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Tips for work/life balance

Dentistry can be demanding, with the potential for emergency call-ins, long hours and other disruptions, especially when you run your own practice. Here are six tips to make sure success at the office doesn’t affect happiness at home.

Discuss your goals with your family

Hard conversations get harder when you don’t have them. It’s best not to assume that your partner understands your long-term business goals. It might seem obvious to you how extra commitment at work plays into the big picture, but if you don’t share, your partner or children can’t know what you’re thinking.

Consider your partner’s career goals

Your dreams are not necessarily more important than your partner’s, even if your career brings home the lion’s share of the income in your household. Dismissing your partner’s career path can lead to resentment.

Think about how your professional decisions might affect your partner’s ability to advance.

  • Do they need to pursue additional education?
  • Does location affect their ability to find work?
  • How does your work schedule affect theirs?

Bounce ideas off your partner

While your partner may not know how to do a root canal, they have a unique insight into how your work life affects you personally. Perhaps you’re considering hiring an associate dentist but your partner knows how much happier you’ve been since leaving a larger office to have a solo practice. Involving your partner in business decisions will give you a better work/life perspective while improving relationship dynamics.

Set priorities and revisit them often

Priorities change over time. As you enter new phases of your career, take the time to make sure your actions match up with your current priorities. It might make sense to work your fingers to the bone during the first decade of your career but as you earn a more relaxed schedule, make sure to take advantage of it.

Plan for the future

Saving for retirement is a great way to ensure that the sacrifices you make today translate into extra leisure time later. Sit down with your partner to set out specific financial goals for the short, medium and long-term so that you’re both on the same page and happy with how income is allotted. That doesn’t mean you should wait until retirement to take time off. Vacation is important, both for your personal life and to reenergize for work.

Don’t multitask

When it’s time to work, work. When you’re on a date with your partner, be present. When you’re enjoying family time, focus on family. Schedule work time, romantic time, family time and personal time and devote your full attention to the task at hand for each activity. Don’t forget about relaxation and exercise. The busier you get the more diligent you need to be about setting aside specific slots in your schedule for tending to your mental and physical wellbeing.