The Shift: Filling up throughout the day

A doctor’s performance suffers at the end of long shifts. One of the reasons for this is because they stack stress throughout the day, therefore becoming more fatigued by the end of their shift, which causes their decision-making abilities and motor skills to suffer.

Has this ever happened to you? At the end of a long day you find yourself struggling to think clearly and perform even the most basic of tasks? I remember struggling to remember the dose of paracetamol once!


Being in doctor recruitment I talk to doctors all the time and this sort of thing is a common complaint.

A key to ensure you perform at your best at all times (which the patients, particularly the ones at the end of your shift, will appreciate!) is to practice a method of letting go and refilling throughout the day.

The Shift is a three-step process that takes almost no time and that allows you to refill during the day:

  • Ponder

  • Pause

  • Prepare



    To move on from situations, we must learn their lessons. To do this simply stop and think about the situation and ask yourself, what did I learn? What could I do better?

    Essentially you go to the past to get the lesson which will move you forward.


    Our minds need space. So once you have the lesson, it’s time to give it that space. Pause is simply getting into the present and bringing yourself to the moment. You can do this by taking a few deep abdominal breaths, focussing on your breathing.


    How do you need to show up in the next interaction to be at your best? Prepare is simply pre-deciding how you are going to be so that you can consciously create that state. You go into the future, see yourself at your best, then make yourself that way.

    This process can happen in a very short period of time.

    Give it a go next time you go through a stressful situation and let me know how you go in the comments below.