A stethoscope , medical history folder clipboard ,pencil and coffee cup stack on wooden background.Processed in vintage style.

Over the years, I have worked with many physician entrepreneurs around the world (and also with the investors interested in funding healthcare innovation, but that’s a topic for another post). During this time, I have noticed similarities with this very distinct breed of business professionals. The reality for a lot of physician entrepreneurs is that their startup isn’t their only job. Many still work full-time with their medical practice or hospital while pursuing their motivating ideas. Consequently, there seems to be some common threads with these physicians in their early morning routines. For those of us who are business owners, we know that when running a business, it may seem like there are never enough hours in the day. Successful physician entrepreneurs are obviously hard-working by nature, but they also make their habits work for them. They do things each day that allow them to take steps forward in self-development and their career.

Tapping into the power of mornings, a time of day when there are fewer demands, is a key physician entrepreneurs use to increasing their productivity. They know that they are less likely to get distracted in the morning and that their day fills up fast. Waiting until the afternoon or evening to do something meaningful for oneself, such as exercising or reading, will likely mean it is pushed off the to-do list altogether. Physician entrepreneurs recognize that mornings give them an opportunity to set a positive tone for the day. Consequently, I would encourage you to find a place where you can quietly reflect on your day.

 

Exercise

In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, people tend to put exercise on the back burner. However, some of the most successful physician entrepreneurs fit this morning habit into their routines. Dedicated physician entrepreneurs carve out time in the morning to exercise, before their workday begins. Being physically active, specifically in the morning, is known to increase productivity. It has been shown that exercising, even for as little as 30 minutes each morning, can make a world of difference throughout your workday. This is due to the triggering of metabolism which remains elevated for hours, thus helping you feel energized throughout the day. Without a daily regime to tune your body and soul, you will start winging it and running on adrenaline. That never lasts. You just can’t lead a successful company unless you learn the discipline of daily exercise. If you don’t, it will catch up with you eventually. Personally, it’s amazing to me how many creative ideas have come to me during a long run in creative solitude. Even if you don’t lift weights at home or in the office or go for a morning run, at least do yoga or meditate. Busy physicians also ensure to eat a healthy breakfast, and when strapped for time, some even prepare food the night before.

 

Visualize

Like many strategic thinkers, physician entrepreneurs take a moment in the morning to visualize their day. Visualizing something has been proven to affect the mind in the same way as to actually do the thing you’re visualizing. Successful people tend to be notorious for making lists and planning things out. This process sends a red flag to your subconscious mind that those thoughts are far more important than any other thought and your mind will push you towards your goals the rest of the day without you even trying. It was supposedly Benjamin Franklin who said,

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”

Great leaders understand that complacency is the enemy. The truth is, if you can’t picture yourself achieving a goal, chances are you won’t. Your day might not necessarily go as imagined or planned, but you’ll be more likely to be focused on what matters most to you during the day.

 

Be consistent

Above all else, what I have learned from my dealings with these clients is to be habitual and consistent. That is, create a morning routine and stick to it because habits help the mind and body reset in preparation for the tasks ahead. The physician entrepreneurs I work with around the world tend to wake up at the same time every day…even on the weekends. Sometimes, it seems hard to do anything but lie on the couch, but successful physician entrepreneurs know that the weekends mean valuable, productive time. Without a routine, an entrepreneur won’t complete any work. Establishing a routine can also help you prioritize your tasks. Entrepreneurship isn’t easy. But by implementing daily habits, you’ll find the road much smoother and your success easier to achieve. Start with one habit, and once it’s ingrained into your daily routine, choose another one. Before long, you’ll be living like an exceptional physician entrepreneur.

Physician entrepreneurs are indeed change makers. They have to be extremely self-motivated with immense drive and energy. Successful physician entrepreneurs who want to lead a practice to greatness, understand they have to adapt and change. They are survivors, and survivors are creative and innovative. I believe that having a successful and constant morning routine is at the basis of a successful physician entrepreneur (and anyone else who wants to get ahead in their life). A medical practice grows one step at a time. Start each morning by completing one of those steps.



Nick Hernandez, MBA, FACHE
Nick Hernandez, MBA, FACHE, is the CEO and Founder of ABISA, a consultancy specializing in solo and small group practice management. He has consulted with clients in multiple countries and has over 20 years of leadership and operations experience. His emphasis has been on developing and maintaining a strong relationship with physicians and identifying areas for business opportunity and support. He holds MBA degrees in both Operations Management and Information Technology & E-Business Management from Wake Forest University. He is also Board Certified in Healthcare Management and has been named a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

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