When you hear the words ‘work-life balance’ you probably imagine finishing work at lunchtime, spending quality time with friends and family, squeezing in a productive gym session all before dinner with the family at 7pm. Whilst this may be possible for some, it isn’t always achievable.

The meaning of work-life balance is different for everyone. You don’t need to strive for the perfect schedule but a realistic one that allows you to peruse both work and personal interests. By creating your own harmonious work-life balance not only improves your physical, emotional and mental health but stimulates career growth.

Dr Geordie Beath, shares his experience in how he balances his full-time career as a Specialist Rural GP Anaesthetist, whilst also having time for his family and mental health.

1. Define what work-life balance means for you?

Work-life balance (to me) means identifying my priorities and ensuring that I am giving enough time to each. That includes having diversity within my work, with appropriate time consulting in clinic, being on call, emergency medicine, inpatient medicine, nursing homes and Anaesthesia. Balancing this diversity of work with my life can be challenging. Making sure that I have enough time to exercise (run about 3 times a week) and spend time with my family is extremely important. I organise to finish work around 4.30pm to be home for evening dinner and bedtime for my children. I have a Thursday and most weekends off to spend with them as well.

2. What is unique about the General Practitioner culture and how does it benefit you?

The General Practitioner culture is both a blessing and curse. You have to be very cognizant of the number of opportunities in General Practice (especially rural general practice) and how these can very quickly consume all the hours in a week. There are pressures from patient expectations, personal expectations and professional expectations that need to be held in check to allow family, as the people with the most important expectations (in my opinion), to be heard. When the balance is right, there is no better job or more rewarding profession in the world.

3. Describe your typical workday and how you manage your time?

I love the variety in my workday. It will often start with an inpatient ward round (1-2 patients on average). Then either nursing homes, clinic consulting, procedure clinic, nursing home visits, outreach clinics to neighbouring towns, or to start a 24-hour duty doctor emergency on call day! Every day seems to be different and making time for all the opportunities is the most difficult thing when you are making sure to maintain balance.

4. What are your interests outside of work that you enjoy in your downtime?

I love running, with the aim to get my parkrun 5km to less than 20 minutes (without pushing a pram). Otherwise you will find me spending time with my wife and daughters (aged 4 years and 8 months), going to parks, a friend’s place or otherwise exploring. I have a huge number of other interests that I would love to pursue given the time; more reading, hiking, photography, astrophotography, learn the guitar, set up a veggie garden, play some organised sport… the list goes on!

Sometimes, the journey to managing work life balance is one that benefits from guidance. If you’ve encountered challenges implementing wellness strategies, or sustaining them feels daunting, you’re not alone. Our ‘Beating Burnout’ program is an extension of support. It pairs an online course with effective strategies and behaviours that you can adopt now and into the future with the personalised touch of one-on-one coaching. Together with a dedicated coach, you can chart a personalised course to newfound resilience.