Dr Alastair Ireland’s top five tips for Making Life Work Better

The latest wellbeing recommendations for making healthcare professionals’ life work better comes from Dr Alastair Ireland. Alastair is a Consultant in Emergency Medicine at Glasgow Royal Infirmary and Clinical Lead, Realistic Medicine at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

Dr Alastair Ireland’s top five tips for Making Life Work Better

The latest wellbeing recommendations for making healthcare professionals’ life work better comes from Dr Alastair Ireland. Alastair is a Consultant in Emergency Medicine at Glasgow Royal Infirmary and Clinical Lead, Realistic Medicine at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

1. Manage Time

When offered a new project or role, ask: what will I give up. Unless we are actively looking to increase our responsibilities, I’d suggest that we should ‘change our role’ rather than ‘adding a role’. Otherwise we do both the previous and new roles a disservice – and stress ourselves into the bargain. But whatever we do, what we mustn’t give up is our own personal or family time to a new role. Remember saying yes to one thing means saying no to something else.

2. Leadership

It’s important for the team to trust that their leader will support them when things go wrong so they should be encouraged to make decisions and plans safe in this  knowledge. Seniority and leadership is about responsibility and accountability, but similarly a leader has to trust the team rather than scrutinising every decision.

3. People might be stressed

Remember that people who are rude are often stressed. Don’t get upset. Do the right thing. When it’s appropriate to do so, check if they are alright.

4. Play to people’s strengths

Some people don’t fit well into teams. There is a danger that they will be shunned by the group. But everyone has a talent or skill. Find what people love doing and try to incorporate that into their role. Play to people’s strengths, rather than criticise their weaknesses. Some people who think differently have amazing skills. Abraham Lincoln said ‘I don’t like that man. I must get to know him.’

5. Don’t check your emails when you’re off

Being constantly at the mercy of emails and messages is a major stressor and disruptor. I think former US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s advice is very wise. He said ‘if you’re working from your inbox, you’re working to other people’s priorities’. It’s quite easy on a smart phone to temporarily disable work emails: go to ‘Settings / accounts / mail’ and I’d definitely toggle work account mail to ‘off’ when you go on holiday.

In case you missed any of our previous tips and advice, you can read these on our website:

Professor Michael West’s top tips

Dr David Caesar’s top tips

Professor Peter Brennan’s top ten tips

Simon Fleming’s top tips for Making Life Work Better


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