Personal Development 101

I am a personal development enthusiast. Ever since I can remember I have been looking for a better way to do everything.

Our almost unlimited potential for personal growth is one of the reasons I am excited to get up and get after it every morning.

I included this page because, in my experience, many of the great professionals working to make our hospitals better are also personal development enthusiasts as well.

This page is a shameless plug for all the books, podcasts, tools, tricks I use to maximize my personal performance. Some of these tools, if they have an affiliate program, contain an affiliate link. As you read on you will see that I never include anything that I haven’t used and vetted myself. If I don’t like it, I’ll tell you why. Be sure to take all my recommendations with a grain of salt. A single person’s opinion and situation is most likely very different than yours. Hopefully this first hand information will be useful in forming your own decision about what works for you.

Physical Health

I struggled a bit on whether or not to place mental health or physical health recommendations first. There is definitely a mind-body connection. From my own personal experience and countless examples of others, I have found that mental health often follows physical health, not the other way around.

As they say, you can act yourself into a better mood but it’s hard to think yourself into action.

If you are not in a good place with your mental health, a great place to start is by literally getting moving and starting with your physical health.

Physical Health Habits:

This doesn’t work for everyone but it has been my observation that getting your exercise done first thing in the morning before your brain is really awake is by far the best way to incorporate some physical health into your day. General tips and where I found them:

  • Put out your clothes the night before: The Power of Habit by Charles Duhig, you are priming the system and decreasing the barriers to getting started. Some folks will even sleep in their clothes so they literally just roll out of bed and go.
  • It works better with an accountability partner: I was never consistent with this until I developed an accountability partner, my spouse who helps keep the habit.
  • Design your day so that it has to happen: In my younger years, we only had one vehicle so I had to ride my bike to work. By forcing that function, it didn’t matter how cold it was outside, I had to get to work thus I had to work on my physical health.

Great Sleep Matters

I like to joke that I am high maintenance in the sleep department. In my experience of spending countless nights up all night in the hospital as a cardiac anesthesiologist, I can be awake and present on limited sleep but I am not at my best. However, when the adrenaline is pumping for a challenging situation in the OR, it doesn’t seem to matter how sleepy you are, your natural catecholamines perk you up.

Now that I spend more time at a computer and less time in life or death situations, I have noticed I really don’t function well when I am not well-rested. The work gets done but it takes longer and is not as crisp.

To keep performing at a high level in the office as well as the OR, I have undertaken some changes to improve my sleep habits and my sleep quality. Here are seven changes that I have made:

I sleep at the right temperature:

I cannot emphasize this one enough. We really didn’t have a good way to measure this before but in todays quantified self era, science shows we sleep better when we are cooler.

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