Take the Drama Out of Your Clinic Day – It’s All in the Math


7 ½

18 
18 
120 
These are just numbers. What do they mean to you?

7 1/2 -hour clinic day
18 patients
18 notes
120 tasks
These are all circumstances. Now what are you thinking?
“This seems manageable, but I have a full day. It’s a lot of patients to see in that time. I have to figure out how to get all the notes done. I don’t know if I’ll get them all done. I don’t want to keep taking this work home. 120 tasks? How did I let them build up like that? It’s neverending. I’ll never get on top of this.”
These are thoughts. Most of these are not helpful thoughts. 
Remember, a number is just a number. A patient is a patient. A note a note. A task a task. And you are human.
How do you see 18 patients, complete 18 notes, and hit on all the high-priority tasks in 8 hours? You do it. When you’re dealing with numbers, you get really good at math, and seeing the big picture.
When you see a patient, you focus on that patient in front of you. Nothing else. In that moment, all you have to do is take care of them. Listen to them. Examine them. Formulate a plan and communicate this with the patient. Enter your orders. Done. 
When you have to write 18 notes, it’s a bit of math and a bit of strategy. How much time will you spend on a note? Determine that ahead of time, and that’s how much time you have to write it. Figure out where you have that time in the day. (Hint: Right after seeing the patient is often best, but only you know what works for you.) Create templates for common encounters ahead of time. Create a Favorites folder for your orders. Find the EMR shortcuts that work for you. Dictate or type – whichever is quickest. Again, no distractions. Close the door. Get it done. B- work in this area is okay. 
Now for the tasks. This is where a lot of the thought work happens. But you can make this a game and make it fun. What needs to get done first? What is most important? Get these things done. If you have to call a patient back, make sure you first know exactly what you want to accomplish on that call, decide what information you need and what you have to say to get that task accomplished, and then identify the thought and the feeling that will drive that action. (Hint: don’t feel confused, apprehensive, or upset). Know who can help you to get things done. What can be delegated? Be an effective leader and teach your team how they can support you – no matter how uncomfortable it is to ask for help. Be okay with letting some of it go until tomorrow. Believe me, it’s okay.
7 ½
18
18
120
Now what are you thinking?
——————————————-

I work with busy physician moms who want to make more time for themselves and their families while creating a fulfilling career. 

If you’re ready to make this commitment to yourself so that you can make yourself a priority again, be even more present with your family, and start creating a more deliberate life — sign up for a FREE 25-minute mini-session with me. 

We will:

  • Address a specific concern you have. I’ll give you direct coaching on this to help you start seeing solutions right away. 
  • Discuss whether we are a good fit for each other. I want to get to know you and your concerns to make sure that my program and I are matched well with your concerns. I also want you to leave the call knowing with confidence that by working together, you will have invested in a permanent solution for your concerns. 
  • Discuss the details of my programs and pricing if we decide that we are a good fit for each other. 
Click on this scheduling link: Schedule Now with Ashwini Nayak, MD
Feel free to email me at: ashwini@physicianwellnesscoaching.com

I Didn’t Need Anything More Today After I Heard These Four Words

“I love you Mommy,” my son said as I held his hand walking down the stairs this morning.

He’s 27 months, and I know that it’s completely normal for a child to say this at his age, but I am still amazed each day by everything he says and does, because he’s only 2 years old! He’s only been alive for 2 years, and he’s already able to express love. It’s amazing to me.

His words left me speechless for a few seconds, and then I bent down to hug and kiss him. As he reciprocated, I said, “I love you too, baba.” (Baba is what I call him in the Indian dialect that I speak.)

That moment made me stop thinking about everything that had to happen that morning to get him ready for school: getting breakfast and lunch ready, convincing him to change his Pull-Ups, to wear pants instead of shorts when it’s 40 degrees out… (I am learning a lot about the art of negotiation with a 2-year-old!)

I am grateful that I have developed the ability to stop and listen during moments like the one this morning, because in the past there were times when I wouldn’t have allowed myself to relish the moment and be amazed. I would have missed it.

There are a lot of things that can fill up our days, but even during our busiest of days, positive things are happening all around us.

