Living Life Intentionally and Fully…Not Burnt Out
By Hokehe E Effiong MD, MPH, FAAP.

As physicians, there is so much conversation about the seemingly elusive work-life balance. We work long hard hours and give our best to our patients. But also very easily can feel depleted and uncared for ourselves. I have discovered that to live life fully with both work and family responsibilities, it must be done intentionally. Here are 4 time tested principles that help me live life intentionally daily:

1. You are not defined by your job:
I am a whole person not only a pediatrician, and intentionally work to develop other interests outside of medicine. Thinking about my priorities daily helps me to remain centered and focused. Oprah says that, “the whole point of being alive is to evolve into the whole person you were meant to be”.

2. Choose to smile and be positive:
It can be so tempting to stay on the negative and not remember the blessings of being alive. Do not neglect the people you love. Give as many hugs as you can to your family/children daily, life is so fleeting. Eat at least one meal daily with your family or with a friend.
As Maddie Jenkins says,” Live life to the Fullest, it only happens once.

3. Learn to say No firmly, gracefully and without regrets:
Ask yourself this question, is doing this going to make me spend less time with my family or make me wish I was home with them. If yes, then gracefully say no thanks.
“It is only by saying no that you can concentrate on the things that are really important”- Steve Jobs.

4. Schedule days off regularly, to unwind, refresh and reprioritize.
It is important to take time for yourself without feeling guilty.
Challenge yourself to make one small change daily. Life balance is a daily process, be intentional, do not be too hard on yourself. Leadership Expert, John Maxwell says that, “though not everything we face can be changed, nothing can be changed until we face it”.


Dr. Hokehe Effiong is the OKAAP Early Career Physician (ECP) Representative and a Board Certified Pediatrician practicing general pediatrics at Jackson County Memorial Hospital (JCMH) in Altus. The role of the Chapter ECP Representative is to help improve communication between the Chapter and AAP on ECP issues and also serves as a valuable resource for Early Career Physicians. She can be reached at