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5 Practical Solutions for Those Suffering From Burnout

Posted by on Apr 24, 2017 in Blog Posts | 0 comments

While in medical school and residency, no one ever talked about work/life balance.  It was a nebulous concept people alluded to, a thing to keep in mind when trying to pick out your dream job – but it was never defined nor was there any instruction on how to achieve this desired state of being.

Fast forward 7 years.  I was part of a very successful private practice.  Initially, I was busy and enjoyed my work.  However, in time as I became busier and busier, things started to snowball  I was emotionally exhausted, cynical, and I felt like my work didn’t have any value.  In fact, I distinctly remember being in a delivery and feeling like it was a mundane chore.  I demonstrated the typical signs of burnout. That is when I knew I had to make a change so that I could once again become the physician I wanted to be.  I also had thoughts of leaving medicine but didn’t know what I would do instead and I didn’t want to say good-bye to all those years of training.

When I started to look at my life I realized that most of what I did revolved around work. I was not able to maintain balance between my work and my life outside of it.  So, I set about to make some changes that would help me do that.  I was having a hard time doing this in my current position, so I elected to leave private practice and become an OB/Gyn hospitalist.  Shift work was very useful for me, as I learned how to clearly define time for work and time for play.  Once I made this change and achieved some much needed rest, I set about to share my experience with others.  I found that coaching was an amazing vector through which to do this work.  Now that I am a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach and a Certified Physician Development Coach, my goal is to spread awareness about burnout and to provide prevention strategies.

Take time off

If you are anything like I was, you are exhausted.  A week’s vacation would help, but it didn’t solve my deep rooted exhaustion.  Look at your schedule and talk with your peers.  Be open and honest.  I would imagine that they would work with you to find a solution that keeps you in practice.  Can you take a longer vacation?  Can you take off time during the week?  Can you schedule breaks during the day?  Look at what times of day are most overwhelming and brainstorm ideas on how to improve.  Bear in mind, that there may be a financial cost to these changes.  How much can you afford to change?  Look at both the financial and non-financial expenses of change as well as the burden of maintaining the status quo.

Prioritize

Make a list of all the things you do in a day.  Look at a typical work day and a typical non-work day.  What are the things on that list that you are good at?  What are the things on that list that only you can do?  These items are your priorities.  Now, look at what remains.  What can you delegate?  How would it feel to not have those responsibilities? Again, look at both the financial and the non-financial price of having that item on your to-do list.

Boundaries

This is a tough one.  How do you create boundaries and stick with them?  I continually struggle in this area.  Start by identifying areas where you feel uncomfortable or where you have resentment.  What do you have control over?  What can you change?  The answers to these questions are a great start to creating boundaries.  As you create your boundaries, also consider when it is appropriate for you to bend or make exceptions.  For example, let’s say you are planning to take a day off during the week and you have worked it out so that you do not have any clinical responsibilities that day.  This will be returned in kind to your colleagues during their day off.  Where is your boundary regarding any work that day?  Will you complete charts?  Will you make an exception if there is a patient in the hospital with a complication from a procedure you performed?   The key here is that saying no to some things allows you to say yes to the things you need and/or really want to do.

Stay creative

Creativity is the antidote to burnout.  What do you like to do that gets your creative juices flowing?  Do you like to paint or draw?  Do you write or act?  Do you cook or sew?  Try something new or resume a favorite hobby.  Take a class or join a group of individuals with whom you have that hobby in common.  Make time to do this on a regular basis and keep your activities varied.

Practice gratitude

Gratitude is linked to happiness in numerous publications and articles.  Making gratitude a part of your daily routine can be key to improving your happiness and satisfaction, which in turn, helps treat many of the symptoms of burnout.  I find that using a journal is the easiest technique.  Take time to write down what you are thankful for on a daily basis.  Don’t just make a list, really describe the experience.  There’s no set number of things to include and your journal entry can easily be a picture or memento.  This is a place to unleash some creativity and really languish on the positive parts of your day.

I hope that you find these strategies useful.  It’s been 5 years since I initially recognized that I was burnout, and I have to continually reinforce these strategies.  My work/life balance is always a work in progress.

It is important to allow yourself time for recovery and to forgive yourself if you don’t stick to your plan.  Recovering from burnout is a work in progress. Every day is a new day and YOU get to make it wonderful.

Tips to Help You Stay Organized Every Day

Posted by on Mar 28, 2017 in Blog Posts | 0 comments

It takes time and effort to create a habit of being organized.  Being organized can become a way of life and second nature for you.  Staying organized is one more tool in your goal success toolkit.  These tips will help you to stay organized every day with very little effort or fuss.