If we don’t take time to pay attention to these things, we’ll miss them, and the opportunity to feel and relive the love, joy, amazement, or multitude of positive emotions that help to balance out the not-so-easy parts of life, and contribute to our resilience.

A simple exercise that I’ve learned is to take a few minutes at the end of each day to remember what has happened in that day to bring me joy.

In the past, as I would leave my office at the end of a busy clinic day, I would often be resentful of getting home late or that I wouldn’t have as much time with my family as I would have liked. But now, after realizing that I have the ability to create my own joy, regardless of what has happened or what time I leave, I try to think of what I loved about the work I did that day. I try to think about a great conversation I had with a patient. I think about what I learned, or who I connected with. I silently express my gratefulness for being able to do this work as a physician.

I also have learned to take time to notice the things about my son that amaze me and bring me happiness, and to share this with my husband. Every day I say out loud, “We have such a great kid, he is such a good kid.” I try to take time to remember at least one new thing he did that day, to appreciate his growth.

All of these thoughts help to create joy for me.

When my son said, “I love you Mommy”, I didn’t need anything more today after I heard his words. My thinking, that I have an amazing son and that we love each other, made me feel more love, and loved, than you know.

Take the time each day to notice at least three things that have made you smile, feel proud, love, or grateful. Then, notice what you were thinking that made you feel that way. In this way, you can have that feeling again, and strengthen the impact of that amazing thing that happened for you.

You can do that, without needing anything more.

——————–

I work with busy physician moms who want to make more time for themselves and their families while creating a fulfilling career. 

If you’re ready to make this commitment to yourself so that you can make yourself a priority again, be even more present with your family, and start creating a more deliberate life — sign up for a FREE 25-minute mini-session with me. 

We will:

  • Address a specific concern you have. I’ll give you direct coaching on this to help you start seeing solutions right away. 
  • Discuss whether we are a good fit for each other. I want to get to know you and your concerns to make sure that my program and I are matched well with your concerns. I also want you to leave the call knowing with confidence that by working together, you will have invested in a permanent solution for your concerns. 
  • Discuss the details of my programs and pricing if we decide that we are a good fit for each other. 
Click on this scheduling link: Schedule Now with Ashwini Nayak, MD
Feel free to email me at: ashwini@physicianwellnesscoaching.com

How Do You Change a System That Isn’t Working for You?

 
 
 
During med school and residency, you did what you had to do. You sacrificed a lot of your personal time to develop your skills as a doctor and take care of your patients. You spent late hours at the hospital or clinic to complete your tasks and do your job well. You were a perfectionist in your documentation.
 
Many of us, with work as a focus, learned how get a lot done. We were willing to put in the time, because we looked forward to what it would bring us in the end, after we started practice. 
 
 
Our training taught us a lot when it came to time management, and our system of working long hours might have worked then…but why isn’t it working now?
 
 
Because life has changed.
 
 
You’re the one now to have the last say. In the end, you’re the one that is responsible, and this creates a completely new experience for you.
 
 
You might be seeing more patients each day and if you’re working full time as an outpatient physician – following up on that volume of patients is much different than the 6-8 clinic patients you used to see each week as a resident. 
 
 
You’re not signing patients out any more (for the most part.) Many times you are on 24/7.
 
 
Your practice environment might have different resources. 
 
 
There is often a pressure to be more productive (ie. see more patients.). 
 
 
You have real bills to pay. (Student loan debt anyone?) 
 
 
There are also the little humans that have joined your life. And your spouse may be saying, “I thought we were finally going to get more time together…,” and you agree. 
 
 
All of these things will have us thinking differently, and there are new priorities in life, so what worked then just won’t work now, at least not all of the time. 
 
 
There are only so many hours in a day, so we need to learn how to constrain and work smarter, not harder.
 
 
Therefore, you need a new system – a new system that maintains your integrity as a physician, but also allows you to preserve yourself. This means, you do your job well and people can count on you, but you do this as a person who: 
 
– knows exactly what needs to get done and when, and what can wait until later
– creates a plan of getting things done and sticks to that plan, so that procrastination and overplanning don’t eat into your valuable personal time
– is able to give up multitasking (whatever that really means) and focus on each task at hand so you can get it done with super efficiency
– prioritizes time to take care of yourself
– prioritizes time for things that keep you feeling connected and grounded, like spending time with your family, and maintaining hobbies and interests
 
 
To create a new system, you need a new way of thinking. You need to start to question things that were taught to you or things that you believe can’t change. 
         
