Dr. Mike Stone (@BedsideSono) is well known in the medical education world especially in the field of bedside ultrasonography. In addition to being a professor for the Ultrasound Leadership Academy and Ultrasound Podcast team member, he also runs the Emergency Ultrasound Division at the Brigham & Women’s Hospital. Like Dr. Mike Mallin who tagged him from a previous How I Work Smarter post, many of us have been amazed at Mike’s ability to juggle so many roles and responsibilities at once. Here are some his secrets to success.


  • Name: Mike Stone, MD
  • Location: Cambridge, MA
  • Current job:
    Chief, Division of Emergency Ultrasound
    Emergency Ultrasound Fellowship Director
    Department of EM | Brigham and Women’s Hospital
    Assistant Professor, EM | Harvard Medical School
  • One word that best describes how you work: Nocturnally
  • Current mobile device: HTC One M8
  • Current computer: MacBook Pro 15″ w 1TB flash drive (those ultrasound videos take up a lot of space…)

What’s your office workspace setup like?

I have two offices. At work it’s a hospital-issued PC that I use for doing charts, word processing, ultrasound quality assurance. At home it’s a MacBook Pro with an external display, Rode podcaster mic, and some additional storage (see below). I like having the desktop experience at home but being able to unplug the laptop and take the exact same system on the road.


What’s your best time-saving tip in the office or home?

Don’t half-ass it. I wait to work until I really have the time to focus my attention on it. When I try to squeeze tasks in opportunistically it always takes far longer than just putting them off until I have a block of time available. This is almost always late at night after the rest of my family is asleep.

What’s your best time-saving tip regarding email management?

I actually try to stay as close to inbox zero as possible, and have tried everything from Boomerang to Any.Do to ToDoIst etc to Evernote and more just to find a system that works for me. I have to use Outlook for work email, and am a Gmail person who uses Mac and PC and an Android phone, so let’s just say there isn’t a plug-and-play solution out there. I delete emails from my phone but try to save responses until I’m in front of a computer.

What’s your best time-saving tip in the ED?

This question makes me think of a great tip I learned from Gary Tamkin, an attending of mine during residency. For patients you anticipate discharging but are awaiting a test (i.e. wrist pain after a mechanical fall but needs an x-ray), tell them that you’ll come back to talk to them if there’s an abnormal result but that they won’t see you again if the test is normal. Gives you a chance to discuss post-discharge care and follow up at the same time as the initial encounter. I’ve always found this incredibly useful for saving time.

ED charting: Macros or no macros?

Not at the moment, but when we switch to our new EMR I’ll probably start.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received about work, life, or being efficient?

  1. Pick your projects based on getting to work with people you like. They are so much more important than the actual content of the project (although I’d suggest picking something you’re interested in and/or pretty good at, too!)
  2. Be nice to the nurses.

Is there anything else you’d like to add that might be interesting to readers?

Most academic doc’s will agree that no matter how efficiently you work, pretty much anything of real value that you accomplish will take more time than you initially anticipated. Pick your projects wisely, know when to walk away from a project (rarely, but there is a time), and remember to always spend more time focusing on the really important stuff away from work.

Who would you love for us to track down to answer these same questions?

  1. Ron Walls
  2. Chris Doty
Michelle Lin, MD
ALiEM Founder and CEO
Professor and Digital Innovation Lab Director
Department of Emergency Medicine
University of California, San Francisco
Michelle Lin, MD


Professor of Emerg Med at UCSF-Zuckerberg SF General. ALiEM Founder @aliemteam #PostitPearls at https://t.co/50EapJORCa Bio: https://t.co/7v7cgJqNEn
Michelle Lin, MD