Check In

Start your day by checking your schedule and your to-do list.  It may be that you’ve thought of something you need to add.  Prioritize your to-do list so that you tackle the essential items first.

Plan

You should plan your day as well as your to-do list. Include calls, meetings, chores and goals. You can use pen and paper, a planner (a bullet journal is ideal) or a planning app. Don’t forget to include scheduled breaks. Make sure to include time for friends and family.

The F.A.R. Rules

The F.A.R. Rules are essential for helping you to stay organized. They apply equally to your personal life as your business.

File it – if it’s important and needs to be kept (either in paper or electronic form) then file it immediately.

Act on it – if something needs to have action taken, for example, paying a bill or making a call, then do it immediately. Then either file or recycle it.

Recycle it – whether it’s junk mail or papers and items you’ve finished with, recycle it immediately once it’s no longer needed.

These rules apply to emails as well as paperwork. By following them, you can keep your inbox under control.

Digital Aids

At times technology can be a distraction, but there are some items that can help you become and stay productive. Choose your devices and solutions with care so that you don’t create more of a problem.

Track

To be successful with your organization skills you need to track and monitor your progress. What’s working and what’s not? Be prepared to make changes and adjustments to how you do things.

Trash It

Don’t keep things for the sake of it. If it’s not useful or necessary then throw it out or donate it. If you are keeping the item, find a place for it.  Doing this will help you keep your surroundings free from clutter and distractions.

5 Minute Review

Just like you started your day, end your day with a five-minute review. Celebrate your accomplishments and cross off everything you’ve achieved from your to-do list. Remove any inessential or unimportant tasks that are remaining. Whatever is left should be added to the next day’s list.

And there you have it!  Some ideas that can help you stay organized and find success.  I hope you’ve enjoyed this success series!  I’d love to hear your feedback!

If you’d like to work with a coach as you embark on your goals, let’s arrange a time to talk!

Contact Nahille.  Let’s talk.

 

To-Do List Success Tips

Posted by on Mar 21, 2017 in Blog Posts | 0 comments

To-Do List Success Tips

 

The humble to-do list is a powerful success tool.  It doesn’t matter whether you create and keep a digital list using an app or use a pen and paper.  What is important is that you create and use your lists every day to help you get and stay organized.  The following tips will ensure that your to-do lists are an effective tool in your organizational toolbox.

Keep it Short

The ideal length of a to-do list is ten items or less.  You’ve probably created lists in the past that have seemed endless.  Instead of helping you feel organized and successful, you probably ended the day with most of the items still unchecked and felt like a failure.

By keeping your list purposely short, you are more likely to cross off every item and end the day feeling successful.

Separate Lists for Home and Work

Don’t add your work tasks to your personal to-do list. Maintain separate lists.

Prioritize

Once you’ve listed everything you need to accomplish, number the items in order of priority.  Do the most important items first, and you’ll feel the greatest sense of achievement.

If there are any items on your list that aren’t important then mark them as such. That way you won’t need to feel guilty if you don’t cross them off.

Assign a Time Limit

Wherever possible, set a time limit for every item on the list. Not just how long it will take but when it is due. That way you can identify tasks that need to be completed before lunch or before picking up the kids from school.

Re-visit and Re-work

A to-do list should be a working document. Once written it should be revisited throughout the day. You can check off those items you’ve completed and reprioritize or schedule those that remain.

You can also cross items off that are no longer important or necessary. It will also give you the opportunity to add any additional tasks that crop up during the day.

Keep it with You

How often have you made a to-do list at the beginning of the day and then totally ignored it?  It is probably because you left the house without it at the start of the day!

To make sure that your list is where you need it, you could use your favorite app. Better still you could keep your daily to-do list in your daily or weekly spread in your planner or bullet journal. That way, it will be with you wherever you go, and you’ll get the satisfaction of marking off the items as you complete them. You’ll also have a visual record of your achievement.

 

Count Your Blessings

Posted by on Mar 14, 2017 in Blog Posts | 0 comments

Are you the type of person that counts their blessings? If so, this means that you have learned what it’s like to be grateful for certain things in your life.  These can be physical items like owning your home, or they can be on a more personal level, by being grateful for someone in your life.

Having abundance and gratitude in your life is a form of wealth. If you are surrounded by people who love and respect you, you will instantly feel treasured in return.

Original artwork by N. Natour

The concept of being grateful for what you have can be difficult for some people to understand.  Instead of focusing on what they have, many people find it easier to constantly think about what they don’t have.

