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The Secrets to a Better Work-Life Balance for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Owners

September 7, 2021

Juggling time between the pharmacy and your personal life may often seem impossible. Running a pharmacy and taking care of your patients is never a nine-to-five job.

But you don’t have to choose between having a successful business and having a satisfying personal life.

While the business is likely your top priority, it’s important to remember to take time for yourself. In fact, a little R&R might even improve your productivity at work.

Learn the secrets to striking the right balance between your time at the pharmacy and at home.

Invest in the right tools

Make the time you spend at the pharmacy as enjoyable as possible by investing in the right tools and technology for the job.

Things like the right shoes for standing all day or a sit-stand desk that lets you get off your feet when you need to can make your day much more comfortable.

Technology is also an asset for preventing burnout. If you’re spending a large portion of the day futzing with the computer, it might be time to upgrade your pharmacy management system. Or invest in equipment that makes your workflow more efficient, like an automated will call, an IVR phone system, or pharmacy robotics.

Delegate when possible

It can be easy to feel like the weight of the world (or pharmacy) is on your shoulders, but remember — you have an entire team of staff members to back you up.

When your schedule starts to feel overwhelming, take the opportunity to delegate to your pharmacy team.

Delegating tasks will help you lighten your workload, but it’s also good for your pharmacy staff, too. It helps them develop new skills and build their confidence in the workplace.

When you delegate frequently, you’ll be able to distribute the pharmacy workload more evenly across your team members and create a healthier and less stressful work environment.

Your ability to delegate and relax depends on the quality of your managers. Hire and train up great managers you trust to run the important parts of your business.

Don’t be afraid to say “no”

One of the best tools you have to protect your personal time is the word “no.”

You may feel bad refusing people’s requests, but it’s critical to say no every once in a while to get your high-priority work done and still have time left over for yourself.

There are certain circumstances where you can’t say no — specifically when it comes to pharmacy tasks that affect your patients’ health and safety. But if you’re invited to take part in a community event or speak at a local pharmacy school, don’t automatically accept. Consider declining the invitation if you’re feeling overworked already or send another pharmacy employee in your place.

Set boundaries

When you spend 40 or more hours a week at the pharmacy, your weekends and evenings are sacred time. Do whatever you can to prevent work problems from seeping in.

Clearly communicate your off-hours boundaries to your staff members. Tell them, “I won’t be checking my email or answering work-related calls while I’m at home.” Have a contingency plan ready for the rare work emergency, but otherwise, set the expectation that you aren’t available outside of regular work hours.

This attitude also benefits your employees. If you are modeling a healthy separation between work and home, it will encourage them to disconnect and do the same.

Don’t skip your workout

When you’re exhausted from your workday, skipping your trip to the gym probably seems like an easy way to relax. But exercising regularly can actually alleviate stress and help take your mind off of work.

Be intentional about blowing off steam by heading to a yoga class or going for a run in your neighborhood. There’s even evidence that exercising outdoors has an even greater beneficial effect on mental health than exercising at a gym.

Develop a hobby

If you find that you can’t stop thinking about your workday long after you’ve left the pharmacy, it may be time to pick up a new hobby (or restart one you abandoned).

Research shows employees with hobbies are:


Hobbies can help engage your mind in something that isn’t work-related. Whether it’s finishing that crocheted scarf or learning the basics of woodworking, hobbies can bring you a sense of gratification and accomplishment that’s completely separate from your job as a pharmacist.

Start with small changes

If you’re used to giving 110 percent at the pharmacy every single day, truly taking your mind off work will probably be a challenge. After all, your independent community pharmacy is successful for a reason — because you take the time to properly care for it.

Still, taking the time to focus on yourself ensures that you have the right energy to focus on your business.

Start by making small adjustments. Take a quick walk during the day or get out of the pharmacy during the lunch hour. You may be surprised at the difference a little “you time” can make.

Prioritize your personal life

Dealing with patients, finances, and planning for your pharmacy’s future can often take precedence over other matters in your life. But it’s important to carve out time for your personal life.

Scheduling time to complete chores and errands can help alleviate stress during busier weeks at work. And you’ll have more free time after work if you’ve already completed your least favorite errands.

Don’t forget that your family is your biggest support system. You wouldn’t be able to run your business without people to lean on. Make time in your schedule for a family dinner or weekend excursion. Both you and your family will appreciate the time spent outside the pharmacy.

Make the most of your work hours

One thing you can’t buy is time, so be sure to use yours wisely. Learning how to properly manage your time can help boost your productivity. When you’ve accomplished everything on your to-do list, you can have peace of mind when you go home for the day.

Here are some tips to be more productive:



A Member-Owned Organization Serving Independent Pharmacies 

PBA Health is dedicated to helping independent pharmacies reach their full potential on the buy side of their business. The company is a member-owned organization that serves independent pharmacies with group purchasing services, expert contract negotiations, proprietary purchasing tools, distribution services, and more.

An HDA member, PBA Health operates its own NABP-accredited (formerly VAWD) warehouse with more than 6,000 SKUs, including brands, generics, narcotics CII-CV, cold-storage products, and over-the-counter (OTC) products.

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