Back when I first became a chiropractor, I set out into the world with a pair of hands and a basic goal: help my community by offering my take on health, fitness, and nutrition. I read books, researched articles, and listened to as many wellness “experts” as I could. That was pretty much it. Very straight-forward.
As everything has grown larger and more complex, my responsibility has expanded. I get asked ever more complicated questions that require even more research – but I have a great team working beside me who love to get their “hands dirty”. The clinic has grown to encompass wellness events, supplements, sleeping products, services, and a growing list of books, which all comes with additional duties and oversight. And amidst all that, I’m still writing articles on a monthly basis.
My expanded roles mean that I can’t waste time. If I do, I may get the work done, but I’ll have nothing left at the end of the day. My social life, my fitness, my family, and my sleep will all suffer. Those things are non-negotiable.
I can’t wake up and launch right into work. It feels like going right into fight or flight mode if I try to start immediately, and I end up all over the place. Instead, I start the day with a cup of coffee, read the sports section of the paper, play a few puzzles and take “Boof”, my Golden Retriever, out for a walk. The coffee and the puzzles get the cognitive gears going and the paper gives me a glimpse of the outside world before plunging myself into the world of health and wellness. Breakfast usually consists of a blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, cranberries, one apple, two raw eggs, natural greek yoghurt and a sprinkling of fish oil, all blended together to make a wonderfully tasting, free radical fighting, immune system boosting smoothie.
For the first hour I’m in clinic I check all the practice member files to ensure that the day’s x-rays have been reviewed and the appropriate exercises printed. I then answer emails and take/make phone calls, prioritizing the most important or time consuming ones first. This is nuts and bolts stuff that I can do without thinking too hard or getting creative. I just have to sit down and do it. It allows me to tick something off the list and move onto more difficult tasks with a small victory under my belt.
Then I take a short break, maybe ten or fifteen minutes. Since I work long hours and answer to no one but my own guilty conscience, I get to take a lot of breaks. They’re essential to my success.
Now it’s on to the real fun stuff: the chiropractic work. I’ll buckle down and adjust over two super intense shifts, closing down all the email and other time-consuming activities to make sure I have 100% focus on the spine lying in front of me. I strive to make sure that my adjustments at 7:00pm are just as high quality as the one’s at 9:00am. Quite often there will be a few curve balls thrown into a shift that are entirely impossible to plan for. Even some of the practice members that I have been seeing for years like to challenge me in unexpected ways (hence I apologise if you have ever had to wait for an appointment and I thankyou for being patient. One day you may need the extra time as well 🙂 ).
At lunch time it’s to the pool/gym for training and socializing. The social aspect is almost as important to me as the physical part of working out. I love that face-to-face contact to recharge. I need to get my training out of the way so I don’t have it hanging over the rest of my day, interfering with my focus on work.
After the pool/gym, I usually eat a big couscous or quinoa salad with pumpkin falafels and mixed beans. It’s my biggest meal of the day and gives me steady, even energy.
I spend the rest of my workday catching up on any manuscripts or proposals, checking emails and taking care of random stuff that pops up. Sometimes I will be sore and completely shattered at the end of the day. I often say to my friends that being a chiropractor is often like playing a full contact sport! But I do get adjusted by our other chiropractor’s once a week. I couldn’t imagine how hard the week would be if I didn’t have some great chiropractor’s and myotherapist’s around me.
Once darkness falls, I (try to) log off. Night time is family time, but occasionally work calls. I always have f.lux installed on my computer to combat the circadian disruption caused by blue light. F.lux is a computer program that adjusts a computer display’s colour temperature according to its location and time of day. The program was designed to reduce eye strain during night-time use and to prevent disruption of normal sleep patterns. That way I can finish work and get right to sleep without missing a beat. Check out the following website if you would like some more information on f.lux: http://justgetflux.com/
1. Make a gradual transition into your peak performance state – If you can launch right into work, fine. Do it. Most people, like me, can’t. Give yourself a “work warmup” in the morning. Do something that gently uses your brain without stressing you out.
2. Emphasize focused, distinct periods of work – Communication (emails, phone calls, texts, chats), creation (actually doing the work), personal time (breaks, gym, meals). Don’t run yourself ragged trying to do everything at once. You’ll fail and the work will suffer.
3. Take frequent breaks – Humans can only focus on one thing for about 20 minutes, give or take. If you try to marathon your way through the workday, you’ll be wasting a ton of time floundering on tasks when you could just stop for a few minutes, take a deep breath, and come back to knock it out of the park.
4. Nurture energy and motivation – Getting yourself adjusted, eating well, exercising regularly, and maintaining a narrow focus will keep you energized and motivated.
5. Minimize screen use after dark – Try your best to not work after dark. You need that uninterrupted block of free time to unwind, go out, hang out, and recharge for the next day. If you absolutely must work late, install f.lux on your computer.