Think about this for a moment.  Do you really have to be wealthy to feel as though you are?  Will having a million dollars in the bank automatically make you happy?  The answer to both of these questions is no.  Money doesn’t buy you happiness, and you don’t need material wealth to feel wealthy.

Having abundance and gratitude in your life is a form of wealth.  If you are surrounded by people who love and respect you, you will instantly feel treasured in return.

Being grateful for your life consists of understanding what you have gone through to get to where you are today. This includes your struggles and fears as well as your successes and failures. After all, who doesn’t learn from making a mistake? These are the moments that you want to relish and enjoy.

Get into the habit of counting your blessings. This also includes telling friends, family, and co-workers that you are thankful for them! It’s not always easy to speak those kinds of words out loud, but when you do they can have a greater impact and reach than you ever thought possible.

What does gratitude have to do with goals?  Spending time focusing on the good, positive elements of your life helps you to reprogram your brain to be more positive.  Your positive outlook helps improve productivity, and voila, one more tool to help you achieve your goals.

 

What’s Your Story?

Posted by on Mar 7, 2017 in Blog Posts | 0 comments

What’s Your Story?

People love stories. We are wired for it. Think about the last time you heard a great story. Did it engage you?  Do you remember the main point or punch line?  Storytelling is a great tool for influencing.

If you are looking to get your point across, do you think it would be more effective with a laundry list of facts, or with a story? All things being equal, the story is going to win out. It’s pretty obvious; we connect through stories.

Storytelling can go a long way in helping you to achieve your goals. When you relay situations in a factual way, you wire your brain for success.

So, what do you do?

Get out a piece of paper, or even your journal.  Pick a goal to focus on and write out a story from your point of view.  The story takes place at the end of the year, and you have successfully achieved your goal.  Don’t forget to include details on how you made it happen, how you feel, and what you are grateful for.

Write a story for each goal, or only one for your most important goal.  Pull it out and read your story each time you review your goals.  Transport yourself to that place of achievement and work to make your goal a reality.

Take Care of You

Posted by on Feb 28, 2017 in Blog Posts, Uncategorized | 0 comments

We set goals because we want to be successful.  We have dreams and desires that we are working hard to achieve.  And while hard work is necessary to make dreams a reality, working too hard can undermine your success.

So, what do you do to replenish your spirit?  Hopefully, you easily come up with a few answers to this question.  If not, start to think about what activities you like to participate in when you are not working.  What makes you laugh or feel relaxed?

Just like with affirmations, the key is to participate in a soul rejuvenating activity on a regular basis, and in fact, I highly recommend finding something you can do daily.  Even if you are only spending 10-15 minutes on the activity, these small doses of fun go a long way.

If you are looking for something to do, try to find an activity that helps you express your creativity.  Or perhaps learn to do something new.  Last but not least, connect with family and friends.  Nourishing your relationships also nourishes your soul.

Also, don’t forget to designate time for rest.  You need that time off too!  Don’t forget to turn off electronics during that time!

“Rest and self-care are so important.  When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow.  You cannot serve from an empty vessel.”  – Eleanor Brownn

 

Goals. Where are you now?

Posted by on Feb 20, 2017 in Blog Posts | 0 comments

Everyone talks about goal setting in January, but by February, you don’t see much regarding goals posted at all!  So for the next six weeks, I’ll be posting a weekly blog post to help you find success this year.   Subscribe here to have the blog posts sent directly to your inbox!

The first success tactic I’d like to tackle is not a new concept for me, but it’s not one that I’ve taken advantage of in the past.  And that’s the notion of affirmations.

Affirmations are sayings or phrases that you repeat to yourself, so they become part of you. You can either say these statements out loud during meditation or throughout your day.  Alternatively, you can write out that repetitive statement. The more you engage your senses when using affirmations, the faster your processes them.

This type of positive self-reinforcement works, but it takes about 30 days for them to start sinking in.  So, don’t give up after a few days.  Once they begin working, continue with them daily for even better results.

Some people like to use the same set of mantras each day while others will use one success mantra and change it every day for the 30-day period.  What affirmation(s) that you use isn’t important.  The key is being consistent.

You will find plenty of resources online if you are stuck trying to come up with mantras to use. Simply do a search on affirmations or success mantras.  Then decide on a time frame that works for you.  Daily is best, but as long as you are consistent, you can be successful using affirmations every other day or even weekly.  Space out your practice any more than that, though, and you probably will lose the effectiveness.  You want to train your brain, and that requires frequent affirmations and repetition.

