6 ways you can make the most of the new year

Happy New Year, Look for Zebras readers!

Inspired by recent medical professionals’ blog posts, news articles, and internet finds, this month’s Watering Hole contains a few goals and self-improving activities to consider for the year ahead:

  1. Sharpen your technological savviness
  2. Protect your license your and livelihood
  3. Take your side hustle to the next level
  4. Build habits that increase your productivity
  5. Rethink what makes you happy
  6. Take care of yourself

Protect your license your and livelihood

This year, do something to protect yourself, your career, and your assets in the event of a lawsuit or other legal matter.

I’m not advocating that we all practice cover-your-ass medicine.

But I am suggesting that you read up on a legal matter that can (or could) affect you or your practice. Arm yourself with the knowledge to hopefully avoid unwanted board or government scrutiny, or at least know how to react when the scrutiny takes place.

Malpractice Experience and Lessons Learned is a great place to start. Crispydoc, an emergency medicine physician and blogger, wrote this excellent article about malpractice not for commiseration, but to offer detailed, actional advice. For example, what to do and say when giving testimony.

You might decide that law is a field that’s actually really interesting to you, like this doctor:  Melanie Heniff, MD, a Doctor by day, law student by night. In her article on KevinMD, she answers the two most common questions she gets as a physician in law school:

  1. Which is harder – medical school or law school?
  2. Are you crazy?

More importantly, she discusses how being a lawyer will make her a better physician, and vice versa.

Familiarity with legalese is a critical skill for any doctor, especially for those who do consulting or nonclinical work. You’ll be asked to sign contracts, NDAs, and other documents that you must fully understand before adding your signature.

Even some comedians now require show attendees to sign an NDA before being admitted to the show venue.

Sharpen your technological savviness

Fierce Healthcare reported on a survey that found 9 in 10 organizations in the healthcare industry are still using fax machines.

For tech-loving physicians, this can mean some great side gig opportunities, such as telemedicine or EMR implementation support.

But for the rest, being open to learning new technologies has the potential to increase your productivity, secure your job, and offer services that increase patient satisfaction.

Being tech-savvy will also help you protect your digital assets from things like malware or the aptly-named watering hole attack.

Take your side hustle to the next level

An episode of Your Financial Pharmacist with Brittany Hoffman-Eubanks, PharmD, Founder and CEO of Banner Medical discusses Going Beyond Six Figures Through Medical Writing. It can be done. Banner Medical is an inspiration for the aspiring medical writer, offering continuing medical education, editorial content, and academic content.

Doc of All Tradez is back at it after a pause from blogging with Why Working Part-Time May Not Be a Good Idea? Response. This article is his response to a statement from another physician blogger that going part-time can be detrimental for some doctors. It can lead to making you not available to your patients, losing respect from your peers, not getting promoted, and shrinking your network. But every doctor’s decision regarding their work schedule – whether part- or full-time – is a personal one.

LinkedIn is an investment of time that pays off when it comes to growing a side hustle. I am 1 Percent stresses the importance of including details and taking steps to grow your network in How To Use LinkedIn For Career Success.

Build habits that increase your productivity

Alex Vermeer, who blogs about simplifying life, productivity, life hacks, and the like creates this incredibly helpful visual guide How to Get Motivated: A Guide for Defeating Procrastination.

An interview with Dr. Nneka Unachukwu, CEO of Ivy League Pediatrics, on the Doctors Unbound podcast delves into The Successful Habits of Physician Entrepreneurship. Among the habits are:

  • Learning to delegate
  • Learning to “time batch”
  • And my favorite:  Considering your professional self as a company, no matter where your paycheck is coming from.

Rethink what makes you happy

If 2019 was comprised of monotonous work, sleep, work cycle to bring in a paycheck, it may be helpful to rethink what truly makes you happy.

I enjoyed Are You Happy with Your Money? Money and Happiness Through Different Life Stages by Dr. Grace Kim of Richer Life DVM.

I’m not proud of it, but I myself to others. A lot. Dr. Nikki of The Female Money Doctor writes about how this tendency can cause us to spend more money than we need to or want to in Comparisonitis – A Spending Trigger We Could All do Without.

Take care of yourself

Finally, a quick reminder to take care of yourself in the new year.

A study out of the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Services in Canada and recently published in JAMA found that physicians undergo less guideline-recommended preventive testing than non-physicians. I’m guilty of this myself for a certain test involving a speculum.

However small, a decision that is good for your health may improve your life, your relationships, and your happiness on a larger scale.

Make the most of 2020

Looking for more ideas on how to make the most of 2020? Take a look at our previous article New Year’s Career Goals for Doctors and, for the business-minded, Entrepreneurial New Year’s Resolutions for Physicians.

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