Increased workloads, stress and additional demands on your time can cause problems. At this time of year, establishing a work/life balance becomes even more important, so I’ve put together some tips to help you and your staff to a successful start of the New Year.

Are you organised?
In particularly during busy times, being organised and making plans can help keep things running smoothly in all aspects of your life. Figure out what you need to get done during the day – seeing patients, managing the books, processing pays etc. – and write yourself a list of prioritised tasks to help keep track. Revisit your plan regularly. Include external and after-hours commitments on your to-do-list, so that time allowed at work doesn’t start to overtake your plans at home, and to help you stay realistic about how much work you can really complete in any given timeframe. Keep an accurate and clear filing system and your work area and desk clean and free of clutter. Set reminders for yourself and make good use of your phone and computer’s calendar, clock and notification tools.

What are your goals this year?
When you’re overwhelmed at work, it can start to feel like you’re not accomplishing anything. Help yourself by creating long-term, medium-term and short-term goals, for both your personal and professional life, and breaking large goals into smaller, more achievable steps. Prioritise your goals, do your best to focus on one small goal at a time and don’t avoid the difficult ones. Tick the goals off your list once you’ve accomplished them and congratulate yourself every time you manage to finish something. Remember to review goals regularly and reassess what is really important and what can wait until after the busy weeks. A good way to set appropriate, achievable goals is to make them SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely).

Who can you delegate to?
Or who can you ask for help when you need it – both at home and at work. Enlisting a good support system is important at any time of the year. Consider employing seasonal staff if regular employees are away of overwhelmed.

Do you take a time-out?
This is the easiest one – and the hardest one. It’s important to take time out for yourself, and encourage staff to do the same. Some practices are helping to facilitate this by offering yoga classes or in-house massages, or subsidising exercise programs and gym memberships. Maintain a healthy lifestyle and ensure you are getting enough sleep and exercise – fatigue will impact on your ability to work productively and exercising is a great way to combat stress. This means also means not bringing the stresses of the office into your home. Create a boundary between work time and personal time, for your benefit and the benefit of those around you.