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The Innovation Hour in Medical School

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“The secret of being happy is accepting where you are in life and making the most out of every day.”

The above quote perfectly highlights the ideal approach a medical school student should have. Unfortunately, it’s message is only heard but rarely applied.

The Problem About Medical School:

Every day, we students, have the opportunity to learn the intricacies of the human body. One day, we will have the privilege to use that knowledge in the care of our patients.

While we develop our medical competence, we delay our life competence. 

Think about it. Medical students spend hours and years studying and training to be of service as a doctor. While the time is necessary to acquire the skills needed, the commitment results in students lacking skills outside of medicine.

For example, one of the skills that medical professional lack is personal finance. Very few students ever get exposure to a full-time job or financial education prior to medical school. This results in doctors that are incompetent in managing their money. They’re thus forced to learn while under the pressures of being a full-time physician.

What’s the Innovation Hour?

This post is about how important personal development and education is, and how little time medical students on it.

To solve this problem in my own experience, I’ve installed an innovation hour during medical school.

As a quick background, I enjoyed my free time during college and my gap year. This time was precious to because to grow outside of academics. I would spend the extra minutes reading about different topics, such as finance, fitness, personal development. I would also use these times to apply what I had learned.

In my first few months in medical school, I understood if I studied all day I would only become a smart physician but fall behind in other areas. Thus I forced myself to spend an hour a day to learn things outside of medicine.

The innovation hour, as I’ve called it, can be anything you want it to be.  The core purpose is to focus on your own development.

Think quickly about what things you would like to learn if you didn’t have to study. More specifically, what life skills would you like to acquire?

There’re so many wonderful things out there to learn (personal finance, cooking, drawing, productivity, etc.). We just need to spend a few minutes a day on them!

Once you find those few things you want to learn about, dedicate 30 minutes to an hour a few times a week to learn them.

To assure you don’t stray from your commitment, schedule specific times during the week for your innovation hour. I’ve gotten to the point where I can spend 30 minutes to an hour every day on something that I want to learn about.

The Benefit of an Innovation Hour:

The great thing about the innovation hour is that you’ll be able to see the personal progress over time.

A quick example from my own experience. Friends like to ask me often how I’ve become so efficient and disciplined to take on different things at once. What’s often forgotten is that these skills didn’t develop overnight.

I surely didn’t have this drive to be efficient when I was younger. What I did have was the drive to learn about different things.

As I became interested in learning about productivity, I would spend my free time discovering new strategies and tools. Many of these tips are the ones I have and will share on this blog.

Through months of learning and practice, I’ve developed my efficiency skills. Similar to compounding interest money over time, a few minutes a day of personal development will also lead to dramatic results in your own growth.

I recently read an interesting post that talked about the importance of having a nice row of planted seeds in our life.

We all have priorities in our own life, one of them being what we choose to learn about. As we attend to our priorities, our seeds develop. As time passes, we will know which priorities we kept up with based on the quality and health of our trees.

The goal should thus be to have a well-cared for row of seeds.  While medical students may do a great job of tending to their tree of medical knowledge, other seeds may never get any attention.

Won’t This Interfere with Medical School?

If anything I argue that this enhances your medical school experience. For one, you’ll become better at separating time meant for studying from time dedicated to personal education.

More importantly, now every day of medical school has the chance of being exciting.

A normal cycle of class, stress, and studying may become mundane. In addition, we may not always love the topics we’re learning about. Even within medicine, we will find topics that capture us and others which we have to grind through.

If, instead, you add time to learn about topics that cultivate your interest, the quality of your day will increase.


I want to emphasize the importance of an innovation hour.  It can be an innovation minute if you can’t fit in an hour, but some form of personal development is necessary.

Without it, all the tips and advice I can give are useless if you can’t properly utilize your free time.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. If anything I hope this leads you to spend more time learning about topics you’ve been holding off on.

 

 

    How To Study in Medical School

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