         What if I didn’t bring my work home every night? How would I do this?
         What if I took that vacation? Would I be happier?
         Why am I staying late at work each day? 
 
 
Changing your thinking will create a whole new life for you. I will show you how.
 
 
 

What Should You Focus On: The Process or the Goal?



Which is better: being process-oriented or goal-oriented? It may depend on the situation, but here are some things to consider as you decide.

I’ve seen that many times we aim to achieve our goals because we think we will be happier, feel more comfortable, be at peace, or feel like we’ve achieved our purpose. But is this true, that we will have these things, when we achieve our goals?

When you think about any aspect of your life, new or old, this may generate feelings of appreciation, joy, or other positive emotion. For example, the birth of a child — this is usually the source of great joy and fascination as we think about how cute the little one is, how much we wanted the child, or what a miracle life is.

Achievement of a goal creates a new circumstance in your life. For example, when you finish a marathon, you are now someone who has run a marathon. You may think back to how hard you worked to have been able to complete the race, or how nice it is to have gotten into shape. This causes you to feel proud, happy, and maybe gratitude (for having a body that was able to sustain you.) There is definitely a positive experience that comes from achieving our goals. But unfortunately, the effect doesn’t usually last very long; positive thoughts, which generate our positive emotion, are fleeting.

Remember graduation from medical school – the actual moment we achieved our goal of becoming doctors? The joy that came through that event – how long did it last? It lasted only for a little bit (maybe a few hours, days, a week, a month)– because other things came up in our lives to occupy our minds.

What would life be like if while working toward our goals, we had to just wait for that (relatively) short moment of joy and happiness that would come?

We don’t have to wait for that moment – we can have many of them during the whole journey of getting there to the end.

Let’s go back to the med school example. What was it like, to work hard, to learn, to make connections with our patients and educators, to show our families that we were resilient and persevering, to have grit, to have learned how to be strong– physically, emotionally, and mentally? During those four years, what a huge growth, right? Think about the immense satisfaction that that whole process brought, knowing we had become something that we had not been before – doctors. That process was the point. And I would say, memory of that journey and what we achieved through it, that is part of what makes us still (years after graduation) feel so proud to be physicians.

The process is the thing to focus on in everything you do. 

So, 
1. Set a goal to achieve because it makes your life more fun and interesting, and know that by aiming to achieve your goal, you’re going to experience life and grow as a person. 
2. Make a plan on how you want to achieve that goal. 
3. And then – follow your plan. Look forward to not only achieving your goal, but also enjoying each moment of the journey.

How You Can Have the Life You Want

 
 
 
 
 
 
I want you to know that you are a physician mom who knows how to make time for the things that matter to you. You know what you want in your life, where to focus, and how to make it happen. You live in the moment, enjoy your family, and you are a fun mom. The best mom. Once and for all, you’ve learned how to stop feeling so overwhelmed and guilty all the time. You don’t feel overworked and burnt out, and you love your job because you know how to recharge each day and deal with whatever is thrown at you.     
     
Don’t believe me? 
 
I promise you – this is you. 
 
You just haven’t met this version of you – yet. 
 
I want to introduce you to the next version of yourself.
 
I am a primary care physician, and I am a life coach for physician moms. I know what it’s like — because I’ve been there. I’m married and have a 2-year-old son. After my son was born, I was completely overwhelmed trying to juggle full-time practice, a young child, staying connected with my husband, and taking care of myself. 
 
After hiring a life coach to help me navigate what seemed like an impossible goal of feeling in control of my practice and my life, I came out on the other side, empowered and so much happier, and wanting to help other physician moms who are in a similar position.
 
When I first started out in practice, I wished there was someone who really understood what I was going through that could help me. 
 
I get what you are going through, and I want to be that person for you.
 
