For women in medicine there are many things we have to accomplish each day before our first patient encounter. That means we spend most of our time reacting to what’s happening instead of being intentional. This is not the goal for doctors, nurse practitioners, or nurses who want to avoid stress, worry, frustration and feeling out of control. When you are intentional, you decide in advance the qualities you desire for your day. Rather than succumb to the stress of heavy traffic on your commute, worrying about arriving to work on time, and the number of patients scheduled for the day, you can set an intention to have a day of ease and flow. My clients understand the importance of staging your day. Here’s what I mean:
1. Before you leave work the night before, get a handle on what is on your schedule for the following day. What’s on your calendar that must be done? What are the priorities for the next day? What is on the schedule that is not essential for you to do that you can delegate to someone else on your team? From this vantage point you will focus on the items that are most important. This not only decreases stress, it lets you use your time more efficiently. Mapping out the next day gives you some room to breathe.
2. When you wake up, set clear intentions about your day before you even leave home so that your commute to the hospital or office is easy, effortless and stress free. If you are a woman in medicine with a family, you have experienced the stress of managing more than one schedule at a time. You may be juggling your spouse’s deadlines and your children’s activities in addition to your own. It is easy to feel overwhelmed when you are the primary organizer in your home. Identify how you want to feel as you move throughout you day and then declare it. When you are feeling out of sorts, remind yourself of your morning declaration.
3. Once you get to work, I recommend that my clients spend 5 minutes setting an intention – this is before reviewing email, checking patient charts, or responding to a colleague. It is the first thing you do when you get to the office. Once you’ve completed that step, it is time to meet with your team. Start the team meeting by taking 5 minutes to set a team intention. What are you working on? What do you need from me? What will you commit to doing today?