Below are the episode show notes and transcript. Some episode transcripts have been edited more than others, but they are up in the meantime to help those who would rather read and for searchability on the web. Extensive editing has not been prioritized as I seek to both produce regular content and maintain my own wellness. Enjoy!

Show Notes

Less is more. Really you’re telling me that time away from work actually makes me a better doctor? A better person?

Check out this episode to hear more about how time off is good for you personally and professionally…
• Take your time off
• Prioritize experiences
• Find your restorative time

Today’s sponsor…The MedEdWell Financial Resources page. Whether you need disability insurance, a student loan consult a CME course or helping know whether you need to Fire Your Financial Advisor, head on over to


Less is more. Really you’re telling me that time away from work actually makes me a better doctor? A better person? Stay tuned for the rest of today’s episode. To hear more about how time off is good for you personally and professionally. Welcome to the MedEdWell podcast, where physicians get empowered to take the next step in their wellness, personally, professionally and financially. I’m your host, Dr. Ryan Stegink, a practicing general pediatrician and online entrepreneur. I want to welcome you to another episode of the MedEdWell podcast. I’m so glad you’re joining me. I’m so thankful for all the reviews, all the encouraging words, all the messaging and likes on social media. And I just can’t wait to share with you a new episode, talking all about how time off can make you a better physician at one level. It seems interesting to be talking about how not doing your job helps you with doing your job, but really this is part of wellness.

How’s my time at the clinic? at the hospital? Caring for patients really impact who you are as a person and your ability to recharge and be ready to go, or another shift. Another clinic session, another day on call. So I invite you to join me for the rest of today’s episode and hear more about how this has been true in my life and how it might be something that you can take and apply on your own. Before we dive into the rest of today’s episode, let’s hear about today’s sponsor. So today’s episode is supported by the MedEdWell financial resources page. It’s a collection of some of the best resources that either I’ve used personally or had an opportunity to look into. And so whether you need disability insurance, a student loan consult a CME course or helping know whether you need to fire your financial advisor or just reevaluate kind of your interactions, or maybe another of the white coat investor courses, head on over to forward slash financial resources where the affiliate links help support MedEdWell at no additional cost to you. All right now, back to the rest of today’s episode.

So we’re talking about time off time away from work. PTO, paid time off, could be any number of these terms. And I’m going to talk through three things that kind of help you understand what does this look like for you and how do you need to be approaching things? So you may have heard of some physicians maybe working so hard that they really wanted to send their family on vacation, but they felt so trapped that they had to keep working while their family went on that trip or they weren’t able to meet their other financial goals. So I want you to see these three things. And if they’re done in the context of planning for your other financial priorities and having that margin that we talked about in previous episodes how they can really help support your wellness personally and professionally, the first point is I want you to take it all, take all of your time available, take it off each year, or maybe a longer period of time.

You may have a certain number of days off, or if you have to schedule a certain number of shifts, say you’re a hospitalist or an EM physician. Maybe you have a certain amount of shifts you have to schedule each quarter. I want you to think about, okay, what are, what are my responsibilities and what am I entitled to not be at work? You need to know your policy again, how much, how much time, time off you have whether it’s prorated, maybe you only work 0.8 FTE. Does your time off scale accordingly? Does it change when you get to a certain threshold and whether you’re considered part-time, then you need to know, hen, when to request it, you need to know, okay, if they’re scheduling your patients out three months, do they need to know two to three months in advance? What your time off is?

And also whether you’re able to cash it out at a certain point your employer may allow that they may say, no, you can’t cash it out, but you can use it in this timeframe, you may be able to roll it over. But the biggest thing to know is that you’ve earned it. So if you’re employed, paid time off is a benefit. Something that’s kind of included in what you get for working for that particular employer. For those of you who are self-employed have your own solo practice or a 1099 contractor, you may have to just look at what is your financial situation for the year or whatever period of time you’re looking at. You may have to say, Hey, I’m earning X amount of dollars. And if I spread 10 months of working that, for the course of the whole year, that helps cover my expenses.

It just maybe a smaller amount that I’m losing. It’s not necessarily that you’re losing money. A lot of it’s your perspective and mindset. I’m sure you’re not working for those two months, but if you are investing that in yourself and rest and your wellness,that may be the most valuable thing that you can do with that time. So a big part of it is just saying, Hey, what’s my financial literacy, what’s my margin. Am I able to do that? And so it may be a little bit, moe complicated, to ay, Hey, this is what I expect to make in terms of my work RVU in terms of my visits, in terms of the amount of, collctions that I bring in, but maybe it’s worth it to say, Hey, I just need to sit down and take a look at what am I actually earning here then for those of you who have, that ime off and again, even if you’re self-employed, it’s aout tracking it.

