Your time is valuable, doctor. Practice-management gurus tell us we can be productive every minute of the day. Alas, in the real world, you have many spaces in your daily schedule in which nobody shows up and youre sitting there uh writing a column, lets say, rather than explaining to a patient why he should update his tired old glasses. So, you have to find other ways to spend your time.

I know! How about setting short- and long-range goals for your practice? Or, how about writing a definitive office training manual? How about designing the perfect logo? How about writing thank-you notes to patients who have referred their friends?


OK, those things are good to do, but I prefer to keep my mind at rest during lags. After all, as soon as you come up with the most amazing idea for a pamphlet about conver- gence insufficiency or conjunctival blebs, the no-show will wander in and derail your train of thought. So, I prefer to turn my brain off rather than on.

Here are some great, creative, and brainless things you can do when you have a few minutes:

1. Cut out every picture of an eyeball in Review of Optometry and line them up according to colorkind of a poor mans Ishihara.

2. Play darts with your bulletin board and a diabetic syringe you found in your foreign body kit.

3. Call and set up eye exam appointments with the other optometrists in town, then attend them and see how every refraction result is totally different than what you actually can see through.

4. Check the expiration dates on your dilating drops. Wow.

5. Set your cowboy hat on the floor across the room and see if you can pitch into it those contact lens flatpacks that have collected on your desk.

6. Call the AOA library and ask if they have any information about why we have only two eyes. (Oddly, they actually do.)

7. Turn off the lights in an exam room, turn on a penlight, stick it in your mouth, and page your assistant to come to the room. Have your camera ready. (After you do this a few times, your staff will have that appointment book filled. Or, theyll all quit.)

8. Have you ever checked out your cuticles with a slit lamp?

9. If youre younger than age 54, download anything by Joni Mitchell into your iTunes. (Try a song called If.)

10. If youre 54 or older, downloading means to tell your computer to go get a song or something from somewhere and stick it somewhere in your computer. Its a hoot.

11. Now that you have downloaded something, prepare to crash.

12. Make a list of your favorite patient care lines and send them to me at Heres one of mine: In Florida, you cant swing a dead cat without hitting an ophthalmologist. (Pithy, eh? Well, I am a professional writer, as you know.)

13. Floss.

14. Get out that box of all your optometric awards, diplomas, etc. The nicest one I have is a walnut and brass engraved plaque from a specialist that states that I am honored for my contributions to the advancement of the science of ophthalmic surgery. As I recall, I contributed a referral back in 1982.

Your time is important, doctor. Dont you ever forget it. Even so, your time is still yours. If you want to spend it between patients recreating the Battle of Waterloo on your desk with deluxe mixed nuts, it aint nobodys bidness but your own.

Vol. No: 145:03Issue: 3/14/2008