There is a lot of fluctuation in my daily workload. Some days I have back-to-back appointments all day long and barely get a chance to breathe in between patients. Other days are painfully slow. I might have only a couple of appointments scheduled, patients might cancel at the last minute, or sometimes patients simply forget they have an appointment altogether. I'm not sure why this inconsistency exists. Perhaps it's the population, maybe it's the clinic location, or maybe (but I REALLY hope not) it's something I'm doing wrong.
Whatever the reason, I've noticed that there is a correlation between my daily workload and my levels of energy and motivation. On my busy days I typically stay pretty motivated. I'm sharper and more focused during sessions and when one patient leaves I'm ready for the next one. It's like I start off busy and continue to gather momentum as the day goes on. On slow days it's the exact opposite. If my early morning appointment slots are empty I find myself dreading my appointments later in the day. I feel lethargic and unmotivated. I find it difficult to focus during sessions.
I discovered that there is actually a name for this phenomenon. It's called inertia. The concept actually has its origins in physics. It comes from Newton's First Law of Motion. Inertia is defined as the resistance of any physical object to change in its state of motion or rest. The law states that an object will continue to move at its current velocity unless some force causes its speed or direction to change. An object that is not moving will remain at rest until some forces cause it to move.
Technically, the concept of inertia applies to objects. It is, however, also commonly applied in reference to people and organizations. It certainly seems to explain what happens to me at work. When I am "in motion" - that is, when I'm working hard and staying busy - I can remain alert, focused, and ready to keep working. When I am "at rest" - that is, when I am not busy and have few patients -- I feel lethargic and have difficulty motivating myself to work. I am an "object" at rest that wants to remain at rest.
I'm really not sure how to change this except perhaps to find work to keep myself busy and engaged even when I don't have patients. Perhaps I could take on a project.
Does anyone else have any ideas?