Over the years, I have become more mindful with many, if not all, aspects of my life and career. Today, I took stock of the many projects I have lined up for the upcoming months and I made a plan. Writing things down helps me stay focused. So, I wrote down all the things! The plan was detailed, but realistic. I left room to breathe in this plan, which is a large component of what makes a successful plan. Going hard on any plan will lead to burnout and things fall apart relatively quickly.
As I was writing some material for a project, I had this aha moment where I realized that research, writing, occupational therapy, is work. It’s hard and hard work takes being mindful to be successful. If I am not mindful about these tasks, I do not meet my goal. What is the saying…the only way out is through? However, on the other side are the benefits of hard work– a finished dissertation, a research article, an article in a professional publication, a blog post, a great therapy session rooted in evidence, a parent that appreciates the work you do with their child, progress following months of intervention, meeting productivity because you planned and executed your day.
One thing to appreciate is that I think being mindful helps you to meet your goals. I was a big believer in being focused and that changed over the past few years. While being focused is great, it is very easy to become hyper-focused to meet goals at all costs. Being mindful allows for some more thought about where you are on a particular day and allows for slight modifications to the plan as the situation sees fit. You still meet your goals, but you preserve your sanity in the process.
4 Simple Steps To Fit OT Research Into Your Daily Life: The 15-30-45 Rule:
- 15. Give yourself 15 minutes, one day a week, to plan your week. This is the start of fitting research into your schedule. If you are team paper, write it down. If you are team electronics, type it into an app. In those 15 minutes, plan for the week to allow you to understand what each day will look like. If you are a clinician include your caseload. If you are an educator, write down all lectures, labs, meetings, etc. for the week. If you are a student, include classes, work, etc. Planning for the week also allows for more flexibility because you know where you have spaces to adapt as needed or where you have no space because you have a lot going on. You can also use this time to plan activities such as the best time for you to review research articles or attend quality CE courses. I like to do this every Sunday afternoon.
- 30. Take 30 minutes in your day reviewing resources of your choice to stay up to date on what is going on in the profession. This could be OT Practice, AOTA, your state organization’s website, or OT/rehab blogs. You can also use this time to place research articles on your TBR pile or learn what CE courses would help your practice.
- 45. Once a week for 45 minutes, choose an article related to your practice and read the article thoroughly. Here is a link on tips for reading a research article when you have limited time . You do not need to pour hours into reading an article for you to improve your practice. A lot can be accomplished in under an hour if you are efficient. Follow these links for a summer journal article reading list or journal club resources for ideas to read and ways to organize what you are learning and how you can apply the results to your practice.
- Repeat monthly.
While being an occupational therapy practitioner or student is no easy feat right now, being successful with having research in your life is as easy at 15-30-45!