Here are some of my favorite affirmations:

  • Today, I am brimming with energy and overflowing with joy.
  • My body is healthy; my mind is brilliant; my soul is tranquil.
  • I possess the qualities needed to be extremely successful.
  • Happiness is a choice. I base my happiness on my own accomplishments and the blessings I’ve been given.
  • My ability to conquer my challenges is limitless; my potential to succeed is infinite.

Look forward to my next tip in a week.  Tips can be sent directly to your inbox, or you can come back here to read them.

Success tips in your inbox!

New Year’s Resolutions

Posted by on Jan 2, 2017 in Blog Posts | 0 comments

Looking for ways to achieve work/life balance?  Take a look at this article that features Dr. Natour and 2 other physician thought leaders, Drs. Manipod and Wible.

 

Click here for article

 

Make It A Point To Make Someone’s Day

Posted by on Dec 5, 2016 in Blog Posts | 2 comments

Here’s an interesting exercise for you. Head out to do your errands, drive to work, or get to school and make it a point to make someone else’s day today. It could be something as simple as giving someone a big smile, have a meaningful conversation with a person who’s feeling a little lost or lonely, or it could be buying lunch for the homeless person on the corner. It doesn’t matter what you do, but do something today to make someone else’s day.

How does that make sure feel? It’s a pretty good feeling, isn’t it? It seems that a big key to our own happiness lies in making people around us happy and helping others. When you start to think about it, it makes sense, doesn’t it? We are social creatures who have to work together to truly thrive. It is only logical then that helping those around us has an internal rewards system built in. In other words, our happiness goes up as we improve the lives of those around us.

You can see that a great strategy to increase our own happiness is to cheer up those around us. Not only will it help make you feel better and happier, you’ll be able to share that big smile on your face which can make someone else’s day as well. While it can be hard to do this kind of stuff when you’re feeling sad, those are the times you need to force yourself to do it the most.  Simply performing a selfless act increases the happiness you feel and instills a feeling of pride for helping someone else.

As with many of the other strategies we’ve been discussing, the key to making this work is to make it a habit. If it becomes an ingrained part of your daily routine, you’ll automatically go out of your way to help others even when (and especially when) you may not feel like it.   Give yourself that little extra boost, infuse your with happiness  and go out of your way for the benefit of someone else.

3rewf5rp4jo-evan-kirbyTo get your habit started, think of a few different things you can do to make someone’s day. It doesn’t have to be anything big or complicated. Instead, focus on small acts of kindness that you can do every single day. Bless your loved ones and complete strangers who look like they could use a little cheering up with this kindness. Help someone unload groceries, fix a meal for a neighbor who just had a new baby, or bring your spouse coffee in bed when he or she is having a hard time. Each of these small acts of kindness will start to make a huge difference in the world around you and improve your sense of happiness and joy.

Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff – Savor It

Posted by on Nov 29, 2016 in Blog Posts | 0 comments

“Don’t sweat the small stuff” they say.  Think about it, it’s easy to get caught up in all the little things that cause stress and ruins our day. Frankly, it’s not worth wasting energy on things that happen on a daily basis that we don’t like. Sure, we could get upset over the fact that someone else took the last good parking spot, or that the grocery store is out of our favorite brand of cereal.  Alternatively, we can choose to not make a big deal out of it and use that small, fairly insignificant stuff to practice seeing the positive side of things. Having to park further away means we get to exercise a little and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine for a couple of minutes while we stroll into the office. Not being able to find our favorite cereal means we get a chance to try something new that we may like even better.

There are often two sides to any situation and we have a choice in how we look at it. Make it a point to look on the bright side and watch your happiness improve. Then take it a step further and start to really pay attention to all the good stuff around you. Stop and smell the roses, if you will.

fugfjrw18jm-jason-briscoeI’m serious. There’s value in noticing all the positive things around you. The little things around you will put a smile on your face if you take the time to notice them. Make it a habit to spend some of your downtime this week savoring the small stuff. Notice how your cup of coffee smells, how it warms your hands on a cool morning, and how it tastes. Pay attention to the birds outside your window and notice how watching them and their antics around the birdfeeder makes you smile. Appreciate the next hug you receive.  In other words, savor the small things that make you happy. It may not be much, but it all adds up to a very happy life. Just take the time to notice.

Over the coming weeks, practice noticing and savoring the small stuff. Don’t let a small stress bring you down. Instead, make it a goal to find something positive about everything that happens to you throughout the day. Pay particular attention to all the little things that make you smile and acknowledge them. It won’t take long before you feel this simple little exercise making a big difference in your overall outlook on life.

Did you enjoy this article?  If so, join the 30 day happiness challenge.  The next email will contain links to previous articles so you can get caught up!

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