mini-makeover + zen habits wisdom

June 24, 2010

notice anything?
yes, it’s a mini-makeover for this site! i am working a night float shift tonight (covering a resident on an interview), which means that i have some extra free time during the day today.

if you’re a google reader only, that’s totally okay — i tend to do most of my blog perusal this way too (i click through mostly just to comment!). [by the way, if i had to guess by looking at the numbers, it seems like it’s about 50/50 reader vs. actual site view . . . but this is a total guess.]

if you typically click through to the site, what do you think of the changes? any specific suggestions? while you’re at it, feel free to provide me with additional feedback. should i grow up and start using Capital Letters? stop blathering on about my happiness project? write more about the ol’ HP? stop posting beautiful but budget-sabotaging anthro gear? pick a more serious color scheme?

i plan on putting tabs up by the top, but i want to create the actual pages first.

zen habits classic

as you know, i am enamored with zen habits, a site devoted to

“. . . clearing the clutter so we can focus on what’s important, create something amazing, find happiness.”

interestingly, the material on zen habits is uncopyrighted, likely a decision that was made so that people like me (hi!) could share the site’s wisdom on their microblogs.

last week’s post was entitled 11 creative ways to avoid becoming a workaholic, and it struck a chord with me (as well as the 100+ others who ‘liked’ the post on google reader!). i thought i would re-post the valuable guidelines (author’s words are in italics) as well as add some commentary on how they might apply to my life and work in the medical field — one where a workaholic lifestyle is sometimes not only encouraged, but strictly enforced.

1. Set clear boundaries. Make sure your working hours are consistent.
admittedly, this is hard to do in the medical world! however, there is some degree to which this can be controlled. for me, i take this to mean keeping ‘homework’ (like studying, making presentations, etc) and work on long-term projects/research within the context of the work day — even if that means a longer contiguous stretch of time.

ie: it’s better to start earlier or stay later and finish a project with at-work focus than to bring it home and be half-heartedly doing it while tweeting, cooking dinner, or other non-work activities.

2. Get enough sleep! yes, yes, 1000 times yes! luckily, the nights of 30 hour calls are behind me. when it’s under my control (ie, when i’m not on call and getting DKA pages at 2 am), i am going to do my best to make sleep a priority.

3. Unplug from the internet. Getting work done doesn’t require an internet connection.
hard to do — and to be honest, sometimes doing things like PREP questions or making presentations does require internet. but they don’t require email, google reader, facebook, or other distractions. and there is some great learning and creating that can be done completely unplugged!

4. Spend time in nature. Spending time in nature is a great way reduce stress, disconnect from everyday worries and incoming work messages. Set aside time in your daily life to go outside.
i think i need to do this more. yes, it’s hot — but it’s green, lush, and pretty, too. the few times josh and i have walked around after dinner (even just to take out the TRASH!) it’s been enjoyable and refreshing.

5. Make time for friends, family and your partner. If you’re working too much, you’re probably sacrificing time with friends, family and your life partner. Doing work you love is extremely important, but so are the people who love you. Consider how you spend your time and what is truly important in life.
i love this one. time on a weekend spent just hanging out with your significant other or talking on a phone with a friend is NOT wasted! but sometimes it feels like this when there are projects hanging over my head. which is truly more important?

6. Eat real food. A side effect of working too much is eating out more and not eating real food. Real food includes, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Before you head out to the office, take time the night before or early in the morning to prepare a healthy breakfast and lunch.
the medical realm is filled with — well, fake (and unhealthy) food! i figured this out a while ago and typically bring my lunch to work. however, the tip goes on:

Most importantly, don’t eat while you’re working. Savor your food and enjoy every bite.
oops. i do this ALL the time (work while eating) and i eat FAST (i blame residency and the unpredictability of the pager). i still want to work on slowing down, and taking even 15 minutes of down time while eating lunch sounds like a delicious idea to me.

7. Find a hobby. Cultivate a hobby; preferably something that doesn’t relate to your day job. A hobby should be something that brings you joy; something you can lose yourself in and find your flow..
luckily, i already have several! running, cooking, and of course – this blog. and i have to admit, nothing flows as effortlessly for me as much as the time i spend writing each morning’s post.

8. Listen to your body. If you are working too much you will start feeling tired, cranky and apathetic.
i have had multiple call nights where my entire system just feels like it is about to implode and shut down, and no true ability to take a break. i don’t have a great solution for those put into that unfortunate situation, but there are signs that things might be improving soon for future generations of residents.

9. Constantly question your goals and life purpose. It’s important to continually reevaluate your goals, life purpose and behaviors. For example if you constantly stay late at the office, sacrifice personal relationships because of work, or check your email obsessively, ask yourself:

* Why am I doing this?
* What is the end goal?
* Are my behaviors healthy?

i really like this one. after all, if you are working hard, you should make sure it’s toward something that is truly important to you! often i don’t think people take this time to reflect, and realize it only after years of wasted time. unfortunately, the years — and often the relationships you might have neglected to nourish during those years — don’t come back.

10. Continue to cultivate healthy habits.
obviously, i am on board with this one. to me, life is ever a work in progress!

11. Reach out to others with a good work-life balance. If you think you’re a workaholic, reach out to others. Connect with friends, family, and consider therapy as an option. If you think this is negatively impacting your life, do something about the problem. We only get one life. So live it well and take care of yourself.

couldn’t have said it better myself. 🙂



workout: my body said “rest!” so i did.

clean eating parade: yet another sandwich dinner from clean eating! i made the salmon melts from the jul/aug 2010 issue with one lazy change –i used canned (wild pacific skinless/boneless) salmon instead of making my own fillets.

i also used regular (organic, but not low-fat) provolone because that’s what my local whole foods carries. love the golden-brown broiler marks!

a glimpse at the inside. i love the greek yogurt-based dressing — it had plenty of creamy oomph and let the onions, carrots, and celery meld nicely. lemon, mustard, and paprika provided the ‘tang’ that a traditional mayo dressing would have lended.

i used 2 6 oz cans of salmon and the ratio turned out very well. we have tons of leftovers!

reading: 10 PREP questions (with explanations) in the AM.


  • Reply Anonymous March 10, 2019 at 7:25 pm

    did your blog get a makeover?! yes! yes it did! 🙂

  • Reply Jess March 10, 2019 at 7:25 pm

    Site looks great! Clear and easy.

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