How I’m Going to Give Myself a Kick in the Nurse Practitioner @$$

Rekindling career motivation

This morning, my alarm sounded it’s dreadful ring around 6am. Rather than exercise, I made cookie dough. Yes, cookie dough. I avoided my inbox under the guise of preparing sweet treats for my neighbor with a newborn baby. Basically, I spent the first hour of my day licking the fatty, sugary goo off of the spatula. My accompanying cup of coffee proved worthless in kick starting my workday. So, then I decided to run errands that didn’t really need to be run.

As the day progressed, I responded only to essential emails. That is, after one sender finally called my cell seeking a reply. It’s not that I’m over my career selection – I’m actually quite excited about it. I love the balance I’ve found in my life as a nurse practitioner. For some reason, though, I just can’t get it together lately. Do the work blahs ever strike you, too?

With my ‘To Do’ list mounting, and an endless supply of long-term projects which I should be tackling in the rare event of downtime, I have got to get my $&@*#@! together. In my unmotivated fog, I’m having trouble coming up with innovative solutions myself. So, I reached out to a few close friends for help. Here’s the advice I received to help ramp up motivation, and get my nurse practitioner performance back on track.

Get Out of the House

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Part of my job involves the ability to work from home. If you’re a nurse practitioner student, you likely enjoy similar flexibility. Home, however, is chock full of distractions. So, hit up the coffee shop of library. Seeing other people intensely involved in their work may ignite a flame of motivation of your own. If your lack of motivation exists in other areas, such as hitting the gym, similar principles apply. Attend a workout class, for example, rather than exercising solo, to borrow from others’ energy.

Start a Routine

In a smiler vein, my all-over-the-map schedule leaves my week without a rhythm. An overnight shift in the emergency department here, a day shift there, and I feel like I’m constantly in upheaval. If you’re a nurse practitioner in a similar boat, get some sort of rhythm to your day. Repeating the same activity each morning, such as pouring a cup of coffee followed by a 30 minute walk, signals to your body that the work day has begun helping your mind get into productivity mode.

Choose a Focus

Holding down a demanding nurse practitioner job, maintaining relationships with a spouse and family, fostering friendships, and taking care of day-to-day responsibilities, is hands down difficult. So, choose a single focus for each day or week. If you look at your schedule and instantly feel overwhelmed, the temptation is to withdraw. Rather, concentrate on accomplishing one thing well to get yourself moving.

Be Held Accountable

If you’re really struggling in the motivation arena, share your challenge with a friend or family member. Ask this individual to hold you accountable to goals you’ve set for yourself. Whether you plan to complete all your documentation on time at work, or have a difficult convo with your boss, ask your accountability partner to check in regularly to make sure you’ve accomplished the action item you had in mind. The threat of failing a close friend will help get you off your behind.

Start Small

If you’re having trouble getting your day or week off the ground, begin with a more trivial task (high cal cookie baking not recommended). Ideally, choose one task related to a larger item you ideally hope to accomplish for the day to get your mind on the right track. Chances are that once you achieve a small feat, you will feel more motivated to move on to larger obstacles.

Make a List

Creating a checklist each morning of the tasks for the day helps you keep focused, motivated or not. Sure, you may start with the easy stuff first, but ending the day with to do list items hanging over your head may seem like more of a drag than actually accomplishing the tasks on your list kicking you into gear.

Realize That It’s OK

You can’t be ‘on’ 24/7, 365. Life has an ebb and flow. There will be busy seasons. There will be times when your nurse practitioner career is not as demanding as others. Enjoy the downtime when it comes, as challenges and increasing demands are sure to present themselves again soon.

While I’ve yet to tear myself away from the batch of cookies I baked in my early morning procrastination attempt, I do feel motivated to get motivated after talking with a few friends about my low point. Tomorrow is a new (and productive?!) day.

How do you stay motivated in your nurse practitioner career?


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