Many of my Endo2Endo clients have told me they get a feeling of dread at the thought of leaving the office for a week or even a day.  They have a hard time enjoying time off because they feel they have so much to lose (income, productive staff time, referrals etc.). I have seen people in Hawaii (when I was on vacation) sitting in front of that gorgeous ocean with their laptop and cell phone going the whole time. 

What if there was a different definition of abundance? I used to think of abundance only in terms of income.  Today, what I know is that abundance comes in many forms including time abundance, energy abundance and family abundance. Ask yourself, “What do I want more of?” and bring more of that into your life. Meditate, talk with smart people, or just sit quietly and consider your own “more.”   

The finest athletes know when to stop. 

Without taking any time off from high level activities, the body will eventually begin to wear down faster than it can repair itself. This, when kept up long enough, can result in a wide array of injuries including tendonitis, muscle tears, and stress fractures. We can learn from this as endodontists because we too face burnout, boredom and diminished sharpness. No, we’re not quarterbacks but we do have responsibility for our teams and our patients.  Not being able to give your best is counterproductive, to say the least. 

A few ideas.

If you want to spend time doing what you love – hobbies, sports, learning or simply sitting in the backyard with your feet up, let me suggest that you set up your business to withstand your occasional departure.  Some suggestions:

Hire a team you don’t have to worry about.

The key is to set up your business to allow you to enjoy life. Giving up daily control frees you to be more productive when you’re in the office.  But you can only rest easy if you have hired and trained the best and if your office is run efficiently and systems working like a clock.  

Shut off the stern, judgmental voices in your head.

Teachers, mentors, trainers, parents etc. etc. plant seeds in our heads that guide our lives if we let them. Only listen to those who reflect your true nature, not those who attempt to change it. If living a balanced life is one of the reasons you chose endodontics, don’t forget that. Create your business so it allows for freedom and flexibility. Life is short, and all that.

Be present wherever you are.

I once asked a famous life coach how to be more productive.  He said, don’t multitask.  Be in the moment.  Focus on one thing at a time.  Good advice for us busy dentists. We know how to focus like a laser on each patient.  We were trained that way.  However, we don’t know how to step out of the day-to-day to reboot, refresh and smell the roses.  Like athletes, our “mental muscles” need time off.

Bring in an associate.

Obviously, having someone there when you’re gone to handle cases is the ideal as well as a way to increase practice productivity overall. Your practice will stay vital while you’re off.  Your referring dentists will stay loyal. Your staff will be busy.  And you can return from time off, get caught up, and step right back into your practice. Only it won’t be the tired, stressed you that hopped on that plane.

Reconsider what is most important to you. Be grateful for the wonderful practice you have. And allow yourself to let go and experience the sights, sounds and scents of life. Breathe in some sea air. Climb that mountain. Go biking with your children and spouse. Laugh with friends. Take up painting. Start to write that novel. You owe it to yourself.