Time for “Joy”: A Cure for Physician Burnout

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Time for “Joy”: A Cure for Physician Burnout

“Physician burnout” is characterized by emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and a diminished sense of accomplishment.

Studies show that money doesn’t produce happiness, but despite the evidence we often assume the opposite. “Affluence” usually relates to financial well-being, but there also exists “time affluence” - the sense of having plenty of time.

Time and money are seen as equivalent commodities. “Time is money,” and we can spend, save and waste them both. However, there’s a crucial difference between the two: money is elastic, and you can theoretically accumulate an infinite amount. Time, however, is intrinsically inelastic. Despite their wealth, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet get the same 24 hours in a day as you and I.

With this in mind, perhaps we should focus more on pursuing time affluence rather than financial affluence. It’s a given that we all have to work (unless we come from money or win the lottery).  But, the time we have left after our workday should be carefully prioritized.

Marie Kondo, the “decluttering guru” and Netflix phenomenon, says to hold on only to things that “bring joy.” As I near retirement, I’ve avoided physician burnout because I’ve made sure to do something every day that does just that. I would encourage you to decide what that joy means for you, and to dedicate time for it every day.  

Jeffrey M. Nakano, MD
[email protected]

DISCLAIMER: Statements of fact and opinion are the responsibility of the authors alone and do not imply an opinion or endorsement on the part of the officers or the members of WOA unless such opinion or endorsement is specifically stated. Materials may be reproduced only if Touches and the Western Orthopaedic Association are credited.

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