According to a recent snap survey on healthsystemCIO.com, 53% of the CIO respondents were stressed about their work/life balance. The intense pressures of the last two years seem to have made CIO work days longer, and weekends shorter. What I have found is that some CIOs are thriving on these challenges of Meaningful Use, ICD-10 and HIEs and prefer the activity instead of being in “maintenance mode.” But as personal time gets squeezed, other issues and problems, including health issues may occur. So how can you improve your work/life balance as you continue to ride this incredible wave of healthcare IT activity?
CIOs have, for the most part, risen to the occasion in the last two years, as they are challenged for their time, resources and budget. Their weekend days and vacation days may be close to 125 days a year, but many CIOs are working long hours during the week, and then some time on the weekends. Your time is precious and, if you evaluate your activities most days, it falls into three main categories: administrative, personal, and work duties. Keeping track of where your time is being spent may help to plan and prioritize it. Check out online time management courses that may help you in planning your days better.
Backups and Successors
Would having a successor or key number-two person be an answer to help with the increased demands on your workload? According to the majority of the CIO respondents in the SRA 2010 CIO survey report, they did not have a successor or number two in place (56%). Being too busy to do succession planning or other factors, such as not hiring important staff or not reorganizing the IT department, can lead to more headaches and time constraints.
Quality of Life
All of us need to have hobbies or activities that increase our quality of life. I love to bike or horseback ride, oil paint, walk the dogs, travel and read. One of the most important questions I ask candidates is, “What are your hobbies or activities outside of work?” I would be suspicious if a candidate said they had none.
Those that do have answers fall into several categories:
Creative/mental activities such as:
- Painting, crafts
Family activities such as
- Going to sporting games and school activities
- Church and community
Physical activities such as
- Biking (motorcycle/or pedal)
- Working out
So as the summer approaches and work decisions, go-lives, and problems mount, remember to laugh a lot, have a picnic lunch with the staff, or take a 10-minute walk outside, and add balance to your life.