Why Don’t We Work Smarter?

By looking at my work schedule, you might not believe my goal is to work smarter, not harder. The combination of my desire to be of service and my tendency towards perfectionism results in my working long hours. Even more insidious is the work ethic my parents instilled in me, that success comes to those who are tough and work the hardest. I know better, and you as a woman physician know better. Although our effectiveness and job satisfaction are at stake, new habits come slowly.

Adverse Effects When We Don’t Work Smarter

Many women physicians face long hours, overwork, and exhaustion, resulting in inefficiency, errors, and, ultimately, burnout. When you are overworked, you deplete your mental and physical reserves, so that mustering up enough energy to try hard again is even harder.

How To Work Smarter by Developing Resiliency

Fortunately, research has demonstrated that building your resiliency is the smart path to success. The following 5 key principles will help you develop resiliency:

  1. The key to building resiliency is: working, stopping, recovering, and then working again.
  2. The more required of you at work, the higher the value of your recovery time. If your physical and emotional reserves feel depleted, any activities to recover make a difference.
  3. Recovery is not the same as stopping work. Have you ever been in bed for 7 hours and still felt exhausted in the morning? Chances are you were still thinking about work. Our brains, just like our bodies, need a rest.
  4. Build short periods of recovery into your workday. Try not to work through lunch. Instead, go for a quick walk, or shift your attention to a less demanding task.
  5. Schedule time away from work to recover. Put what is important to you on your calendar. Recovery activities away from the workplace can be exercise, time with friends, having fun, and taking well-deserved vacations!

Women physicians are smart, dedicated, and caring. Also learning how to work smarter by becoming resilient is required for you to keep contributing at your best and to feel more fulfilled.

More on resilience.




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