How to Embrace Slow

When work is slow it isn’t easy. I am a typical general surgeon.  We like to be busy!!! When I say busy, we thrive on adrenaline, challenge and the ability to fix problems and help our patients.  Our training is demanding, hectic without much free time.  We multitask and have many thoughts in our head at once. 

My father was also a surgeon.  I can remember as a kid, he would ask me the same question multiple times.  In fact, sometimes within a few minutes.  My siblings and I joked as it appeared that he never listened.

It’s February, one of the slowest months in the surgical world.  I have also just changed to a new practice and am building a new clientele.  I am used to 13,000+ RVU’s per year, three full surgery days and overbooked clinics.

My challenge is coping with the slow time. When it’s slow we can often find ourselves counting consults, worrying about block time, and in general getting anxious! We panic, get worried about our referral base, and question if we did something wrong.

I’m sure this happens in other fields as the hustle and bustle of the holiday season slows down.

The challenge for most of us  is that we don’t know how to slow down or quiet our minds.  Today, I have only three patients in the office and one case.  I’m slow.  My first instinct was to panic- what can I do to fix this?

However, I have been working with a life coach, and I have learned the tools to help with this situation.  I have started meditation, yoga and have learned handwriting exercises to get me back on track.

I questioned myself.  What is triggering me?  How can I change my thinking? How can I embrace the slow times?

We are all going to have ebbs and flows in our practices.  Most of us will have 2-3 jobs in our careers.  When it is slow, learn to embrace it.  Take the time to catch up on reading or education, clean your office or even better take time for yourself.  

Here are some tips to help with the slow times in our working lives:

I always have a gym bag in my car with everything I need.

Educate yourself!  Book an educational seminar or take an online course

Schedule networking lunches or lunches with your friends

Spend time with your family

Clean and or organize your office

Start a new improvement project