Starting Jan 1 2022- UAE has transitioned to a 4.5 Hours working Week pattern with Friday afternoon, Saturday and Sunday forming the new weekend.  Kudos to Government of UAE for implementing this to create a better work life balance among its employees and citizens. For most Indian Doctors, work life balance is always not a priority, particularly  I see a lot of our colleagues  working  even on Sundays, since they feel since patients have holiday on Sunday, they expect the Doctor to be working on a Sunday. 

What we forget in the bargain is that we work for living and we do not live for working!

For most Doctors work is the only life they know, but we should also understand that apart from Patients and Surgeries, there are many things to do in Life, pursuing a hobby, going out with friends, spending time with family or not doing anything at all - can also be a form of living. Some people will not be able to do anything other than work, Even a single day of not doing anything will put them on a lot of stress, but its very important for these people to understand that work is not everything, they should open up to explore other things in Life.

Indian Doctors are the most hardworking - particularly Doctors in rural areas, they have to see volumes to earn a living, there are many Doctors who see 100-150 patients a day and do 20-25 surgeries a day, As per survey of International Labour Organisation, Indians are among the top in terms of number of working hours per week, Even Chinese do not work as much as Indians,  On the other hand the developed countries have reduced their working hours in a week over the past few decades, yet their productivity and economic growth has not slowed down.

What is observed is that economic productivity and efficiency and happiness increased when people reduce their working hours and focused on other aspects of living.  A study from Iceland clearly indicated this fact

The Link to the study in given in the end of the article.

A few years back I was in  a Diabetes conference to do Eye Screening among Diabetologists, I was surprised to see around 70% of Diabetologists had Diabetes or Hypertension and many of them also had Retinopathy.

This overworking culture also leads to rise of chronic diseases such as Diabetes and Hypertension and as we always understand Doctors are the worst when it comes to taking care of thier own health.

Lets understand that Our life is not for the next 70-80 years, what we have is this day and this moment, and we have to make the best use of it to live a meaningful life. There are many things which we cannot do when we get old, for example trekking , and travelling or learning a difficult skill, lets us decide to live each day fully.

Some suggestions to have a better work life balance 

1) Do not give your personal phone number to Patients. Do not work Late nights, try to work not more than 8 hours per day- 5 days a week

2) Definitely do not work on Sundays unless its an emergency- if possible take 2 week days off

3) Focus more on Value work and not volume work- Identify which areas in your practice gives you maximum returns and focus on that. 

4) You should go  on at least One or two vacations in a year.

5) Learn a new skill every year.

6) Develop new friendships with people who are not related to your field and from diverse backgrounds.

7) Have some time everyday where you absolutely do nothing- remember to keep your phone away during this time

Remember life is for living - You are not even sure of this particular day- so try to live the most on each day - work of course is important- but work alone is not life

We will talk more on this topic next week

Dr Senthil

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Link to  Articles Discussed 

Iceland - Survey on Reducing work hours

UAE Reduced Working Hours