I haven’t done a confessional in a while, so here we go with one:
I’m tired today. In fact, not just tired. Exhausted.
The proximate cause is the fact that I was up until midnight last night finishing some manuscript revisions that were due…uh…today. (Note: I am not usually a procrastinator. This issue is what brings us to today’s blog title.) Could I have finished them before midnight? Probably, but it would have meant not spending some focused time with some students yesterday, time that they deserved, and it would have meant skipping my workout. Could I have made more progress over the weekend? Again, yes, but the haircut, pedicure, long dog walks, and church were all good for my soul. If I’ve learned one thing over the years, it’s that I am more productive by allowing myself some rests while I’m running, so to speak. Over the weekend I also had student activities to prepare for this week- again something that got put off not because I procrastinated deliberately, but because my plate overfloweth.
If I pull my schedule since the first of the year, it’s been a wild ride. Lots of clinical time, lots of travel (meeting season, I’m almost done with you!), lots of student obligations, lots of research productivity. In a simplified world, I would simply decide to give up one of the things that’s keeping life so full to the point of being crazy-busy. But that’s a simplified, reductionistic view of my life and the things that I do. Could I give something up, or do a less-good job at some of these things? Yes, I could.
Is that going to happen? Highly unlikely. The truth is that while the last 3 months and 8 days have resulted in my current state of exhaustion, they’ve been a pretty terrific quarter year. The truth is that if I take a step back and contemplate giving up something that I’m doing right now, I don’t know what it would be. It’s all incredibly different, and maybe that’s why I love moving from researcher self to ICU doctor self to leader self to educator self to burn surgeon self. It keeps me challenged, maybe a bit off balance at times, but always striving to stay on top of my game. I feel privileged to get the opportunity to do so many things that I am truly passionate about, to be able to do them well, and to live to tell the tale.
Besides, I keep hearing a piece of (bad) advice I was given during my second year out of training. I was told it simply wasn’t realistic for me to have any sort of personal life and to maintain my vision of dividing my career fairly equally between clinician/ educator/ investigator/ leader.
Sometimes it’s exhausting, but it can be done. And this week, even in my fog, I’m feeling pretty good about it.
(And here’s a nice piece describing how to overachieve and not go insane…I don’t agree with it all, but I do agree with most.)