Little book has plenty to offer despite a few oddities, says Hannah Lowry

With its alluring title, who could not pick up this book? Paul Wilson makes the case that calm people are more productive and that we are all responsible for our own calmness.

The book presents an insight that the NHS cannot afford to ignore

Wilson takes us through an interesting thought process by asking us to consider the real purpose of our work and the choices we make.

He discusses the skills we need to protect our own sanity and to be effective at work, for example planning, assertiveness and being able to say no. He stresses the importance of enjoying your working life. The book then presents us with a kit bag of “calm solutions”.

You will need to evaluate these for yourself. Meditation and visualisation may have some benefits, but I certainly won’t be lighting aromatherapy candles on my desk; the health and safety people would never allow it.

Some of the solutions suggested, however, will undoubtedly improve not only your calmness, but also your effectiveness. For example, starting your day by planning how you are going to use the eight hours ahead of you to deliver your priorities, rather than letting your email inbox dictate how you allocate your time.

I have also found his simple technique of scheduling enough time to travel to meetings invaluable. This means arriving feeling calm and starting the meeting on a professional and courteous footing.

Some of the “calm solutions” are a little odd; many have benefit. The book presents an insight that the NHS cannot afford to ignore. We need to stop admiring the people who run around in circles. We could deliver better care if we took better care of ourselves.

Hannah Lowry is service reform lead, acute/primary care interface, at Trafford Primary Care Trust.

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