Work Life Balance - Frustration is a Call to Action

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

work life balance for physicians 800 pound gorilla medical careerA Work Life Balance tool that Taps Frustration to Build a Better Week Ahead

Work Life Balance for Physicians is a constant battle between your longing for rest, relaxation, some exercise, time with friends and family ... any life at all ... and the voracious needs of the #800 Gorilla that is your career.

How often have you gotten to the end of the week and said in frustration, "I wish I had been able to
- go for a run
- spend time with my children
- have a date with my spouse
- read a book for pleasure (for just 15 minutes, I'm not asking for much here...)
- [fill in with your frustration of the week]
....... this week.

I want you to know that this Frustration doesn't have to be a Broken Record.

You don't have to submit to it week after week and limit yourself to just the victim's cycle of blame, justify and complain.

"You don't get what you want in life

You get what you Tolerate"
~ Anurag Gupta

The Highest & Best use of Frustration is as a Call To Action and a Power Source for Change

You can learn to channel the energy of your Frustration into a better week ahead with the following process.

Notice that any Work Life Balance Frustration is a Challenge to two things

1) Your Clarity

2) Your Resolve


The feeling of frustration is asking you to get Crystal Clear on what you really want to have happen in this coming week. What is the one life balancing activity you want to have actually happen in this coming week? If you are wondering which one to choose, frustration can help.

When you get to the end of the week and you are feeling out of balance, what is the most frustrating thing you were not able to accomplish in the week just passed? Sleep, exercise, time with your kids? What was it?

This is the activity to plan on getting done in this next week ahead.


Resolve: Definition "Firm determination to do something". Let's go one step further ...

Let me show you five quick steps to take your Clarity and Resolve and turn them into Accomplishment.

As Larry the Cable Guy says, let's figure out a way to "Git 'er done".

1) Use the "Schedule HACK"

In order to defend this life activity from that #800 Gorilla you must schedule it.

Here's the challenge. Most doctors I know carry only one schedule with them at all times ... their work/call schedule. If that is the only calendar you carry, you can bet that is the only thing that is sure to get done. This habit of only carrying a work calendar just reinforces the imbalance. This is where the Schedule HACK comes in.

The Schedule HACK process is a simple way to make sure you are always carrying your life calendar too. Here is a full training on how to execute the HACK. Let me hit the high points.

  • Decide on the activity you want

  • Pick the day and time you will do this work life balancing activity

  • Then write it in on your family calendar at home (the one on the side of the refrigerator)

  • Take a picture with your cell phone

  • Voila. You have your life calendar with you at all times


2) Defend Your Life Calendar

Now you have your activity on a calendar you carry with you ... you can defend your life activities from that Gorilla. If anyone asks you to take extra call or work an extra shift ... here is what you say.

"Hang on a second, let me check my calendar. "

Pull out your cell phone and check your life calendar.
If that time is taken ... here is what you can say:

"I am sorry, I am booked at that time. I won't be able to help out"

DONE. You just defended your life and shut the door in the face of the gorilla.

Power Tip:
Saying "NO" is very foreign to most physicians. I strongly encourage you to practice saying no like this - in the bathroom mirror - until you are completely comfortable before trying it out at work.


3) Do Your Thang (and enjoy the heck out of it)

When the time comes for your work life balance activity. The decks are clear ... just DO IT.

And remember to savor it. Let the enjoyment of experiencing this soak in to your body in all the right places in just the right amounts. (you can almost feel it now, right?)


4) Celebrate It

You worked hard. Your work life balance activity actually happened. So pat yourself on the  back, pump your fist and say "Yes", treat yourself to an ice cream sandwich.

Basically, treat yourself like a dog. You deserve it.



In an ideal world, the Schedule HACK is a weekly Life Planning session for you and your family. This is the simplest way I know to rebalance your life and end the frustration. Over time and with practice you can get to a place where your life is MUCH more balanced.


Here is the cycle again

  • Get Clear on What You Really Want

  • HACK Your Life Schedule into Your Cell Phone

  • Learn How to Say "NO" with Elegance and Grace

  • Just DO IT (soak it up)

  • Celebrate




What is the work life balance activity you are going to do this week?


Tags: Work Life Balance