It's Sunday night and you think where did the weekend go...I am not ready to start another busy week. I have this feeling often. Mondays come too soon, and I never feel like I got enough done over the weekend. My work days are long, and even though I don't have kids at home anymore, I still feel like there are not enough hours in the day. The time that used to be for my kids in the evening is now spent working on this business, attending meetings and keeping up with workouts. I find that if I allow myself some time to just sit and relax when I get home from work it can be a mistake. I feel tired and could easily doze off only to wake at 1 or 2am and be mad at myself for whatever I didn't do. Sometimes I feel like I should just get up and do whatever it was since I need to wake up for work just a few hours later anyway. I have to admit this usually doesn't happen! I am definitely a morning person though, which comes from the nature of my job. I start my work day by 7am if not before, and I have a 40 minute commute most days. A couple of our offices are closer to my house, but our main office and the hospital and surgery center where I operate are 40 minutes away. I actually love my commute though. I stop for coffee on the way and just enjoy what feels like a little downtime before I start the work day. It allows me to get focused...there it is...the key to getting through the day...focus!
In my early years in practice, I was described by my office staff as "focused". I thought it was their kind way of saying "mean" because while I was not overly demanding and certainly never yelled at anyone, it was clear that I was there for a purpose. I needed to get my day done and get home to my kids. I was...focused. I didn't waste time. I got through my patient visits, did my charts and got out of there. It was the same for me when I was in the operating room. I was not good with delays, and I always worked as efficiently as I could to get my day done. It was very much appreciated by those who worked around me as no-one who works in an OR likes a slow or distracted surgeon. I would start the day with a plan. I would do more complex surgeries first and move through the day with easier procedures later. This is still the way I plan my days. In the office I am very aware of the schedule, and if I know I have to be somewhere at a particular time later in the day, I will make sure that the last patient appointment is scheduled such that I have a fighting chance of being done on time. Delays can happen in the office too, so most people in my life realize that the exact time I will be done is a little unpredictable. It comes with the territory when you're a physician, but I always try my best to be on time, give or take 30 minutes.😉
I am also the queen of the "to do" list. I make one almost every day. I sometimes make one on Monday for the week. It helps me prioritize things and not forget them. Now that my kids are away at college, it doesn't mean they never appear on my list. While they are very independent, on any given day, I may have "to do" items related to things they need. I might need to remember to schedule an appointment for when they are home on break, send a rent check or a make a tuition payment, send a care package or send something they need from their closet at home. I put as much as I can on the list to remind myself of things I need to do, but also because it gives me tremendous satisfaction to cross them off when they are done! Most days I don't cross everything off, but if I can get the top 3 or 4 items completed, I consider it a win. The rest most likely can wait. I am always aware of what is critical for that day, and those things are at the top of the list. For me this is a way to focus. I like pen and paper. I know many people keep notes and lists on the phone, but I prefer to write it down even if it's just on a piece of scrap paper I grabbed in the office. I also keep a day planner which I write in, and I have not been able to get away from this. I know a lot of people prefer the phone calendar or some other form of a digital planner but for me, once again, there is something much more satisfying about pulling out that book and writing in it.
I definitely like to plan for the future, but I think the above quote makes a lot of sense. I think when it comes to staying focused, it's important to take it a step at a time. This can often mean a day at a time. I am usually better off just making my list for one day, doing as much as I can and then moving on to the next. The big picture is important, but I think for working moms, life is very much one day at a time. There will always be long range goals and plans. but the only way to get there is to make the most of each day. It is also important not to feel defeated if you didn't cross as much off the list as you had hoped. There is always tomorrow. Some days will get completely away from you, but that just means you're human. It means you can try to focus better the next day and keep moving forward. Even when a Sunday comes to an end that was pure chaos instead of the orderly grocery shopping, house cleaning and meal prep for the week you had planned for, remember Monday is still coming and you need to embrace it. You will get through Monday and maybe mid-week you can catch up a little. The next weekend is another opportunity to be productive. Focus on that and not the fact that Sunday wasn't what you had hoped for. Hopefully there were some fun moments in the chaos and those are what deserved your focus!💙