It's amazing how much of our lives become routine. After all, routines are predictable. They are comfortable. We always know what to do. And they don't require much thought.
While at least a portion of our lives is destined to be routine, the bulk of our lives should not be.Ask anyone who has ever faced a terminal illness and they will tell you each day is a gift. Every 24 hours is time given to cherish and use wisely. But that's not how most of us treat the time we're given.
Whether we like it or not, most of our waking hours are spent at work: seeing patients, making notes in charts, addressing billing issues, managing staff, etc. Each day tends to look pretty much like the previous one, unless we make a conscious decision to the contrary.
The time outside the office can reflect a similar pattern. There are errands to run, chores to do, kids to raise - the list is seemingly endless. As our world spins faster, who we are can be gobbled up by what we have to do. When this happens, we miss things. We miss what people say, the expressions on their faces, the chance to discuss their day and the opportunity to reflect on the events of each day.
There is something powerful in the ability to focus our attention. Your focus, particularly in an atmosphere of quiet reflection, has the power to change your practice, your relationships and your life. A classic example of this occurred in our office a few months ago. One of our accounting people had been performing a task that has relied upon the same procedural steps for over a decade. Shortly after a change in personnel, one of our managers asked about the procedure. The manager discovered that the procedure had remained largely manual and was not taking advantage of computer programs that would cut the time it took to accomplish the task by 80 percent.
A little focus resulted in a great gain in efficiency. A lack of focus (for probably at least five years) meant we failed to recognize that opportunity. When was the last time you walked through your office and looked at your routines?
When did you last focus on your office procedures in light of new technology? When did you last focus on what your patients experience when they come into your office? How much focus have you given recently to the way your practice is perceived by the people in your community? You may want to set aside an hour or two each week to focus on considering how your practice is running and how it can be improved. Just a few great ideas could make a dramatic difference.
The same is true for your relationships. Take some time to focus on the people in your life. How can you enhance those relationships? Are there some relationships that need to grow? Are there some that need to end? If you are married, is your marriage everything you want it to be? If not, what should you be doing to improve it? Is your relationship with your children everything you want it to be? Focusing more time on the people you love will contribute to greater joy in your life and theirs.Some parts of our lives are probably meant to be routine (washing dishes, folding clothes, etc.). However, the rest of our lives can benefit from a certain amount of focus. The more important it is, the more focus it should get. Take the time to focus on what really matters.
Click here for more information about Donald M. Petersen Jr., BS, HCD(hc), FICC(h), Publisher.