Physicians are stretched for time. Sleep and work alone can account for over 80% of the average physician’s day. Making the most of and stretching the remaining time is hugely important. A time budget can help. It will allow you to audit your current budget, get intentional about how you spend your time and find small chunks here and there – chunks that will add up quickly to stretch your day.
Start to create your time budget by outlining your day. Bucket each portion into categories: work, sleep, leisure, family time, etc. Next, identify holes in your time budget.
Typical holes come in the form of TV, social media, your daily commute, search engine rabbit holes and checking email. Naturally, these are the very same places you can find those extra chunks of time to make your day more meaningful.
- The best solution for TV is to create a strict budget. If you have a favorite show, limit your viewing time to just that one show.
- In the age of information, social media and email can be tough to manage. My advice is to allot time to each at the beginning and end of your day. It’s important to stay socially relevant, and checking in twice a day is more than enough to do so. Another helpful tip is to turn off push notifications. Doing so will ease the temptation of checking in.
- Avoid search engine rabbit holes. In other words, getting lured in by something on the Internet and realizing 10 minutes later you have no idea where you started. We’re all guilty of doing this. My only advice is to stick to the task at hand. If you catch yourself drifting, snap out of it and close your browser.
- Commuting is one of my favorite opportunities for picking up time. When I am walking to the bus, I listen to an educational podcast. This 15-minute chunk of time allows my first of two email checks for the day. I recently spoke with someone who read War and Peace over the course of a month on his daily walk to work. Talk about productivity!
- Subcategory of email – Unsubscribe. If you signed up for a newsletter or service you no longer use, unsubscribe. It will shorten your daily email checks and close potential rabbit holes.
These time saving tactics serve two functions – purpose and productivity. By becoming more productive with your time, you can create a more purposeful day. Once you have identified your baseline budget and patched the holes, you can start to live a fuller life.