you're reading this at home, put Optometric Management down and immediately
walk away. Let me clarify: If you're spending your family or personal time with
work-related tasks, then you need to refocus your attentions.
It's so easy to slip
Cell phones, computers and portable electronic
devices are so effective at keeping us in the loop that it becomes easy to live
our lives out of sync. It's all too common for a parent to sit in the bleachers
but miss the kid's little league game in favor of reading e-mail. (And let's not
forget those who feel obliged to use cell phones in airport restrooms.) Suffice
to say, in the effort to juggle priorities, we can easily drop the balls.
It's an emergency
Of course, exceptions exist. A patient who
suddenly and unexpectedly loses their vision requires your immediate attention,
for example. A family member may be rushed to the hospital. But these instances
differ from the caller who desperately needs your opinion on which is better: number
one (the green table cloth) or number two (the yellow one).
Some argue that the lines between work
and leisure are blurring, but we could easily argue that they are being crossed.
By making our lives accessible to everyone
at every time, we compromise the ability of staff, family and even ourselves to
make decisions. Staff become reluctant to make decisions when you're only a call
away, a situation that can limit personal and professional growth.
You also miss what's right in front
of you. At a recent vendor presentation, I was impressed by one doctor who appeared
to take notes on his laptop. I asked what he thought of the meeting. "I really can't
say," he replied. "I spent most of the morning instant messaging some buddies to
get football scores."
On a more important note, staff and
patients don't always react well when they see the doctor is distracted.
The solution for the office is straightforward:
Limit non-emergency communications to specific times. Because we don't have our
leisure days broken into numerous appointment times, it becomes more challenging
to limit our personal time to only emergency calls. But it's just as vital to do
Like any tools, communications media,
both low- and high-tech, can provide wonderful or disastrous results. It depends
entirely on how the operator manages the situation. Now excuse me, I think I hear
one of my children coming down the steps.