Physicians Need to Take Time for Themselves

May 15, 2015

Rushing to increase the daily workload can not only harm patients, but physicians as well.

Doctors and their office staffs, like nearly everyone else, are living to ripe old ages. As such, they need to pace themselves for the long haul. A personal story helps illustrate the point: I worked with my friend Peter, for Smyth Manufacturing Company, the famed book binding equipment manufacturer, the summer before we entered college. It was my only time in a job shop, and I learned many lasting lessons, such as the importance of cleanliness in an industrial setting.

Before you left for the evening, you oiled your machine, wiped the floor and counters, and cleared away scraps and extraneous items so you could begin the next day without impediments. The craftsmen sometimes elaborately cleaned and reorganized items in the middle of the day as well, as they switched from one job to another. When you're working with potentially dangerous industrial equipment, you can't afford to have a stray bolt or paper clip lying around that could catch in a gear and fly across the factory floor into someone's face.

Control of their immediate environment

As deftly as these job shop professionals worked, they continually maintained control of their immediate environment because they understood its importance on many levels. In case you think they were being overly cautious or were paid some admirable hourly wage, guess again. These workers were paid by the piece, and they were known as "piece workers."

Any one of them could have easily increased their output on a given day by slacking off on cleaning and maintenance procedures. After all, if you can turn out seven pieces in a day spending 30 percent of your time cleaning and maintaining, you might be able to produce more than 10 pieces if you completely concentrate on your output. In the short-term, you could make more money. Longer term, you could injure yourself or others, create more waste, shorten the equipment's life, or get fired.

The lesson for us all: "pay as you go," clear the decks each night, arrive ready for the next day, and pace yourself for the long haul.