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Do You Do the Pajama Time Dance?

boundaries burnout charting coaching mindset negative emotions negative thoughts Jun 18, 2022
Stethoscope and chart by Darko Stojanovic of Pixabay
For many years, I did the pajama time dance. Leaving clinic late, with lots of charts open, inbox full. Get home to help with dinner (if they hadn't already eaten) or bedtime for the kids, and once they were down, back to work, staring at a screen. Many times, I would be messaging specialist colleagues with questions, and many times, they would answer back in real time. Because we were all doing the dance.
If you've been with me for a while, you'll know that workload is a real issue for many of us, and not one that we solve for here. The number of patients we see, the amount of inbox items, etc is generally out of our control.
But when we do the pajama time dance regularly, and plan for it, we also aren't being realistic about the way we need to run our day, based on the facts of the schedule and workload.
I mentally and verbally argued for years about the unjustness of 20-minute appointments. Patients always needed more, and I gave more and it 100% contributed to the pajama time dance. And over years of doing this, I felt more and more deeply undervalued, because I wasn't valuing my time or expertise. I wasn't seeing the 20 minute slot as reality; I was looking at it, and committing to 30 or 40 minutes of time with the patient, and more charting afterwards. And this felt justified because it's how it "should" be. In my mind.
Does this sound familiar? Because I know I am not alone.
But when we live this way, we are not being honest with ourselves or anyone else about time. If my schedule is filled with mostly 20 minute slots, and I am scheduled for 16-18 visits per half day, and I am making everything 30-40 minutes of my face-to-face time, then I am adding anywhere from 160-360 minutes of face-to-face time to my day, every day.
160-360 minutes per day.
And if my notes aren’t finished during that time and my inbox isn’t touched during that time? Shudder.
It’s not a personal failing. It’s not an indictment of your skills or knowledge. It’s not because you are slow, lazy or inept. But it is either the unwillingness to look at the reality of the time, or time-blindness (unawareness of time chronically), or a refusal to value your own time enough to commit to make a change.
So, if this is you, and you are tired of the pajama time dance, what are you willing to do next? Will you start carrying a timer? Will you be up front with patients about the time allotted to the appointment, and plan the visit accordingly? Will you enlist support staff to help you?
Because you aren’t stuck. Or screwed. You are capable of change, even if it’s difficult or uncomfortable. You learned medicine, which was both difficult and uncomfortable at times (being pimped in the OR while holding a retractor for hours….).
And help is available. I help people 1:1 work on their clinical efficacy, and my colleagues, Dr Sarah Smith(Charting Champions) and Dr Diana Mercado-Marmarosh (ADHD Life Coach) both have amazing group coaching programs that save Physicians and Allied Health Professionals HOURS of time each week.
To schedule with me, click here for a free mini-session, or click the links above to check out the group programs.

Hi There!

I'm Megan. I'm a Physician and a Life Coach and a Mom. I created this blog to help other Physicians and Physician-Moms learn more about why they feel exhausted, burned-out and overwhelmed, and how to start to make changes. I hope that you enjoy what you read, and that it helps you along your journey. And hey, if you want to talk about coaching with me, I'm here for that too! I offer a free 1:1 call to see if we are a good fit. Click the button below to register today.

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