public/employed-doctors. Accessed Jan. 28, 2016.


 

Copyright © 2016 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.
This content is owned by the AAFP. A person viewing it online may make one printout of the material and may use that printout only for his or her personal, non-commercial reference. This material may not otherwise be downloaded, copied, printed, stored, transmitted or reproduced in any medium, whether now known or later invented, except as authorized in writing by the AAFP. Contact fpmserv@aafp.org for copyright questions and/or permission requests.

Want to use this article elsewhere? Get Permissions

CME Quiz

MOST RECENT ISSUE


Nov-Dec 2016

Access the latest issue of Family Practice Management

Read the Issue


Email Alerts

Don't miss a single issue. Sign up for the free FPM email table of contents and e-newsletter.

Sign Up Now