It’s an interesting subject that we’ve studied extensively over the years. Our research shows that doctors benefit from taking time off. We discovered that the number of days worked per week significantly affected diagnosis per day, with a drop in productivity after four days of work. To combat this, we recommended taking Fridays off. 

Additionally, we found that diagnosis per day started to decline between six and eight weeks after the last vacation, which we termed “diagnosis fatigue syndrome.” It’s a phenomenon where fatigue can lead to a reluctance to recommend treatment. We also considered the stages of productivity, from a productive phase after a vacation to a mechanical phase, and finally, burnout.

We encourage doctors to shift their perspective, viewing time off as preparation for effectiveness rather than just a reward for hard work. Doctors should monitor their own productive phases, recognizing when they enter the mechanical phase or burnout. Ideally, doctors should aim for between six and 12 weeks of time off per year, with some even taking an entire month off annually.

The key is finding the right balance between work and time off for maximum effectiveness.