We usually don’t gravitate toward boring, do we? We love the bit of adrenaline rush, the thrill of something new and exciting. The challenge of meeting new obstacles.
So, what’s up with my new love affair for boring? And how can it help with physician burnout?
It all started last week when I was talking with one of my doctor clients. Every now and then, we both have “a-ha!” moments right in the middle of our call. This insight caught us both off guard. I knew I had to share it with you.
Here’s what happened:
My client, Steve, has been working with me for several months. He started out in search of ways to appreciate his medical practice more. Our work has resulted in his improved happiness, not only in his work, but in how he relates to his staff and his family.
Steve’s practice is varied. Some days, there are big challenges in terms of patient problems. Other days, he told me he feels like he could almost coast.
He’ll see a patient with Problem A, and he knows that Solution A is going to be the perfect fit for that patient.
Or he’ll see a patient with Problem B, and he knows that a referral to Doctor B has worked very well for other patients with that issue.
For a long time, Steve was clamoring for more of the challenging days. More adventure. But, as we’ve worked together, we’ve both come to know that “boring” has it’s benefits.
Here’s the highlights of how boring can help with physician burnout:
1. Sometimes dealing with the more straightforward issues can give us space to think about the challenges.
2. Embracing the ordinary can build up our self-confidence. When we know the right answer, and it comes easily, that can be a good thing.
3. Dealing with more classic problems, where we are not redesigning the wheel, can give us a brief respite from being in overdrive.
4. Patient problems are still problems, and solving them, even if they are “bread and butter” to us, matter greatly to our patients.
Once Steve and I mapped out how important the lulls in the challenges are, it was easy for him to look forward to more classic problems and allow them to be equally important in his daily schedule.
The big advantage for boring is that it can be the opposite of overwhelm.
And when we have less overwhelm, what’s not to like?
Bravo for boring!
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