I want you to see that you can go to work each day and feel like practicing medicine is easy, even in today’s healthcare environment. 
 
It is possible to not feel frustrated all the time. 
 
It is possible to have more time to exercise, to get the sleep you need, to spend time with your spouse and kids, and to be yourself again. 
 
You’ll still be a great doctor and the mom you want to be, but you won’t be overworked or overwhelmed.
 
How is this possible? Simple – it all starts with your thinking. I can show you how to manage your mind so that life feels easy, and so you can create the time that you’ve been wanting all along.
 
Let’s dive right in. 
 
Everything that I teach will be based on The Self Coaching Model, developed by my teacher and life coach Brooke Castillo.
 
We also refer to it as “The Model” or CTFAR. 
 
This is the foundation for all the coaching that I do, and it will be your go-to to change anything in your life, whether it’s wanting to feel better, showing up as a better person, or getting more of what you want in your life.
 
What is The Model? It’s the framework to understanding the relationship between your circumstances, thoughts, feelings, actions, and results in your life. Once you internalize this, you will see that you can create any result in your life that you want.
 
C – Circumstances
 
cause
 
T – Thoughts
 
cause
 
F – Feelings
 
cause
 
A – Actions
 
create
 
R – Results
 
 
C – C stands for circumstances. These are facts that carry no meaning (they are neutral.) If you gathered a room of 10 people, they could all agree on the exact same circumstance.
 
Examples of circumstances:
-something that occurred in the past: I got a B on that exam. I graduated from college. We went on a vacation to Disney World. 
-something someone said: She said, “Your hair looks great.”
-something that can be measured: I weigh 130 lbs.
-something that has legal proof: a license to practice medicine, a marriage certificate
-something that exists (without any descriptors attached): my work, my life, my mom, my computer
-a sensation in the body (i.e. hunger, pain)
-a medical diagnosis
 
T – T stands for your thoughts. Thoughts give meaning to your circumstances. Thoughts are subjective sentences in your mind. They are your perceptions, your interpretations of the world. They help create the stories of your life. Thoughts are also optional and under your control. You can choose to continue believing thoughts if they serve you or if you recognize them to be part of your life experience. You can also choose to change them if they are not serving you.
 
F – F stands for your own feelings. These are emotions, generated by your thoughts. They are vibrations in your body. 
 
A – A stands for action. These are the things that you do or don’t do as a result of how you feel about something. 
 
R – R stands for results. These are the results you see for yourself. These are not the results you see in the world – because you can’t directly control others or your circumstances. You can think of results as how you end up experiencing or showing up in a situation or relationship, the opportunities you create for yourself, or how you may position yourself to create influence in the world.
 
To review: circumstances trigger your thoughts, which cause your feelings, which give rise to your actions that produce the results in your life. 
 
Each thought model will be specific to you and your situation.
 
You can create and practice new thoughts to feel better. 
 
You can put anything you want in the Results line and work backward to find the thought or thoughts that will generate this desired result for you. 
 
There are so many ways you can change how you experience your life, and it’s all within your control.
 
Remember, the results we have in our lives are essentially a proof of our thoughts. If we want to change the way we are feeling, what we are doing, and the results we are getting, we need to change our thinking.
 
Let’s work through an example I had to work through early on after I had my son.
 
When I first worked with my coach, I remember discussing how I spent my time outside of my full-time work. I had shared that I felt a lot of guilt when I wasn’t spending time with my then-infant son. 
 
My circumstance:    My time away from work
 
My thought:      When I have spare time, I should be spending all of it with my son. 
 
What did this result in for me?
 
On the surface it seems like a really nice thought. I want to spend time with my son. Every mom should think this right? 
 
Well, what happened was that it made me feel restricted. When I felt restricted, all I did was go to work, and then come home to focus on my son. Even the blocks in my clinic schedule were focused on pumping (I was still breastfeeding), rather than giving myself an opportunity to catch up, or take a break, or get a bite to eat. 
 
