Monday, December 8, 2014

Joy is not found in finishing an activity, but doing it

"Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is not found in finishing an activity, but doing it"

I have been kind of missing in action the entire semester, but I am very thankful for Ben for keeping some post up to date.  This semester I was dedicated to setting a stricter study schedule and sticking to it. Every night I would make an extremely detailed to-do list:  4-hours USMLE, studying X amount of topics, reviewing X amount of lectures and whatever masters assignments I had. In the beginning, it worked great. Well to be exact, the schedule worked for the first 3 weeks. After the first three weeks, I started my surgical placement. I tried to fit in the decided number of learning objectives within breaks to have time for USMLE studying at home and would hope to still find time to review lectures. I would force myself to stay awake even though the quality of my work at that time was less than impressive. 

Seriously, what was I thinking … I wouldn’t get done from the hospital at 6/7pm.. To study for the USMLE 4hours, then finish the amount of topics I wanted before 2am, master's degree assignments and still eat and live?!

 I am “to-do list dependent”. I love them! To be honest, I think most of my success came from refusing to sleep or relax until my to-do list was empty, but after weeks of lack of sleep and anxiety because I couldn’t sleep well with out an empty to do list, I came to a realization. I decide it was time to be less strict on myself while on placements. I made my new objective: “Study as hard as you can until you are tired”. I put tape on my computer and wrote a permanent to do list of subjects for the entire term. When I exhausted one subject, I had the list to direct other areas to move on to. I found a coffee shop (Costas Coffee) that is a 2-minute walk from home, and would camp there everyday. If I was focused for a satisfactory length of time but felt the need for a break, I took one and socialized with the workers and other Costas consumers. I noticed an increase in the quality of my work, I wasn’t racing a deadline that I set for myself and I was actually getting more work done.  I also slept better because everyday, I studied as long as I really could.

I realized that I was the cause of the majority of my stress. I know that there were a lot of sacrifices made for me to study abroad at this medical school. I let my determination turn into obsession and became my biggest criticizer. I don’t think I will ever leave behind my to-do list tendencies, but I know how to be more realistic with my planning and adjust my to-do list based on the set schedule for the day.

A Quote to remind me to pace myself, breathe, and to focus on learning and not checking things off my to do list!!!... 
"Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is not found in finishing an activity, but doing it" Greg Anderson

 Image courtesy of Master Isolated Images at


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