Doing one thing well

As we struggle to finish up our Fall quarter I am sure it leaves many of us feeling that we didn’t do anything well today, this week, or this quarter. We forgot to go back and see a patient, we didn’t call a friend back, we missed an deadline. Why is this? For me it is that I fall into the trap of trying to do too many things simultaneously, I over commit, I make agreements I know will keep me up at night. Or rather, it is a habit. A BAD HABIT at that. It’s a habit that leaves me beating myself up as I attempt to fall asleep.

So how can I change this? The answer is not more half hearted, caffeinated late night multi-tasking extravaganzas. The answer is being PRESENT for the one task at hand. Focusing on the one paper to write, not thinking of the other research we need to do, engaging with the one patient we are seeing at that moment, not the one that is in the operating room, listening to the one person we are having coffee with, not texting and trying to google something. Habits that keep us grounded in the present moment are GOOD HABITS.

This being present in the moment is how we build the habit of doing one thing well. If tomorrow you only focus on doing one thing well what will it be? Will it be focusing on really listening to the patient history for hidden clues, will it be focusing on how you research, focusing on how you talk to a concerned family member, focusing on your suture technique? If we make the conscious choice each day to be present, to the task at hand, then we will have succeeded at many of the tasks set before us, because we will be doing the one at hand well.

I now challenge you to do one thing well today, and tomorrow, and next week.