In the previous post, I talked about the pit-falls of engaging in the “Blame-Game” and getting mixed up with being busy and being productive.
We continue the final count-down of “What-Not-To-Do” if we want to increase our productivity in a busy schedule.
NUMBER 3. LEAVE TIME FOR DELIBERATE PRACTICE TO CHANCE
Most people are just too busy, and we often park away time for deliberate practice. It’s like we say the following in our sub-conscious mind: “I will spend time to reflect and work on my skills, only when I get some spare time.” (For more on Deliberate Practice, see the previous post, “3. Clinical Practice vs. Deliberate Practice”)
Reality check: It’s not like spare change. We are not going to get spare time to do the important stuff. Try telling a professional golf player that she’d get to work on her swing only when she gets the time.
It’s not like spare change. We are not going to get spare time to do the important stuff.
Devote a specific weekly protected time for deliberate practice activities, such as reflection, watching of their own therapy recordings, reading of relevant materials, etc.
See a previous post on #2“MMI” Meetings.
NUMBER 2. NEGLECT SELF-CARE
I don’t know of any other profession that requires the use of the emotional self as much as being a psychotherapist. Though richly rewarding, if we don’t tend to our own needs, we are likely to over-heat, feel irritable, less mindful, burned-out, and consequently, less effective.
Suggestion: Take the time within work hours to have small “break-time” to recharge. As you read the previous sentence, I can almost hear a chorus of voices saying, “that’s not going to be possible.”
Aside from the clear causal impact of cigarettes and poor health outcomes, smokers have one advantage when they step out to take a smoke-break. They get to take a small break within their work.
Even going out for lunch with a colleague can be rejuvenating. The point is, you need to take small chunks of break-time, and not let it wait for the weekend.
In addition, professionals like yourself just want to be helpful. When we lose this essence and feel like we lost our ability in being effective, we feel like we are burning out. The good news is that, as mentioned in Number 3, being engaged in continuous development is inoculative of feelings of burn-out. Check out my mentor & collaborator, Scott D Miller, Ph.D. article , Burnout Reconsider, appeared on Psychotherapy Networker. I was interviewed in a brief segment.
Devoting time for growth prevents the stalemate of being stagnant.
NUMBER 1. CHECK YOUR EMAILS
Lets face it. For many of us, including myself, emails are the first thing we dive into when we hit the office (or maybe even when we just get out of bed!).
The problem with checking emails is this: They are often what other people wants you to do, not what you want to do.
By the time you complete scrolling through and responding to emails, half your morning is gone. And for most people, mornings are the critical periods for creative and deep work. This gets lost with attending to the other people’s agendas, and then right before lunchtime, we end up proclaiming, “where has the time gone?”
“The problem with checking emails is this: They are often what other people wants you to do, not what you want to do.”
Suggestion: Refrain from leaving your email application open. Turn off alert notifications on your devices. Leave checking your emails for the end of the day, not at the start of it.
I am sure there are other pitfalls to lookout for if you want to stay productive. Would love to here from you want you do to avoid the busy-ness trap, and to stay productive in your professional (and personal) life as a therapist.
Love to hear your comments below.