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A Practice Manager's Guide to Work-Life Balance

Every job comes with its unique stresses and pressures, but we know from talking to our members that the role of a GP practice manager can often feel very isolated. That’s why it’s so important to take care of your wellbeing, build peer connections and strike a good work-life balance.

Things have been particularly stressful recently with the pandemic and all the restrictions we’ve had to get used to. Coupled with the demands of primary care regulation, keeping patients happy and ensuring the GP practice building stays upright, it’s understandable that these pressures may sometimes get on top of us. However, it’s isn’t sustainable.

Finding ways to switch off from work

If you are constantly feeling under pressure, find it difficult to switch off from work or seem to be drowning in paperwork, there are ways of achieving a better work-life balance. With one in four of us likely to experience a mental health problem, it’s never been more important to ensure our wellbeing is protected.

One way of disconnecting from work is literally ‘switching off’. The constant stream of notifications from our phones can make it difficult to truly relax, so consider having set times when you turn off your devices altogether. It may not always be possible, but making an active choice not to check work emails when we’re off duty helps us separate our personal and professional lives.


Managing your time 

A common issue we hear about from PMs is the amount of time spent dealing with paperwork. On those days where everyone has something that requires your urgent attention, good time management means understanding the difference between what is ‘important’ and what is ‘urgent’. Using an Eisenhower Matrix is a great way to balance the demands of an overflowing inbox.

In 2019, FPM explored a host of wellbeing tips for PMs including taking part in park runs which are now beginning to restart after the recent restrictions. When you sign up for a park run, possibly with friends of colleagues, it’s a fantastic opportunity to enjoy exercising and socialising. If you’re less keen on that amount of exertion, a recent study suggested you don’t even have to get out of breath to see positive effects on your wellbeing – simply spending more time outdoors is equivalent to taking a ‘nature pill’ that lowers stress levels.
Making use of your support networks

Mindfulness is something we hear a lot about, and it simply means finding time to take a step out of our busy lives and take stock of our feelings and surroundings.  Did you know FPM members can download a Mental Health in the Workplace document from our dedicated Toolkit section?

We all face different stresses both at home and in the workplace, and the most important thing is not to go through anything alone. Make use of support networks such as friends or family, or if things are truly getting too much at work, broach the situation with someone at the practice who could help you find more practical solutions – there is always someone you can talk to.

Please share your tips for creating a good work-life balance in the comments section below, and don’t forget that FPM members can use our FPM Connect group  to discuss ways of coping with pressing issues in primary care and addressing work-related stresses.


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Practice Manager - London

Closing Date: 9 October 2021

Salary: £40,000 to £55,000 a year depending on experience

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