Doctor - It's Your Own Life

The time to start planning the trajectory of your life is now. Consider identifying your plan by sitting down and writing your obituary.

What would you want it to say? Start planning your life from the perspective of a family, work-life balance, and personal goals. Identify what is important and eliminate all nonessentials as you plan your life. The plan should have a clear focus and perspective that evolves from a conscious decision about how you will spend your time on this earth. There must be careful consideration of others and oneself. The development of a plan is akin to writing your own life story. We must create time to escape and explore all the questions and possibilities that make up our life’s decisions. This focus must be similar to how our eyes focus: not a fixation on one object, but a constant adjustment and adaptation to the field of vision so we can carefully consider the impact of all possibilities. This is more and more difficult in our over-stimulated world. The paradox is that the faster and busier things become, the more important it is that we take time to build time into our day for focused thinking. The noisier things become the more important it is that we build in reflection time so we can identify the signals amongst the noise of daily life. This thinking space allows us to reflect on the big picture: where we are and where we are going with family, work, and personal choices. In the chaos of the modern world and work place with many demands pulling us in multiple directions, it is more important than ever to resist distraction and remain focused on the essentials of our life. It is imperative that you protect your assets such as your health and emotional tranquility. Sleep is a priority; it promotes creativity and allows for the highest level of mental and physical function.

Learn to be selective, explicit, and systematic in how you spend your time. Eliminate all things that are not essential to you. Learning to say no is critical to high performance. Identify where you can maximize your use of time and energy—this allows you to live with your intent. Setting boundaries allows you to limit the noise of others and have the time to pursue your dreams. Remove all obstacles that interfere with your global plan for your family, your friends, and your work. Focus on the present, tuning into what is important and enjoying the moment.

This is your life and it is up to you to do it your way.  Invest in your future.

Action Steps:

  • Become an essentialist
  • Learn the necessary intelligences
  • Understand the importance of mental and physical health
  • Put your family first
  • Make sure you have a life-long learning curve
  • Be a fiduciary—always put patients first
  • Respect and develop the healthcare team
  • Understand the concepts where law and medicine intersect
  • Understand the importance of preventive healthcare
  • Give back to the community
  • Make your defining feature generativity—the concern for establishing and guiding the next generation

Excerpt from:  Physician – Time to Invest in Yourself:  Work-Life Balance, the Needs of the Patient, and Medical-Legal Risk Management by Tim Paterick, MD and Elizabeth Ngo, MD.

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