IT'S ALL FREE! 4 Minutes a Day

Except for those who are rich and have full-time housekeepers, cooks, and gardeners, we all have chores and tasks around the house that we hate.  Some of us hate mowing the lawn.  Others detest doing the laundry or cleaning the toilet.  My most despised chore was unloading the dishwasher and putting away the clean dishes and silverware.  However, I no longer hate this task.  In fact, unloading the dishwasher provided me with an insight that helps me as a legal nurse consultant.  And I learned that if I spent just four minutes a day, I could perform an LNC task that I used to detest.

Here's how I changed my attitude about unloading the dishwasher.  While I am grateful that I have a dishwasher, one day I was about to unload a dishwasher that was as full as it could be.  The top and bottom racks seemingly held all the dishes and pans that my family owned.  But the worst part was the silverware basket.  I had always hated emptying the silverware basket, and this time it was jammed with utensils.  I complained to myself about spending all my time removing the contents of the dishwasher.  I said to myself, "I bet it'll take me 20 or 30 minutes to put this all away."  I looked at the clock and started to unload the dishwasher.  When I finished my hated chore, I looked at the clock again and was shocked.  Only four minutes had passed.  Four minutes!  

I realized that, over the years, I had loathed a task that only took four minutes a day.  The amount of time was probably less than four minutes, because the dishwasher wasn't overcrowded most days.  I recognized that I had a distorted perception of the time it took me to perform tasks that I didn't like to do.  I also understood that I had wasted my mental energy in anticipation of unloading the dishwasher.  My attitude toward this chore changed instantly once I made these realizations.

How does my experience unloading the dishwasher relate to legal nurse consulting?  Like many LNCs, there are tasks that I love to do, and tasks that I have avoided.  For example, I once worked for a plaintiff attorney who designated one of my responsibilities as reading the daily obituaries.  I hated this task; I assumed that the attorney was trolling for potential clients, the families of the deceased.  I had to determine if the patient died in a nursing home, assisted living facility, or hospital.  If the patient died in one of those facilities and died unexpectedly or after a brief illness, I informed the attorney.   

I hated reviewing obituaries and would always put it off.  However, I thought about my dishwasher-unloading episode, and I told myself that I was only going to review obituaries for four minutes that day.  I set a timer for four minutes, and again, I was surprised when I finished scanning obituaries in that amount of time.  I felt invincible!  I could face abhorrent tasks if I only had to spend four minutes a day on them.  After that, it took me a little longer on some days - up to 10 minutes, but I learned not to stress about reading obituaries.  After all, I was only spending four to 10 minutes a day on the task, which amounted to less than one percent (when I spent four minutes) to two percent (when I spent 10 minutes) of my daily work time.  It wasn't worth thinking about the task and becoming upset.  And because I was delving into the task without avoiding it, I eventually became comfortable with reading obituaries.

So what is your most hated LNC task?  I know that some LNCs hate cold calling.  Some hate proofing reports.  Still others dislike any kind of marketing.  Could you spend four minutes a day on a task that you hate?

...Katy Jones