‘My love affair with my profession is over. I hate this bloody job. I can’t stand going into work any more. It makes me depressed, unhappy and, latterly, literally sick’.

This was a quote from a GP in an article in a medical journal called Pulse, it has stuck with me all week, it has made me think about what I do every day and it reminded me of an exercise that I often get clients to do if I am giving them a coaching session.

What this exercise does is that it forces them to step back and look at what they are doing every day, how what they do affects them, and most importantly it helps them to focus their thoughts on what they are passionate about and in doing this it can take them a step nearer to finding their purpose.

Anyone who finds that work is sometimes a daily grind, those who live for their weekends, and those that at times generally feel uninspired should do this exercise.
In short it gives you a reality check on how you are spending your day.

Here’s the theory.

Let’s consider that there are only 3 types of activities that you can do, some of these activities inspire us and we feel really energised when engaged in them, some activities are energy neutral and don’t really do much for us except waste time, whilst other activities are energy negative and we feel drained and uninspired when occupied with them.

Energy Positive activities.
These are activities that energise you when you are doing them, you could feel excited, fired up, or you could be just be totally engrossed in the doing and feel in your zone. Doing these activities make you feel that you can keep going for almost as long as you want to, they are what make you thrive, and they are probably even aligned to your life’s purpose.

Energy neutral activities.
There are times when what you are doing doesn’t really tax you at all, but it doesn’t really give you anything back either, there are times when you need to sit, when you need to chill, but collapsing on the sofa in front of the TV every night eating pizza and watching re-runs of friends is not always a good way to spend your time. Eventually these neutral activities will make you board and uninspired.

Energy Negative activities.
These are those dreadful tasks that feel like they drain your soul, they are tasks that drain you, and these tasks are probably directly opposite to your purpose in life. Doing these tasks for too long and without any clear purpose at the end of it will bring you down.

So if you are in a job that doesn’t inspire you, where you feel trapped, where you feel as if your purpose is gone, then it may be time for a change or it may be time to think about how you could start to align your profession again to your purpose.

Let us return to my colleague’s quote the reason for this may be that many days of a GPs working life is now spent doing things that don’t really need to be done, like hitting targets, ticking boxes and chasing QOF points we do these and other so called ‘enhanced service’ initiatives for a few extra pennies to keep the practice financially viable and for someone else’s political agenda. At other times I see patients that don’t really need to be seen with minor conditions that don’t need to be treated by a doctor, this includes the worried well and old Mrs Miggins popping in for her weekly chat.

Times are changing, it feels like the media and the politicians are out to get us, now less often are patients even grateful for what their GP does, often patient expectations are set so high that anything short of a miracle cure is not good enough, and with this our motivation to help people diminishes.

I endeavour to do energy positive activities, for me that’s spending my time seeing the patients I really need to see, automating and delegating the rest of my activities the best I can.

If you work in a team did you know that for a team to be happy and effective the ratio of good to bad comments in the workplace should be 3 to 1 (aka. the Losada ratio which is 2.9013 to be precise) so it’s no wonder that a third of my colleague’s will retire in the next 5 years because for some General Practice is not that nice of a place to work and this is why a recent BBC article asked why GPs are so angry, I think it’s because they could be losing their sense of purpose.

Here’s a few more articles that may help you combat the daily grind.

1. Say ‘No’ more often. (Here’s an article about the importance of saying No).

2. Build your Resilience (5 Ways to Build Resilience in your life).

3. ‘Don’t spend your time doing something that you don’t need to do at all’. (to misquote Drucker).

4. Avoid decision fatigue (here’s a few hints on how to do this).

5. Do something different, remember you are a generalist (The advantage of being a Generalist).

If this doesn’t work and if anyone needs a bit of life or business coaching just give me a call I’m happy to help.