Your Healthcare Career and Mindful Productivity: Hitting the Bullseye


Published: 16 September 2020

When you’re trying to advance your career, it can sometimes feel like you’re constantly throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks.

Updating your resume? Applying for random positions? Poking around aimlessly on LinkedIn? Staring off into the vast career void? Your efforts don’t need to be aimless and you don’t need the stress of taking action just for the sake of it. This is where mindful productivity comes into play, preventing the needless expenditure of energy you could otherwise be using more effectively.

Random Action = Random Results

Many people feeling the need for change will begin casting around for things to do without a concrete plan. If they read an article about a particular job site, they’ll scroll through positions hoping for something to catch their eye. If someone says they should go back to school, they’ll begin fretting that if they don’t do something soon and apply to the ‘right’ degree program, their career will certainly come to an untimely end. When this type of worry and panic sets in, random actions more often than not lead to random, dissatisfying results.

On one hand, you could argue that if you throw enough darts at a dartboard, you’ll eventually hit a bullseye. While this may be true, it could also be said that you might get a needlessly sore arm from throwing that many darts.

The same could be said about your career. If you’re desperate to leave your current job, you could randomly apply for as many positions as possible and hope that you find one that suits your needs. However, if you end up landing a position that’s a terrible fit, you could very well end up just as miserable.

If you want to move forward, a plan is always better than the old spaghetti trick (or throwing darts until your arm falls off).

woman looking for jobs

Mindfulness v Randomness

When you feel the need for a change and want to take action, it’s preferable to refrain from randomness and instead rely on mindfulness.

Mindful productivity might look like this:

  • Reaching out to specific professionals (e.g former professors, colleagues and mentors) and asking for a few minutes of their time to discuss your concerns;
  • Hiring a career coach to assist you in plotting a thoughtful course of action;
  • Enumerating the specific skills that make you valuable;
  • Making lists of the types of work you’ve done that you’ve both enjoyed and disliked;
  • If you’re thinking of going back to school, choosing to look at available degree or certification programs with a critical eye and determining which, if any, might be attractive options;
  • Asking healthcare professionals who work in positions that interest you whether you can shadow them for a day (or if this isn’t possible or practical, asking for an informational interview in order to determine whether their area of specialty merits further investigation);
  • Researching specific facilities with excellent reputations that pique your interest;
  • Looking deeply at yourself, your career, your personal life and your motivations; and
  • Avoiding random online job searches that more often than not lead to frustration.

When you engage in mindful productivity, you take the time to choose actions that have a logical sequence and may come away with more clarity than you had prior. In contrast, mindless activities feel exasperating and meaningless, keeping you unnecessarily busy and distracted from true self-inquiry that could actually make things move forward more readily.

nurse seeking career advice from colleague

Career Productivity and the Elusive Bullseye

If your friend spends hours poring over job sites for open positions, perhaps that works for them. And if your other friend just applied for two different degree programs because it makes them feel like they’re not just sitting around, good for them.

However, your brand of career productivity might instead mean you engage with a mental health counsellor to explore why you feel so hopeless in your marriage and believe a new job will bring you the happiness you can’t find at home. Or it might mean quitting your full-time position and taking a travel position by the beach in New Zealand to clear your head and gain perspective.

Mindful productivity doesn’t always mean doing something in service to a larger long-term goal. Sometimes it can translate as incremental changes that are easier to accomplish than large-scale seismic change.


Be mindful, slow, selective, thoughtful and measured; this can often serve you more powerfully than taking big, bold actions simply for the sake of action.

Small, mindful and thoughtful actions will more often than not win the race and keep you from needlessly throwing darts in hopes of that elusive bullseye.