The Real Reason for Stress and Burnout

Someone once commented that the only stress free state is when you are dead. It is my belief however that most of us would prefer to be stress free in this lifetime!

The current idea of “learning how to live with it”, while intellectually clever, is not one that we can readily accept or should even give in to. Not too many years ago, attendance at workshops on a host of stress management techniques was a popular answer to this problem. As time has passed, those techniques have faded into dim memory but stress lives on.

The vast majority of the solutions offered for stress management have not worked well, particularly the most popular one – getting away from it all to the pink sands of Bermuda. Have you ever noticed that two or three days after that well-deserved vacation, you feel like you haven’t had one? There’s a very specific reason for that.

After consulting with more than 1,300 practices over the past twenty years, I have confirmed that the single biggest reason for stress in a practice, or in life for that matter, is number of boxes on your TO DO list that have not been completed and ticked off as done.

Recognizing that a task needs to be done and putting it on the TO DO list is the first step, but then there must be carry through to actually GET IT DONE. Some people are good at putting things on the list but never get them finished, while others (the procrastinators!) never even get the list made (except in their head), let alone actually completing it.

You as the practice owner spend some of your valuable time (maybe a lot) wondering and worrying if things are getting done and, if they are, are they getting done satisfactorily. So now you as both the practice owner and veterinarian have double the number of things on your mind. No wonder so many practice owners have said to me, “I just want to be the veterinarian”.

In a practice, there are literally hundreds tasks, big and small, that you and your staff have to remember not to forget each day. That takes mental and physical energy. Now multiply that by five days. Is it any wonder that by Friday evening you and your team are completely exhausted? Now add to that the unfinished tasks being carried forward from past weeks and months. Can you see how this causes eventual burnout?

To clean up this mess and free up a lot of your mental and physical energy, make up a list of all of the past and current items that need doing in your practice. For example, the staff problems, revamping the recall system, the unwritten marketing program that needs writing, etc. etc. Now complete these one by one starting with the easiest one. You will feel an immense release and a renewed energy level, I guarantee it!

Remember, it is NOT what you got DONE that stresses you, it’s what you DIDN’T get done!!

Sometimes you don’t start or finish an action because you don’t know what to do or how to do it. In that case, you probably could use some additional management skills to make your life easier. Give us a call for REAL solutions for ANY aspect of practice management. All of the technical and administrative staff at The Art of Management are here to help you.
Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to The Art of Management Inc. and a clickable link back to this page.

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