Most days there is just far too much to get done. If only there were more hours in the day!!
You know you have to get started on some really boring tasks but once again the day goes by and they just don’t get done.
The art of procrastination is alive and well. The longer the task is put off the more it seems to resemble something like a load and the load seems to get heavier and heavier the more you think about making a start. Where is the load inside you? Close your eyes for a moment and imagine being able to lift it out and hold it in your hand (or hands if it’s very big!) With this load in your hand, what does it look like? What colour is it? What is the texture? How big is it? Does it make any sound? Can you make it smaller, much smaller; softer; lighter colour; lighter in itself?
Can you make it small enough to blow it away?
OK now tell yourself it’s time to decide on the very first step of the task you are delaying.
Perhaps some tips to add to your time management skills could also be useful?
By the way if you haven’t got a kindle ‘More time for you now is available as a printed book too
When I’ve written about setting goals, I’ve emphasized how important it is to break the big goal, into smaller do-able steps, because sometimes you can live with an intention about something and be daunted by the size of the task. By breaking it into manageable steps it becomes much easier to move forward step by step to achieve your goal. As you complete the steps it’s useful if they are written on a chart and ticked once completed.
But so many people when asked why they haven’t done what they said they would do, answer with ‘I’ve been too busy’ ‘I’ll get around to it, one of these days’ and so on. There are a hundred and one reasons and excuses for not actually doing something. If you’ve followed the suggestion about small steps and still haven’t taken the action, perhaps the step you chose was still too big. Break it down to something even smaller. Ask yourself, ‘what has to happen before I can this or that?’
Ask yourself too if your stated goal is the right goal. A common reason for procrastinating is that you aren’t passionate about achieving your stated goal! What are you passionate about and have you the same feelings about what you say you want to do?
If you are passionate about the vision you have, and about the goals you have set out to achieve, then you have to just do it. This is the tag line used by Nike and I love it. It’s simple and to the point. Too often in a culture of having to ‘get approval’ from someone else, we lose the impetus to ‘just do it’ If you want something done, if you feel strongly about something, if you notice something which needs doing, if you hear about a problem which you can solve then just do it.
Take the steps which need to be taken, contact the people who need to be contacted. Tell others that you are going to do what you are going to do, then just do it.
Sometimes this will involve you changing a long-term habit, and that might be difficult. You, like everyone, are a creature of habits. But these can be changed. Before you go for the big ones, try changing a habit or two unrelated to your goal. For example, eat something different for breakfast, take a different route to your destination, wear a different style of clothes, whatever you want, but change something each day!
Then you will find that when it comes to the first step it will be so much easier to make progress.
It’s not uncommon for doctors just like you to feel dissatisfied with their life.
You like them may think there is little you could do to improve the situation and may be blaming ‘the system’ for most of your frustrations at work.
Yet you are becoming increasingly aware of how these spill over into your home life and social life too. You find that Medicine takes so much of your waking hours that you have little energy left for the few hours left each day when you are supposed to be living the rest of life. The whole concept of work-life balance may seem an impossible dream.
You know you want something to be different but are not quite sure what you really want, when you would like the change to happen, why you want to change, who might be able to help you or how to make the changes you want to make.
So there’s the challenge. Can you make the shift from thinking about how frustrated and unhappy you are to changing your life to be more in line with the way you want it to be.?
Is this just a pipe-dream or could it actually be possible to make changes which would improve your life in some ways so at least some of the frustrating parts wouldn’t overwhelm you so much and more of your time could be spent following more enjoyable pursuits with people you want to spend the time of day with?
Having a more balanced life and finding time to do more of what you want to do is possible. When you start to examine what’s happening and the reasons for it you can begin to find that there are things that can be changed quite simply.
The easiest first step is to pick just one thing that annoys you. Ask yourself what could happen instead for things to improve for you. Then challenge your assumptions about the situation. Ask if it really has to be that way and what small thing has to change to make a difference to you. Which of your boundaries have to change? Who will you tell that you will no longer so such and such?
As you tease out the situation in this way you are very likely to find a very simple change that would make a difference to your working practice.
You have to take courage in your hands and talk to the person involved. For example tell the person who makes the appointments you are not prepared to see any extra. Doing this will enable you to leave earlier, have time for a swim or meet your children from school or whatever else you want to do if you went home earlier than you do now.
In my experience the most common issue that doctors want to discuss with me is:
Wanting more balance in their lives.
Coaching around work-life balance tends to include discussing time management as well as self-care, and the meaning of success. As a Coach I encourage my medical clients to recognise how vital it is that they have a life outside of medicine. They don’t always fully understand the concept that there is more to life than medicinebecause there is so much pressure to pass exams in order to climb their perceived ladder of success.
A doctor’s life can be, and often is, very stressful as well as busy and overwhelming. An internet search for stress, burnout and doctors will bring up hundreds of articles about this common experience amongst doctors.
Working as a doctor is not only challenging and busy but also interesting so most doctors are passionate about medicine. Sometimes both they and others may wonder how they keep going with so much to do and so little time to do it. The work-load can be overwhelming and there seems to be no way to lessen it.
