What makes a physician effective? How does a busy doctor maintain their professional and personal productivity, while advancing their chosen career? What are the skills that enable some physicians to achieve greatness in their chosen field?
As a young(-ish) physician, these questions colour my everyday practice of medicine. This blog is intended to explore the answers to these questions while documenting my personal journey from ‘good enough’ to great.
Who am I?
I am a Respiratory & Sleep Medicine Physician practising in Melbourne, Australia. I spend 60% of my week in a public hospital doing inpatient and outpatient care, quality assurance, supervision of trainees and the usual collection of meetings and miscellanea. Another 40% of my time I work as a Senior Lecturer at the Melbourne Medical School, The University of Melbourne.
Until recently I also had a one-day per week private practice, but I have recently closed this in order to focus on my professional development: I am studying a Graduate Diploma of Clinical Education with a view to completing a Masters in due course.
I am also a partner to Felicity and father to two young boys.
I once worked with a Professor of Respiratory Medicine who gave me a copy of David Allen’s ‘Getting Things Done’. After reading that masterpiece of personal productivity I did what all good productivity geeks do: I wrote my own personal to-do manager, hosted it on my home server and used it for several years to manage all of my capturing, contexts and priorities. If I had only considered releasing it for a wider audience I might now be at the helm of a fifty-person company like Amir Salihefendic!
After my home server died I went several (ineffective) years without a formal productivity strategy. At the start of 2016, I became reinvigorated. My efficiency and organisation improved after I installed Todoist on each and every one of my devices. I was getting more done, but the question soon became: how do I know I am getting the right things done?
My Amazon Kindle reading list is now over one hundred books. It features personal development and productivity texts by the likes of Cal Newport and Charles Duhigg. There are also ‘old-school’ writings by Covey and others. I have become a podcast junkie and spend as much of my free time as possible on self-improvement strategies. Felicity has noticed my increased effectiveness, and I find I am more available to my young family when I am present with them.
What is Productivity?
Anyone can make a list and complete the tasks on the list. The truly effective know what to put on their list. I will explore how I define what I need to get done, prioritise my tasks and manage my calendar.
As part of this project, I will review books and podcasts that add to my own understanding of effectiveness. I will examine strategies in the spheres of clinical practice, teaching and research. Finally, I also will discuss my personal use of apps and technological aids to productivity.
Why Productivity for Physicians?
I am one.
As a physician managing the competing priorities of a profession, family and ongoing personal development, I am acutely aware of the difficulties we face. Artisans from many professions can claim to be busy, but I plan to write what I know. Of course, most productivity and effectiveness advice will be also relevant to those practising other trades.
I hope you will find this website useful as you strive to optimise your own professional and personal performance!