Balancing the scales

If work sits on one end of the scale and life sits on the other, you should be sitting somewhere in the middle.

Jul 19th, 2016

Rick Workman, DMD

If work sits on one end of the scale and life sits on the other, you should be sitting somewhere in the middle. However, most people find themselves tipping the scale, usually in favor of work. For dentists, this can be especially true. Work-life balance often seems elusive. Is it really possible to manage a successful career while maintaining a satisfying personal life? The answer is yes. But, how?

The dictionary defines balance in three ways:

1. The state of having your weight spread equally so that you do not fall.

2. The ability to move or to remain in a position without losing control or falling.

3. A state in which different things occur in equal or proper amounts or have an equal or proper amount of importance.

The general consensus I see from those definitions is that if you aren't achieving balance, you're probably falling and/or losing control of something, and that's not healthy. In the rush to get it all done, you're causing your stress level to spike and productivity to plummet. Stress affects our immune systems and brain functions, puts a strain on our personal and professional relationships, and alters our moods. Finding that balance between work and life can help eliminate some of the stress you experience on a daily basis. It can make you feel happier and more productive in your career, as well as in your personal life. If you can learn to set limits, you can achieve the work-life balance that's best for you.

If your personal life is getting in the way of your work:

• Clear your mind.

• Set daily goals for yourself.

• Be efficient with your time.

• Take a break.

• Learn to say "no" in a "yes" way.

• Leave work at work.

If your work is getting in the way of your personal life:

• Unplug at home.

• Take time for yourself.

• Enjoy your weekends.

• Get enough sleep.

• Stay active.

• Ask for support.

When I began my career in the dental industry, I was spending 50+ hours a week in the office and an additional 25-30 hours outside of work on the business side of things. I was burned out, and I knew other dental professionals were experiencing mass amounts of stress too. I knew there had to be a solution.

As stated in previous articles, Heartland Dental was created based off my need for a work-life balance. Finding that balance allowed me to regain control of my life, and today I'm passionate about helping dental professionals realize they can take control of their lives too.


Rick Workman, DMD, is the founder of Heartland Dental. After practicing full-time, Dr. Workman created Heartland Dental, a world-class dental support organization offering nonclinical, administrative services to supported dentists. Heartland Dental has more than 750 supported dental offices in 33 states. Dr. Workman may be reached at rworkman@heartland.com.

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