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Top Secret Habits of Highly Effective Medics

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One thing most successful people have in common (medics and non-medics) is that they are creatures of habits, good ol’ productive habits. They have structured daily routines especially for the mornings; they don’t just wing it. They respect time, wake up early, take planning very very seriously, work smart, learn continuously and take care of their bodies inside and out.

Here are a few of the habits I’ve found high functioning medics have in common:

They plan everything

You know what they say- “Failure to plan is planning to fail”. It’s actually very true. Going through each day without daily goals or some degree of structure will invariably result in days that are minimally productive, stress-packed and interestingly enough, poor decision making.

“…For tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” ~ Malcolm X

Where to start? Have a big picture of all the things you want to accomplish within a set period of time e.g a day, a week, a month, a quarter, then from here make a to-do list. A to-do list to me is kinda like that unfortunate drawer in the kitchen with the most random things in it. From your big list, schedule tasks in a calendar or planner that you will have access to throughout the day. Challenge yourself by assigning task deadlines.

They wake up early

This really isn’t negotiable. The earlier you rise, the more time in the day you can take advantage of. It’s like getting a head start in a 24 km (24 hours) race. Waking up early doesn’t necessarily mean you start working early, you can use the bonus time to plan out your day, have a hearty and healthy breakfast, meditate, spend a little extra time with family, read a chapter from your favourite book, do something creative, or even better, exercise. You can also choose to go into the hospital earlier to familiarise yourself with any new patient files and progress of existing patients from the previous night.

“Dream big, but wake up early to actualise them.” ~Prince Hopkins Amachree

Waking up early most likely implies you’ll be going to bed early; putting you more in tune with the planet’s circadian rhythm, meaning you’ll be getting better quality sleep. You know, there’s nothing more draining than waking up and feeling more tired than you were before you went to bed. I recently came across a study that reported early risers are generally more optimistic people… Try it!

They practice the art of positive daily affirmations

Positive vibes only! 🙂 Be your biggest motivator and your biggest cheerleader too. There’s something about repeating positive words to yourself so frequently that you start to internalize them, so much so that you eventually start living them. The more you fuel your mind with positivity, the less you’ll need validation from others and the more positive vibes you’ll have to give. It’s contagious I tell ya! You’ll literally ooze positivity, and your colleagues and patients will definitely notice! My favorite thing about positivity is that it attracts positivity!

“Whether it’s a headache, fever, or the flu, no illness stands a chance against a doctor like you!” ~Unknown

They breathe gratitude

Always be grateful for something and anything, always! Your sight, your house, your career, the teeth you’re able to brush, the booming economy that’s so good so many people can afford to buy nice cars and contribute to traffic, your beautiful eyes and brain that are loving this article, The Medics Club that’s always here for you (always!), Medics Abroad that makes organising your electives seamless and super affordable, your family, friends and so much more. Even your flaws (because they make you unique), and disappointments (because they are blessings in disguise). If possible, get into the habit of writing a ‘Gratitude Journal’ for 5 minutes every morning and I guarantee you, you’ll slay your day more and more every day. Gratitude takes away the sense of entitlement, making you an easier going and generally just happier and more positive chap. Now that’s hot!

“Learn to be thankful for what you already have, while you pursue all that you want.” ~Jim Rohn

They never stop learning

Medicine is quite broad and ever-changing, and only with experience and repetition can we remember even 50% of the things we’re taught in medical school. It can be pretty difficult to stay on top of things but this is one of those scenarios where slow and steady is the way to go.

Imagine how many topics you’ll be excellent at if you studied a topic a day for a year, that’s 365 topics!!! (or realistically speaking maybe 362 topics because I’m leaving out Christmas Day, Easter Sunday and New Year’s Day, but you get my point LOL!). It could be for just 10-15 minutes each day, on the go, at dinner, just before bed or even better- during the bonus time you get in the mornings because you woke up early. It doesn’t always have to be actual medical topics, could be case scenarios, medical news, or medical innovations. It doesn’t always have to be medical either, could be gradually learning a new skill, or language. Anything to improve your knowledge and stay up to date with the latest clinical trends. After all, knowledge is power, so folks #LearnAThingADay.


“Achievement seems to be connected with action. Successful men and women keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit.” ~Conrad Hilton

Dr Wendy Evans-Uhegbu

The author Dr Wendy Evans-Uhegbu

Dr. Wendy Evans-Uhegbu is a graduate of The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, with experience in Connected Health, Medical Technology, Clinical Research, Medical Education, and Web Design. She is a member of the Medics Abroad team with the role of Chief Communications Officer. She also runs a Medical Communications and Publishing business, and is the author of the newly published children's book "The Things Around Me".

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