Demands: Striving for sense of balance in personal and professional lives

October 15, 2008

Ophthalmic practice administrators often find heavy demands on their time and attention and so, like many managers, risk losing sight of what's important in the rest of their lives. But while it isn't possible to avoid the stresses and strains that accompany the job, there are ways administrators can maintain or restore a sense of balance in their lives.

Key Points

Kansas City, MO-Ophthalmic practice administrators often find heavy demands on their time and attention and so, like many managers, risk losing sight of what's important in the rest of their lives. Although it isn't possible to avoid the stresses and strains that accompany the job, administrators can find ways to maintain or restore a sense of balance in their lives, according to Lew McBee, MS, chief administrator of Silverstein Eye Care Centers in Kansas City, MO.

McBee noted that he has held a variety of management positions for the past 25 years. "It's pretty much the same everywhere. When you're in management, sometimes you lose your balance."

Quoting Oprah Winfrey, he added, "I've learned that you can't have everything and do everything at the same time."

McBee said he often sees evidence of the time crunch in the form of employees, especially working and single mothers, who use their lunch hours for personal errands because they don't have time after work. "Then they realize they didn't even have time to eat lunch because they had to do so many other things," he said.

Technology can be another cause of imbalance, both from trying to keep up with it, and because it makes it more difficult to separate ourselves from work. When going on vacation, he said, it is a good idea to leave cell phones and computers behind so that you can't be reached. Or if you do bring them, tell employees and colleagues that you'll only check messages at specific times.

Although forces always are at work creating imbalance in our lives, we also have many options for restoring balance. Probably the most important, McBee said, is setting priorities among our competing demands, then saying "no" to those things that are less important, both at home and at work.

Restoring balance

"There simply are times when you may need to say 'no' to a spouse, to children, in the community, at church groups," he said. "Of course, we don't want to say 'no' to the boss too often, but it's OK to say 'I'll take care of it if it's really essential, but it may mean falling behind on the six other projects I've got going on.' Or, ask if it's OK to delegate the task."

Closely related is the need to manage time.

"If we can't manage time it becomes very difficult to balance our lives, because otherwise we wind up just spinning our wheels and not really getting anything accomplished," McBee said.

Regular exercise is another key ingredient to maintaining balance. "I know it's difficult, because for most of us, it's just not much fun," he said. "But it doesn't have to be jogging 10 miles. Sometimes it's nothing more than stretching a little or taking a walk around the block. But we need to do it to maintain balance and re-energize ourselves."

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