- Dr. Eric Rooker
3 Habits That Have Changed My Life
Today I want to share 3 Personal Habits that have changed my life. These are things that have positively impacted my personal and family life. Two of the three habits are habits that I picked up in 2019 as I found the need to adjust my life as my kid has grown up.
#1 WAKE UP!
Did you know if you wake up before 5 am you will have been awake for 1.5 MORE hours than the average person?
This means that you were able to add 10.5 hours more time to your week. Totaling this up over a year and you were able to have 23 DAYS more productive time!
Leveraging this advantage over my peers and competitors I've been able to start a business from NOTHING, continue to grow our practice as well as service my current clients at a higher level than ever; all without compromising my family life.
As anyone with young children knows, any time to yourself is at a premium so being able to be up before my girls and having that time to think, create and progress has been HUGE for improving myself and my businesses.
All I can say is give it a try. My best tip is set your alarm 10 minutes earlier every week. This slow step down wont even be noticed by your body, but in two months you will be up at 5 am if you're at the national average currently.
If you're like me you will find that your body actually looks forward to this time and usually wakes you up 5 minutes before your alarm will!
DIVORCE YOUR PHONE
Next time you get home do this exercise; take a small pad of paper and a pen and tally every time you check your phone in the first hour you're at home.
I bet the results will surprise you. Deloitte's 2018 Global Mobile Consumer Survey found that the average person checks their phone every 12 minutes! In my experience, this is even worse in veterinary medicine because practitioners are so service driven. Our commitment to providing service to our clients drives us to always check if we have an email, text or phone call that needs a response.
It is this very drive that causes burnout because there is no separation between "church and state," that is to say we don't have a border between work and our life/family. The lack of a clearly defined border means we never actually "clock out" of work and are always thinking about what's next.
In order to counteract this attitude and prevent my own burnout I have begun placing my phone on a charger when I get home for work for at least 1 hour. This has significantly increased my "in the momentness" with my family, as well as increasing my energy to do work when I'm actually working.
I know I personally feel more connected with my daughter now since work isn't "getting in the way" of our limited time together. Prior to doing this I did communicate to my clients that if there is an emergency they need to call our clinic line instead of myself. They also know that if they have any random questions they can text or call and I will get back to them later in the evening after my "unplugged" time is over. Obviously, cannot do this on nights on call BUT if I can get some separation the other 6 days of the week it has proven quite beneficial!
LUNCH BREAKS ARE BACK!
When is the last time you ate your lunch not on the road?
Prior to 2017 I know I could answer this question with a resounding <10%. I was quite proud of my ability to work through lunch, grab a fast food lunch or drive and eat. I felt like it was a badge of honor to skip lunch.
What I failed to realize was that this habit, which was horrible for my overall health, was also have a deleterious effect on my mental capacity. The fact that I was running low on blood sugar, experiencing decision fatigue and just tired was not something I should have been proud of.
Yet this is a habit that we instill in ourselves and our veterinary students. I don't know how many times I've heard, "I didn't know if we would work through lunch or not" from a student in my truck. Clearly this habit has pervaded our industry.
What we fail to realize is research on psychology and mental processing has shown how important it is to take a break during the day. By taking a short lunch break of 15-20 minutes or pulling over and taking some time to yourself, you're not inconveniencing any clients or slowing workflow down, in fact I would contend that over time you will improve it!
The effect of physical and mental fatigue will slow you down much more than any 15 minute break will. Refueling mentally and physically can be done in such a short window!
For example, I re-enforce this advantage through a lunch routine that is variable but can involve me simply pulling over to eat lunch, driving and eating while listening to comedy central (if I'm really tight on timed programs), OR even just pulling over to take a 15 min nap if I'm exhausted (I will eat my lunch driving after I wake up).
This simple routine has allowed me to have a new and rejuvenating burst of energy in the afternoon. Now when I attack afternoon calls it's with a positive opportunity driven attitude. These small lunch resets have also given me tons of creative energy as I build and create new programs for our clinic.
I can honestly say that since I've begun emphasizing these 3 habits I have been able to have a larger impact on my clients and improve my work-life balance. Therefor, I challenge you OTO'ers to try to take on at least one of these habits to accelerate yourself professionally!
Carry on OTO'ers
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