You are either growing or dying

May 27, 2021

Every living organism, organ, or cell is either in the process of growing or dying, nothing in between. Even homeostasis is a balance of anabolism and catabolism.

 

The same holds true for us personally: we’re either growing or dying every day -- either Personal Growth or Personal Death.

 

What are the signs of growth? 

 

Freshness, fragrance, life vigour, enthusiasm, addition, multiplication, creativity, innovation, encouragement, passion...

 

What are the signs of Death/Dying/Rotting? 

Dullness, stagnancy, wilting, withering, stench, reminiscence (“the good old days”), crankiness, whining, complaining, blaming, scapegoating, vengeance, spitefulness, jealousy, cynicism, “excusitis”...

 

Organizations are also either growing or dying, as there is no such thing as status quo. Your practice, department, or board is also either growing or dying.

 

Since an organization is ultimately a reflection of its leadership,...

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Put your phone (and yourself) on sleep mode

May 20, 2021

Survey after survey shows that physicians are chronically sleep-deprived. I used to measure lost sleep not in weeks but years. 

 

As I’ve gotten older and less tolerant of night shifts, I have taken conscious measures to regain control over my routine.   

 

I tried getting an old-fashioned bedside alarm, but it just wasn’t the same peace of mind as my smartphone. As an ER physician, I’m constantly fearful of oversleeping and being late for a shift. So, I set multiple alarms on my phone to be darned sure I’m up.  

 

But I have learned strategies to limit my cognitive engagement with the phone. News apps and notifications are completely disabled in the evening. 

 

The blue light filter runs 24-7. It reduces stimulating light and makes my phone far less interesting to read or watch, thus lowering the cognitive engagement further. 

 

Reflecting on your own life, imagine a more rested version of...

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How to “turn off”

Apr 22, 2021

As I mentioned in a previous communication, many of us feel that we are “always on” and accessible to our personal and practice networks.

 

I love my smartphone and consider it indispensable to my medical practice and daily life. But sometime in the last several years, I realized it was a growing hindrance to enjoying family time. I was being interrupted with notifications or felt the need to check email outside of work hours.   

 

That got me searching for ways to enjoy the benefits of the technology while minimizing its downsides.

 

The most effective strategies I’ve found in my own personal use are the following:

 

1. Turn off all notifications all the time. Unless I’m expecting an important call, my phone never rings, beeps, or vibrates. 

 

2. Leave it on the kitchen counter. Whether I’m building one of my companies or building a Lego set with the kids, the phone stays on the counter. I try and practice...

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