Here’s a peek behind the curtain of my work days, as I’ve been asked about this recently, but before you read ahead, here’s this disclaimer: It’s not ground-breaking nor particularly exciting stuff. The keys for me to remain efficient and effective are consistency, structure, awareness, preparation and execution.
4-5AM: Wake up (before even Jocko Willink, might I add??!!), because early bird gets the worm, eh? Grab some locally-roasted coffee, fire up the computer and work on catching up from my previous work day, as well as doing pre-charting for the day ahead.
5-6AM: Self-care. I use a self-designed, balanced schedule to not have to think about what I need to do for that day:
Monday/Wednesday/Saturday = Yoga
Tuesday/Friday = Weight Training
Thursday/Sunday = Outdoor Recreation
6:30AM – 7:30AM: Shower, Breakfast, Dog Walk. I start my day with a healthy meal, usually 1 of 2 options:
Breakfast #1: 3 Eggs, Refried Beans, Cheddar Cheese, Roasted Sweet Potatoes on Salad Greens or Spinach
Breakfast #2: Vegan Smoothie w/ Coconut Milk, Pea Protein Powder, Banana, Blueberries, Peanut Butter, Cocao Powder, Maple Syrup
7:30AM – 8:15AM: Work prep. I walk to work (2 minutes down the street), get situated at my desk, finish anything up from the day before, and make sure I am maximally prepared for my day ahead. We do a provider-nurse huddle between 8-8:15, wherein we discuss the schedule, what is to be expected, and this is where my preparation begins to pay dividends. If I am precepting a student, this is the time where we review their documentation from the day before, discuss interesting cases, work on educating them about the PA career or just let the day unfold.
8:15AM – 12:30PM: Morning of patient care. I work in family medicine, so I see all ages, and like that variety. Patient visits are usually 15-60 minutes, depending on the complaint and what is available on the schedule.
12:30PM – 1PM: Lunch break. I walk back home to let my dog out and physically remove myself from the office, eat lunch, then head back for finishing touches on the morning. Lunch is almost always some Indian food from Trader Joe’s…I know, it’s frozen food, but I like it, it’s convenient, and I don’t have to make a big decision about.
1PM – 5PM: Afternoon of patient care. Nearly identical to the morning, but without the huddle. Always striving to get out on time (5PM), or close to it, so I’ve gotta stay focused and on top of seeing patients, writing notes, managing messages, paperwork and keeping good communication with the support staff.
5:30PM: Dinner. Usually my wife and I sit down and catch up, typically we are eating a meal that we prepared previously and are just heating up. Mondays are “date night”, so we invite each other to speak freely and use the opportunity to discuss anything important and/or heavy.
6-7:30PM: Wind down. Usually a show or two on Netflix, and if I’m feeling motivated, some passive stretching while we are watching.
7:30PM: Prepare for sleep. Brush teeth, read a bit, then go to sleep. Rinse and repeat the next day if working, and if not, tip the scales towards more life and less work.
Is any of that particularly excited? Probably not. What it is though is what works best for me, optimizing my work days, and allowing me to have structure, life-work balance and feel like I’m firing on all cylinders. You should figure out a routine that allows you to be at your best, one that compliments how you function, and stick to it.
DISCLAIMERS: 1) The views expressed here are my own and do not necessarily represent the views of my employer. 2) I don’t know what I don’t know, so feel free to message me if you don’t agree with something that you read. 3) By clicking any links from Efficient Clinician to their helpful website and purchasing any of their products, I will receive a percentage of the purchase. But, as I said previously, I will never commit to any agreement that will sacrifice my integrity.
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