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Balancing Life and Work as a Locum Tenens Physician

Posted on: December 12, 2019

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written by

Gail Clifford, MD

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As a locum, you have more control over your work hours than most. That’s why you chose this gig - for freedom. Yet, we still need to pay for the lives we lead outside work - the mortgage, car payment, utilities, child care, health care, groceries, entertainment, travel; you name it, we pay for it. So how do we find our best life balance?

Put Yourself First

Yes, I said it. The flight attendants are right. Put on your oxygen mask first. If you don't take care of yourself first, you really won't be able to be the best for your children, your spouse, your job, or your community.

Live on Less Than You Make

This provides freedom for your best life. If you genuinely "pay yourself first" - whether five percent, ten percent or twenty-eight percent - whatever you can put away now will use compounding interest to make it worth dramatically later. If you can start early, or start it for your kids working as your employee, put away just five thousand dollars each year for ten years in a ROTH IRA before they turn 30, it can be worth one million dollars by the time they turn 65? If you're already past 30, don't fret, still put away as much as you can. If you think you can't achieve this goal, get help with your budget – trim costs when you can, ask for advice from friends you see doing well and never assume someone is living a great life – they could be drowning in debt. If we never discuss it, we'll never learn. Let's take the mystique away and be honest with each other, and ourselves.

Stay Active

Plenty of studies show the health connections between the body and brain. The more active you are, combined with healthy eating, the better the chances you'll have the energy to accomplish all of your goals.

Stay Curious

No matter how busy you are, try to take the time to find something that interests you. Engage your child to teach you something; you'll be amazed at how much you'll learn as you review their homework, even remotely. It’s a great use of technology. Do you know why the sky is blue? Did you know that there were only four kingdoms in biology initially, and now there are seven? Learn something daily unrelated to work.

Set Boundaries with Work

Do what you are meant to do, but don't let your job consume your life. Who among us would say on our deathbed, "I wish I'd spent more time at work?" Create and complete the most fulfilling possible job within the time allotted.

Have Faith

Prayer, meditation and reflection bring mindfulness that makes everything better. Soothing your soul creates inner peace to permeate your day. Even better, do it as a family. You'll be glad you did.

Gail Clifford, MD
About Gail Clifford, MD

Gail Clifford, MD, a physician for more than 25 years, has traveled to five continents and all 50 United States. An avid adventurer, she works hard and plays hard. She enjoys travel that immerse her in local culture, just like locum tenens work.

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