I work as an eye care practitioner in community practice. Sometimes I find it difficult to concentrate when I’m conducting an eye examination. Problems in my work or personal life come into my mind and I get distracted from what I’m doing or what the patient is saying. I’m worried about making a mistake. What should I do?

This happens occasionally to me as well. So much has happened in the past. I’ve messed up. I been hurt. I’ve missed opportunities and I’ve embarrassed myself. I’ve said and done stuff I wish I hadn’t. I’m sometimes worried about the future; family, health and the economy. The past and the future sometimes distract me from the present and that’s not good when I’m conducting an eye examination.

On some days I’m amazed that I get anything done with all that is occupying my mind.

Thinking about what’s gone wrong in the past or what might go wrong in the future distracts me about what is going on in the present. I can’t change the past, and I’m limited as to how I can affect the future. I have most control over the present. I’m also aware that the present can have control over me. I limit the control the present has over me by only thinking about things that I have control over. I can’t control the economy nor what politicians do or say so I don’t bother with these. In my work life I have control of what I say and do when I’m with a patient and how well I listen to them. This is where my focus needs to be. In the present and on the patient. I have to limit my focus. I have to focus only on what is right in front of me.

Focus on having a clean and tidy work area. Focus on having a pleasant disposition and giving a warm greeting. Focus on listening and making clear notes in the records. Focus on doing good tests and on summarising your findings and recommendations.

Focus on the patient in front of you and there won’t be space to be distracted by the past nor the future.


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