Managing Your Day-to-Day

Managing Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus & Sharpen Your Creative Mind

Edited by Jocelyn K. Glei

Five Stars!

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While we were in Wisconsin this summer, I was reading Veterinary Economics with my family. Mom, Amanda, Dave, Sara and Cara were all reading books. I looked over the top of my magazine to ask what everyone else was reading, and Dave, who maybe should have known better than most of the rest of the group save Mom, was the only one left in the room. Everyone else had wisely tucked their books under their arms, grabbed their drinks and sprinted in different directions. They knew I could not catch them all. I guess I kind of have a reputation for stealing books.

So I stole (borrowed) Dave’s book, and it was GREAT! Really, I stayed up one night past midnight to finish it, because it was that good, but mostly because I knew I could not help stealing it again during the day while Dave probably wanted to read it, and I wanted to stop being a jerk.

It’s books, people! Not hard drugs. I can totally handle it.

The book was written by an amazing group of creative minds. I have pages of quotes, website links and new books to read, which is the most exciting thing of all about the book – where it leads next! I already had the books on writing by Stephen King and Ray Bradsbury on my list of books to read, and both authors were quoted in this book, which was neat.

Stephen King said that it helps him to have a routine about writing. He takes his multivitamin and gets a drink (tea or juice) and sits down to write at the same time every day. That COMPLETELY freaked me out all week. I yelled as much to Russ. “DID YOU KNOW,” I yelled (sorry about the caps – I really was freaked out, and really did yell), “that the next time you walk by someone and you are too close not to smile or say hi,” I paused here to say “You know how sometimes you walk by someone and you are too close not to smile or say hi?”

“Hmm,” Russ said, which let me know he totally was following me.

“THAT GUY YOU THINK IS NORMAL COULD BE AS NOT NORMAL AS STEPHEN KING!! Russ, Stephen King takes a multivitamin! Like someone you think is a normal guy!” At this point, I believe Russ stopped following me, but even if he did not get it, I was completely freaked out. I LOVE when books rattle me that much, and this one did.

It also inspired me to do the things I do better, which I also love. My job is not officially creative – maintaining health and treating illness – but it is always good to get a new angle on things. And really, SOME parts of veterinary medicine are done better when creativity is involved. And other things I love to do – mainly writing and creating stuff for social media for work and fun – those things DO have a creative element, so I felt that there were many direct applications from the book right to my life.

The book dealt quite a bit with managing the powerful monster that is email. It made me appreciate how much creative professionals have to deal with urgent and disruptive issues communicated via email that I just do not need to deal with on such an intense level. So much of veterinary medicine casework is hands on and needs to be resolved either completely or to an acceptable stopping point that I do not deal with the ongoing open projects that need immediate attention from me on near the level that creative professionals do.

I LOVED the chapter on multitasking. Summary: Don’t. It is not possible. If you think you are good at multitasking, you are probably just more skilled at switching quickly between projects than other people are, and you would still do better overall if you did not do that.

One of my New Year’s Resolutions this year has been to ONLY single-task, and it is HARD! I think my quality of medicine has gone way up, and my overall enjoyment of life in general has gone way up. It is still a struggle, but I try to completely finish one case before I move on to the next – not possible if you have multiple sickies to care for (though I can still work on completing one task or block of tasks before moving to the next), but it IS possible (but very difficult!) if you have one complex medical or surgical case and then another right afterwards. The upsides are that the pet who needs you most has your complete attention while they need it and receives better care, and once you have finished a case, it is done and you can relax or focus on the next pet.

Also, at the end of the day, you can do medical role call (Everyone okay?) and if no one woofs or meows at you because they are all home recovering, all better or transferred to the emergency hospital for continuing care, you do not need to stay into the wee hours finishing medical notes and trying to remember what you forgot, because you got everything done before each pet left. SO cool.

Now, on to other areas of life – giving my daughters my complete attention when they need it, eating a meal and doing nothing else, cleaning one thing then the next. Hard stuff people! Even though that is the chapter that resonated with me the most, it is also the one I will need to reread the most. (I am buying my own copy of the book Dave!)

I also loved Gretchen Rubin’s advice to write every day. I have loved following her discoveries on happiness as she writes about them, and just think she is an incredible person. So if she says to do an exact thing, I am most likely going to try it. Five days in. So far, I love it. I missed you, writing!

Great book. You will love it.

Thank you Dave!

I have four more “already read” books to review and many more to read! Next on my reading list is every book mentioned in THIS book and the new list (YAY!) of leadership books recommended by Tom McFerson and the others in the June Veterinary Economics issue.

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