However there are ways that doctors can lead a fuller life so that medicine is fulfilling yet be combined with a satisfying life outside of medicine. With coaching they can discover ways to have more time for family and friends, their partner, their community, and for nurturing themselves body-mind-and-spirit and having fun.
Over the years I’ve found that doctors having a few coaching sessions with me have been able to find ways to move forward and lower their stress levels especially in areas connected with time management, work life balance and their health and well-being.
I’m working towards producing ways that you can improve these parts of your life with information by email and on my web site, yet many doctors (in or out of Medicine) find that one to one personal and confidential coaching offers a way to have a sounding board and be motivated and that the individual attention is something that you can’t get from a generic course aimed at helping many doctors.
If you’ve never experienced how coaching can empower you to make changes and enable you to discover your own solutions then this is for you.
Please go HEREto pay and book for your Personal Strategy session.
Take some time to think about your life and whether it’s the way you want it to be.
Then work out, step by step what you need to do differently.
Always start with yourself because by changing yourself others will respond differently.
One of the most important things you can do is to improve your level of communication by listening twice as much as talking. This will improve the morale within the practice and lead to a new more productive working environment with partners and staff becoming more motivated.
You will find that if you make small changes in the way you work that you can achieve real change for the better both for yourself and for the your medical practice.
Just like a spreadsheet when you change one thing everything else changes too.
It’s easy to stay stuck and not do anything to change the situation. People who have taken steps to do things differently are surprised at how easy it turned out to be. They have procrastinated for ages because they thought taking the first step would be more difficult.
Make the decision about what you need to do, find someone such as a coach or mentor to support you and go forward to live the life you want.
Part of looking after yourself is about finding the right person to support you through some difficult decisions.
A huge leap out of your comfort zone is making the first contact with a coach: it may seem as though you are admitting not being able to find the way forward yourself.
Not at all: contacting a coach is about recognising what you need at this time and also deciding it’s time to do the things you’ve been dithering about for so long.
Perhaps you’ve procrastinated because you want to be sure it will be the right decision. Can we ever know what is the right decision? Unless you have a go at the things you really want to do, how can you ever know whether its will be right or wrong for you? Go for it!! It’s important to do something and then if need be change direction as needed.
The value of working with a coach is unquantifiable: after just a few sessions you will make huge leaps in what you think, do and believe about yourself and start to do things you’ve been stuck about for a long time.
This is what a recent client (consultant physician) emailed me after a few weeks coaching from me:
While at first, phone calls and e-mails seemed a funny way to discuss such personal matters, it really works. When I feel in danger of becoming a ‘I hate my job’ bore with my friends – I can tell you instead! Somehow you helped me to lift my head up above the endless cycle of asking myself the same questions over and over again, and help me to take control over my decisions. I think that you have helped me to gain a lot of confidence in myself over the last few months, and have helped me to do my work a lot better. While ultimately the decision is mine, it is lovely to have your support and encouragement. It is important to me that you are independent ,with no ‘angle’ on my decision, unlike my husband and parents (who would prefer me to continue in my work but are coming round to the idea that they would like me to be happy.) The hardest thing that you have started is to help me face up to uncertainty about the future. Well, if my boss seems happy to do that – he seems confident that he would be able to fill my job, then I should be. I find his confidence in his ability to replace me a little unnerving!
Sometimes you realise that something has to change in your life:Coaching can be the catalyst you need!
I’m coaching an established Consultant who works in a well known NHS trust.
With his permission, I want to tell you what he has found useful about having coaching with me.
He contacted me because he wanted support and encouragement to develop a private medical practice.
He found that I: listened patiently to his career ambitions which included a detailed discussion of how he could develop a private practice.
He writes: We discussed numerous issues including: work-life balance, ideal working day, impact on family life and money. The solution to the development of the practice has emerged gradually over a number of sessions. The main solution has been encouragement to push forward boldly, and to understand that a contented working life is not a selfish ambition but one that can result in benefits for all stake-holders (e.g. patients, colleagues, family) including myself.
He has, so far, achieved: More courage to make decisions regarding NHS vs. private practice A successfully developing private practice at one of the hospitals identified as a possible site for work. A great chance to discuss some of these issues, which are so often overlooked or simply not discussed in work.
What I offer him is a confidential space to discover the way forward.
If you want support and encouragement to develop your private, independent medical practice;
If you feel stuck and want to talk then CALL ME
I won’t tell you what to do: I’ll listen to you and challenge you to think about alternatives you may not have considered before.
In your day to day medical practice, whether you are an independent medical practitioner or employed by the NHS, have you ever felt as if you don’t really know how you got to where you are today?
Are you a doctor who is lacking in confidence and wonders if someone will ‘find out’?
Would you like to find ways to boost your confidence so you can:
Do what you want to do for the patient when and how you want to do it without being challenged or doubts coming into your mind.
Be relaxed, comfortable and secure so that you are assertive about what you want for your patient.
Believe in yourself and your ability to deal with the medical situation and know when to refer to someone else.
Do as well as you can and also being realistically aware of your own shortcomings.
Set yourself achievable, realistic goals for your medical professional life, and for your out of work life too.
Coachingcan enable you to achieve all of these, improve your confidence and encourage and motivate you to achieve what you truly want in or out of Medicine.