I was starting to lose a part of myself. I didn’t make time for the gym. I didn’t make time to prepare food for myself. I ate what was in the breakroom, and even overate all the sweets, feeling like this was the only way to manage my stress. Hoping to get home earlier, I rearranged my schedule to work through lunch – but this put me behind each day, leaving me with piles of charting that I saved for the hours after my son went to sleep. I went to bed late and perpetuated my bad habit of going to bed late. I was exhausted. I was less present with myself, but also less present with my son and my husband, creating the exact opposite result of what I wanted. I became angry more easily. I didn’t keep up with any of my hobbies. Even cooking, a daily activity that had given me pleasure in the past, was now a chore, something to “get through.” I was less present in the moment and had lost direction of where I was going. 
 
This was because of my thinking. 
 
Before I had found my life coach, I had lost a part of myself because I didn’t give myself permission to be me and to take time for me. I had not known at that time, that just because something is a priority, doesn’t mean that it needs to take all of your time. I hadn’t recognized that in my pursuit of a better parenting experience as a new mom, my frustration and dissatisfaction, which came from not being fully mentally present while I was at home, was fueling a need to have more time with my son, which was only making it harder for me to show up as the best mom I could be.
 
So, what did I do? 
 
I changed my thinking. 
 
I decided to identify as someone who still had hobbies and interests. I decided to believe that I could enjoy day-to-day moments with my son and husband and that these were as valuable as the career goals I was working toward. I chose to believe this whether I had 5 minutes with them or the whole day. I decided that there were multiple areas of my life that needed to be nurtured in order for me to flourish. That I was worth it. That I needed to for my and my family’s sake.

When I did this, my life changed. My relationships with my son and husband were better. I was kinder to myself. I learned to be more present, wherever I was. I was more productive and fulfilled by my work.

 

———————————————–
 
If you’re still reading this, you must relate to this experience in some way. Maybe a big way. 
 
If so, I want to help you. 

I will create a lot of free content and opportunities for my clients, but I think working with me as your life coach one-on-one will give you an even deeper understanding of yourself, and can give you results more quickly.
 
When you work with me, you learn that managing your time is more about managing your priorities and learning how to get things done. It’s about honoring yourself and what you want in your life. 
 
As your coach, my job is to help you to understand your thinking, and to help you to find your answers.
 
By working with me as your life coach, you’ll learn how to: 
 
  • Make time for you and what matters most to you
  • Stop feeling drained and like you’re sacrificing your personal life for your work (or vice versa)
  • Get all of your documentation done by the end of the day so that you can focus on more meaningful patient care tasks, and better connect with your patients
  • Improve efficiency and get more done each day
  • Stop bringing work home
  • Focus on spending time with your family
  • Open up time to relax, reflect, and spend time on hobbies and interests that you have been ignoring
  • Identify priorities
  • Create and commit to a schedule
  • Set boundaries, so that you protect your time
  • Stop trying to make everyone else happy
  • Stop giving in to distractions that keep you from spending your time how you really want to
  • Be at peace and enjoy where you are in your life. 
 
As your coach, I step out of my physician role as advisor. From a neutral, but supportive and compassionate place, as someone who has been exactly where you are, I show you how you how to take your life to the next level. 
 
This will be an amazing journey, and I am honored to take it with you. 
 
Coaching with me will be different than anything you’ve done before. If you want to see a change in your life and create different results, you need to do something different. Doing something different can be scary and uncomfortable, but it’s what will help you grow and create the life you want. And I will be there to help guide you through the process. 
 
——————-
I work with busy physician moms who want to make more time for themselves and their families while creating a fulfilling career. 
 
If you’re ready to make this commitment to yourself so that you can make yourself a priority again, be even more present with your family, and start creating a more deliberate life — sign up for a FREE 25-minute mini-session with me. 
 
We will:
 
  • Address a specific concern you have. I’ll give you direct coaching on this to help you start seeing solutions right away. 
  • Discuss whether we are a good fit for each other. I want to get to know you and your concerns to make sure that me and my program are matched well with your concerns. I also want you to leave the call knowing with confidence that by working together, you will have invested in a permanent solution for your concerns. 
  • Discuss the details of my programs and pricing if we decide that we are a good fit for each other. 
Click on this scheduling link: Schedule Now with Ashwini Nayak, MD
 
Feel free to email me at: ashwini@physicianwellnesscoaching.com