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How to Get More Vacation Time as a Doctor

On Facebook I recently saw a doctor post a picture from her 5 week vacation in Europe. It was a pretty picture. It looked sort of like this one.  But the interesting thing was the comment from another doctor: “5 weeks?? How did you get 5 weeks off?”

At first glance that sounds like a very innocent comment, right? How DO you get 5 weeks off?  Especially as a doctor.

But then I kept reading the comments. There were so many comments from other physicians about their lack of vacation time, being too busy to take vacation, feeling guilty while on vacation, feeling envious of this 5 weeks of vacation time. And on it went.

And so I want to answer this question. Because it took me years to figure this out.  But know I finally know the answer!

Question:
So how do YOU, as a doctor, get 5 weeks of vacation time?

Answer:
You ask for 5 weeks off.
You decide to take 5 weeks off.
You don’t “get” it – someone doesn’t give it to you. You go after it. You make it happen. You create the life (and vacation time) you want.  This is one of those answers that is simple but not easy.

This requires a mind shift. A BIG mind shift.  And this is hard for doctors, really hard.

I get it. It was really hard for me. I’m better at it now. But I still slip into it sometimes if I am not careful.

Start by asking yourself these questions:

What am I hoping someone will give me?

What would make me happy if I suddenly got it?

5 weeks of vacation?
A week off?
No call?
Working 4 days a week?
An evening spent with my family that is not interrupted by work?

What are your answers?

Good to know.

Now stop waiting to be given this and start figuring out how you get this! You give it to you. No one else is going to give it to you, especially if you never ask.

And I am guessing you might be thinking “yeah, but ….”  and automatically listing all the reasons why this is not possible for you.  Those “yeah buts” as I call them, are important.  Write those down.  Those beliefs are the reason you don’t have 5 weeks of vacation.  Or whatever it is that you are wanting and don’t currently have.

Are those “yeah buts” true?  Really?  Are you absolutely sure?  Rather than using your brain to find reasons you can’t have 5 weeks of vacation, ask your brain to find out how you can have those 5 weeks of vacation.  Solve those “yeah buts” and get that vacation time!  Or weekend off.  Or whatever it is that you want and think you cannot have.

And if you need help figuring out how to give yourself what you want, or even figuring out what is it you do want – please email me at sarawdill@gmail.com. This is what I do. I help doctors work less and live more. I have figured this out for me – and I would love to help you figure it out too!