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Simple Ways of Finding a Perfect Work/Life Balance as a Nurse Practitioner

We all wear different hats, sometimes more than one at a time; you might be a parent, a student and a nurse practitioner all at the same time. Because of all the responsibilities we have, it might be hard to find the perfect balance between work and our other obligations. Below, we will look at some simple ways to find a perfect work-life balance without compromising any of the other different parts of your life.

“You will never feel truly satisfied by work until you are satisfied by life”

Heather Schuck, The Working Mom Manifesto

When Is Your Work-Life Balance Skewed?

It is very easy to find out if your work-life balance is skewed; just look around. If you constantly find yourself either thinking about work at home or bringing work home, your work-life balance is skewed. But what can you do about it?

Wield the Power of a Simple No

As a family nurse practitioner, you are in demand because you fill in the gaps in primary care. But if FNPs do not know how to say no to a demanding boss or to their patients when it comes time to leave work, things will soon unravel. 

Making yourself available 24/7 makes you a bad employee, not a good one. Also, doing so gives your boss or patients a chance to take advantage of your giving or understanding nature. Start practicing saying no, especially if you are away from work. Remind people that working hours have lapsed and that you will not work past that.

A firm “no” does not have to be a disrespectful one either. Learn to say no as politely as possible. Also, do not give justifications or explanations for saying no apart from that your work hours have elapsed. If you do, co-workers and patients alike might try to find ways around your explanation to get you to do what they wanted you to do in the first place.

“Let today mark a new beginning for you. Give yourself permission to say NO without feeling guilty, mean, or selfish.”

Stephanie Lahart

Work Smarter

Working smarter means having tight priorities and a very organized schedule. You want to do everything you need to do in the eight to nine hours you are at work. If you work smarter, you will be able to finish everything you need to in the allotted time frame. That is not to say that some hospitals do not overload their nurse practitioners and other health workers. Try as best as you can to finish everything you need to at work, so you don’t have to take it home with you, physically or mentally. 

Do Not Be a Perfectionist

In most cases, when work spills over into our personal lives, it’s because we tried to do something perfectly and it took too long to complete. Do everything to the best of your ability but do not weigh yourself down with every detail or possibility. Learning to let things go might be hard for a family nurse practitioner because of the important responsibilities they have. But working to the best of your ability and not being weighed down by the finest of details will go a long way to tilting your work-life balance in the right direction. If you think you haven’t done something as well as you could have, do not go back to it after you have already left work, wait for the next day and have a do-over. 

Do Not Be a Do-it-all

A lot of nurse practitioners think that taking on more responsibilities endears them in the eyes of their employers. You do not have to be this martyr. If you kill yourself for your job by trying to do it all, not only will you fail at one or more things, but your work-life balance will also be affected. 

“We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our own ‘to do’ list.”

Michelle Obama

Leave Work at Work

It sounds simple, but for a lot of people, it is really hard to leave their work at work. They take it with them everywhere they go, including at home and at social events. Learn to leave your work at work. One of the best ways to learn to do this is to have a physical activity that denotes shutting down for the day. It may be as simple as removing your scrubs and changing into your ordinary clothes. Find something that tells your mind that you have shut down for the day and it is now time for something else.

Fill Your Time After Work

The reason why a lot of nurse practitioners do not know how to leave their workplaces is that they do not know what to do with themselves once they are home. Therefore, they stay longer at the hospital or at work. Try to find hobbies or other positive things you can do with your time after leaving work. Maybe take an online course or read a book. We are all always trying to improve at work, right? Why not try to do that for other parts of our lives too?

Shut Down Your Email Applications or Pager

Some companies have no respect for personal time, so they send work-related emails at all hours of the day, including at night. Medical practitioners might also have pagers that they take home. When you receive a message or page at home, you do not have to reply or even see it. The best way to make sure this happens is by shutting down your work email applications or pager. If you have a hard time doing so, do not log into work email on your phone or personal computer. This eliminates the chance of you mistakenly receiving a work-related email at home. Also, try your best not to take your pager home.

Taper Your Expectations

One disappointing thing about trying to find the perfect work-life balance is that it does not exist, but a realistic one does. Knowing what your limits are, what you can and cannot do when not at work and making sure others respect your time are all good places to start. 

A realistic work-life balance is one where you understand that you might have more time at work one some days and have more time to yourself on others. 

A good way to assess if what you are doing is working is by looking at your expectations versus your achievements. If you are achieving almost everything that is part of your goals, then you have a work-life balance that works. If not, the tips above should help you start correcting your course.

Simple Ways of Finding a Perfect Work/Life Balance as a Nurse Practitioner 3
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