Time Management Tips from the Dr.....

I am so excited to feature this guest post by Dr. Stacie Allmond on the website tonight! Stacie and I went to high school together and she graduated 1 year ahead of me in school. She got her Bachelor's degree from Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah and then got her Medical School Doctorate at VCOM in Spartanburg, SC. She is currently in General Surgery Residency at Virginia Tech SOM/Carilion Clinic in Roanoke, VA. 

I posted something on Instagram back in January about my goal for this year of finding balance and clarity, while still trying to expand in the business field. I asked for tips on "doing it all & doing it well" and Stacie commented about how she works hard to find balance daily, especially when she works 60-80 hours a week! I immediately reached out to her about doing a guest post, because I felt that she would have a lot of great advice to offer my reader (and myself)! Thanks so much, Stacie! 

Stacie and her husband Todd.

Stacie and her husband Todd.

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My daily routine is definitely far from routine. I try to keep some parts of it routine, but most of the time it is unpredictable, which is part of the reason I love my chosen field of becoming a surgeon. My mornings usually start between 4-5am. My day usually ends around 6pm or so. My workweek averages between 60-80 hours with one day off per week, and I am on call for 24-30 hours at a time one or two weekends a month. One thing that is ALWAYS constant is that I turn on my Keurig and make a cup of coffee as soon as I get up! 

My days vary from things being mundane routine housekeeping tasks, to a trauma alert that needs to be rushed to the operating room, and everything else in between. Patient care is the focus of my day no matter what service I'm working on. Residency is more than just working though; there are case presentations, educational conferences to attend, skills to learn and master, you are continually learning, growing, and studying. Even though I may get home at 6pm, I still have to read and study, cook dinner, and spend time with my husband. I guess by now you get the point that my day can sometimes be pretty unpredictable and my day off is much appreciated! So, how do I keep it all together? In short, it requires commitment, determination, time management, attempts at meal planning (ha) and support from my husband and family. 

When I started residency one of my mentors' advice to me was "make every moment in your life count, you don't have time to have wasted moments". That statement made me really think about how I spend my time, and how I choose to live with intention. Life is short! I try not to waste time on things that don't add value to my life. So when I have my day off and my husband and I just want to have a "lazy day", we take it! 

Motivation -- I believe the things that motivate me through the rough days can be applied to anyone who is working towards a goal. Keeping the short-term goals and the ultimate end-goal in mind on a daily basis is imperative and helps keep me focused when I'm tired. I end every day with thinking "what could I have done better today? What were my deficits today and how can I improve on them?" My professional on-going goals revolve around becoming a better physician inside and outside of the operating room, fostering professional relationships, and just learning as much as I can on a daily basis. In the long-term I'd like to specialize in breast oncology surgery as well as maintain a general surgery practice. 

In any career, you have your down moments. The most important thing to realize is that there will be bad days, but you can't let that discourage you, and instead, use it to motivate you. It's important for me to uphold a positive attitude even though I may not be feeling it at that moment. You never know what someone else is going through so I always treat others with respect even through my personal frustrations or struggles. Your day is what you make of it, and seeing a smile from a stranger can surprisingly life you up! 

In my personal life, I have a few ambitions to help make my life "flow". Prioritizing my limited free time with whom, what, and where it goes is extremely important to me. As far as time management goes at home, outsourcing certain tasks have been a huge help to us! We have someone deep clean our house every other week and we utilize the Kroger Clicklist (where someone doe your grocery shopping for you!!). If you can afford to outsource household tasks (the ones you don't enjoy spending time on anyway), I highly suggest it. It may not be for everyone, but for us, it is worth it and gives us more time to spend with each other doing the things we most enjoy. 

Physical and spiritual wellness is something I strive for that helps me achieve balance in my life as well. Since I am sometimes working during church services, I try to incorporate daily readings into my routine. I have "blessings for the morning/evening" books with short reading that I read to keep me grounded in my faith during the busy times. Staying in touch with my faith keeps life in perspective for me and is a central aspect to our marriage as well. As far as physical well-being goes - I don't have time for an hour at the gym everyday, so I try to do T25 workouts and I follow BodyFit by Amy on Facebook and Youtube, she's great! 

Last, but not least, maintaining personal relationships can be hard when you are always on the go. No matter how busy I am, my marriage is always priority. My husband is my #1 supporter and I wouldn't be successful without him by my side! I don't know what I'd do without talking to my family and best friend regularly as well. So, when you achieve your dreams, don't forget about the ones who supported you along the way!

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 Aside from Stacie's professional goals, her personals goals include: 

  • Taking an international or "big" vacation every year with her husband (They did Ireland in 2016 an plan to do Puerto Rico this year)
  • Take small day or weekend trips to various places when they have the opportunity
  • Read more non-medical books, learn to garden & paint (or some other non-medical skill)

Stacie and her husband just purchased their first home, and they are considering family planning in a couple of years. Please feel free to share or comment below on this post. I hope that you found this both insightful & motivational. xoxo, Meredith