“A lot of times you feel that work doesn’t care about you. ‘I’m just doing the grind, and what for? I’m missing out on my family and my life…” — Stanford ER physician Greg Gilbert

Greg, like many folks in academics was feeling the grind of medicine, research, administrative load, mentoring, teaching and child and home care. Self-care was a non-starter. Stanford recognized that Gilbert was one of a growing body of physicians and researchers they were losing to burn out. But what really got traction was when former medical dean Phillip Pizzo noticed his physician daughter was unable to focus on writing and doing research because of family demands. The numbers supported Pizzo’s concerns. Burn out was higher in women and they were pulling more service duties at work and at home…a double whammy.

The results of Stanford’s intervention are highlighted in the Washington Post this week. What surprised the administrative task forced charged with improving quality of life for their weary faculty the most was policies were in place to avoid this very thing. There were ample opportunities for parental leave, adoption leave, sabbaticals and other job sharing options. Yet no one was using them.

Stanford hired Jump to trail the busy faculty members and find out what kinds of things they needed most. And through an innovative time-sharing program that credits activities like mentoring, covering shifts on short notice and committee service earned credits to use on pre-made meals, grant help, and other home help like maid service.

Pilot participants submitted 22 grant proposals with the help of time-bank credits.

Forty-one percent were approved, for a total of $10 million, a higher success rate than for the general Stanford population.

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Stanford Hacks that Helped – Adapted for the Rest of Us:

Blue Apron – for $60/week you will get three meals that are prepped and ready to cook. You get to have an adult beverage and eat like a champ.

Hire an undergrad or two just for organizing your papers/lab website/bibliographies and making figures. They can set up your lit searches, print papers you need to review. They can load up your mobile devices with PDF and note taking apps. Click that link for our earlier handy how-to guide!

Amazon.com Amazon Prime membership means that in 48 hours you can have all the glitter you need for your kids school art projects, replacement socks for the sock thief that lives in your house, delivered for free. You can also have two households on one account …super helpful for divorced parents! They throw in free movies, music and other perks for less than $10 a month.

Care.com will prescreen babysitters, do criminal background checks and allow you to see reviews of other parents. Sort of like Yelp, but for the busy parent. You can hire folks to shuttle your kids to soccer, bring them to you after school, or take them home and grab some milk on the way. Care also offers other services including house cleaning, pet sitting, organizing and all kinds of other good things. Subscription is free/discounted for 3 months then is $20 a month.

Do you have go-to sanity savers you can share??

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