During my third year of residency, I staggered my work hours in an attempt to avoid Boston’s soul-crushing pre-pandemic traffic. Some days I would strategically arrive very early and other days I would leave very late. On the days I stayed in the office I would often see one of my supervising doctors there, working deep into the night. Why, I would wonder, was this doctor seemingly so … inefficient. I judged this toiling as a personal failure.
Nearly three years later, having taken on a heavier caseload, I developed a deeper understanding of her work. This summer, for example, I needed to study for my boards, but felt oversaturated with my responsibilities as a physician-mom. Between preparing for the next day’s patient visits, catching up on clinical notes, and taking care of my children, my evening study sessions yielded diminishing returns. I hatched a plan to study over the weekends, and hired a babysitter to watch my daughters so I could absorb the exam material without distraction.