There’s not enough time in a day to do everything–especially if you’re a veterinarian. Female veterinarians in particular are working part-time more often, discovering that work-life balance is critical for them to manage both their practice and their personal lives.

Of course, as a veterinarian, you know that medicine waits for no one and pet emergencies don’t keep to a schedule. So how do you reduce stress and make the most of your time away from work?

It’s all about managing your priorities, at work and away from work. Here are three tips to create better work-life balance.

Manage Your Time at Work

If you’re after work-life balance, the best place to start is by managing your time at work.

Start by making a calendar of the complete year. This calendar should include any major dates that you know about in advance: birthdays, weddings, holidays, vacations, any celebrations or major life events you can plan for. Then, plan ahead to get that time off.

If you work in a practice owned by someone else, talk to the owner to see if they would be open to a flexible work schedule. If you own your own practice, find someone to cover for you so that you can guarantee time off.

If you’re serious about managing work time but that isn’t possible in your current situation, think about looking into options at other practices.

Be Smart with Your Smartphone

Your phone is supposed to be smart. Time to leverage those smarts.

Spend some time figuring out how to configure your smartphone notifications. This could come from YouTube, your spouse, or your tech-savvy younger relatives.

Set yourself a pre-ordained work time. Then, configure your phone notifications to switch off all text and email notifications outside of that time, except for close friends and family.

This might sound terrifying, but it’s a necessary step. Think of it this way: if someone has a veterinary emergency, they aren’t going to text or email you.

Prioritize Self-Care

Finally, a strong self-care routine is at the heart of a positive work-life balance.

Keep in mind that self-care doesn’t always mean getting a massage or chilling on the couch with your favorite TV show . You had a life before veterinary school and before this job, things that you love to do in your free time. What are they?

Do you love to read the Word? Walk in nature? Pray? Knit?

Whatever it is, carve time each day to do something that you genuinely enjoy. If you don’t make time, chances are, you won’t find time. It’s about treating self-care like an appointment with a patient.

Making Work-Life Balance a Reality

Work-life balance might sound like a dream you had once upon a time in vet school, but it is possible. You just have to figure out how to balance competing priorities.

When you’re at work, work is your priority. And when you’re at home, barring an emergency, home is your priority.

Once you manage that, the rest will follow.

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