So whether it’s saying, Hey, I have four or five weeks off a year when am I going to allocate them? How many do I have left? Do I have to use them for my holidays? If it’s you’re self-employed and you have to say, Hey, these are my finances. This is how much time that I can afford to take off with the margin that I have. And then you have to be proactive. Like I said, maybe there’s a certain policy. How often call is divvied up. You just got to look at it and then plan to be able to take it all. You don’t want there to be some that’s left at the end of the year, that goes away because it doesn’t roll over. So first point again is to take all of your available time off. This is more of the how to in 0.1, but points two and three are going to be more of a big picture of what’s going to fill that time off.

So, first of all, we had take it all, take all of your time off second. I want to encourage you to prioritize experiences. That life is more than stuff, more than just things to accumulate. And it’s important to have people in your life, whether that’s friends, family, a significant other people that you can share experiences and memories with growing up, I went on a number of family vacations. My immediate family, we did lots of camping. We did a lot of driving vacations and I have great memories of going to Northern Wisconsin, going to Northern Michigan,going camping out and the Western parts of, olorado and Wyoming, the Tetons Yellowstone, cing back through Mount Rushmore, a it happened on the third or 4th of July and getting to see fireworks, those were amazing experiences. In addition to having family time, I found it valuable, loking back to have experiences where my family and I had opportunities to serve others.

When I was in high school and college, my family took a couple trips to Mexico with a few other families to help build houses for families in need. And we had a great time learned about swinging a hammer and doing some installation. I’m not proficient in those by any means, but I had a great time and made some great memories and we’d go to the market on the last day there. And even once it snowed a couple inches, which was my record, then another time that was really valuable for,just looking at some of these experiences was between residency and attending, etween jobs. I took about two and a half, three weeks off, and yeah, I didn’t make money for those three weeks, but it was great to have the time to have some of these experiences, ad drove around the number of the Western national parks from Rocky mountain to arches and Zion and Bryce grand canyon.

It was an amazing time. Even more recently, I had the opportunity to go to Hawaii with my wife. My daughter was with both sets of grandparents. I took great care of her, and we just had a once in a lifetime experience. We’d saved up. We had the financial margin and we’re still hitting our other goals, but being able to hike Waimea canyon to take a boat cruise along the Nepali coast, hlicopter tour, seeing sunrises and sunsets, tutles dolphins. It was incredible. I wouldn’t trade that for anything. So your experiences may look different based on your priorities, you finances, your seasons of life, or available time off any prior commitments you have. So experiences for you in the season could be a weekend getaway to a neighboring state or an event locally that you want to attend. Wellness is going to look different for each of us, but this time that you have a way, whether it’s just a day, an afternoon, a week or longer, this is time for you to invest, to invest in experiences and to invest in yourself.

So first, when we’re looking at time off, I want you to take all of your time. I want you to prioritize experiences. And then third, I want you to find restorative time. You have to figure out what makes time off restorative for you. So vacations are great, especially if you can save up and it’s not a financial strain, but maybe a staycation with time alone to read and reflect to go for a hike is important to you. Or maybe it’s just me being the introvert. Maybe it looks different for you. Is it going to the beach or the mountains, maybe a city with events and people, or is it somewhere out in nature? One of the big things that you’ll have to look at in finding that restorative time is slowing down.

So I’ll have a later episode on slowing down and the pace of things in medicine, but it’s important personally, as well. So burnout involves emotional exhaustion. You need to find your anti exhaustion things, those life giving things sure. Self care, nutrition, exercise, sleep. Those are really important. The time off, whether experiences additional sleep, time for exercise and whatever else that is restorative for you. I want you to prioritize that. So for me, having time, while in Hawaii that share, we did a number of those fun experiences, but having time to just sit by the pool at the hotel, we stayed at to just look out at the water, to see a sunset, to just chill. That was really life giving for me, really restorative.

So first I want you to take all of your time off second. I want you to prioritize experiences. Third. I want it to be restorative time for you. So what’s in it for you. How do you need to think about this? How do you need to make a change? I want you to consider your next step and how time off fits into your wellness. When is that next long weekend for you? What trip do you want to save up for or prioritize in the next 12, 15, 18 months, start putting those things down on paper so that you can say, Hey, I can do this and I want to do this. And this will be good for me, for my family, for my medical practice, because it will mean that I have the margin to be a whole person who says I can’t do it all. I need to take my time off. I need to prioritize experiences and this time off needs to be restorative.

Thanks so much for joining me here. On another episode of the MedEdWell podcast, please subscribe, leave a review and share with a friend, a colleague, another doc, someone in your office who needs to hear this, that needs to hear. They need to take their time off. And it’s okay to step back and say, I need this time away in order to be present, to be fully who I am as a physician and a person. Thanks so much for joining me and have a great day.