Time Management is a Myth – Manage This instead

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

physician time management myth time saving tips opt
Time management is a myth.

There is no such thing as time management.  You and I get 24 hours in each day – 168 of them in a week. No more and no less. The seconds in an hour are a fixed resource that no one can manipulate or manage or finagle or cajole or multiply. So let’s all stop focusing on ” time management ” and do something MUCH more productive instead.

Let me show you a simple checklist to
Manage Your Priorities instead

and create more work-life balance this week


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Does this feel familiar ?

The week has been a real whirlwind, filled with too much stuff both at work and at home. As you sit here on the weekend catching your breath ... a thought bubbles up:

Gee, I sure wish we could have had a date night this week,"
and you begin to grumble and judge your time management skills or your practice because that date night didn’t happen.

You may find yourself longing t0:

  • Exercise more frequently
  • Take a  nap
  • Read a book for pleasure (imagine that!)
  • Have some alone time with each of your children
  • Take a vacation
  • Go for a walk
  • Cook something new and tasty
  • Try that new restaurant downtown
  • Plant or weed your garden
  • (fill in your desires here ____________ )

The reasons these things did not happen has nothing to do with your skills at TIME Management.

Time is constant and unvarying. You can't manage it, make more of it, shrink or contract your allotted 24 hours a day. 

Here is the reason this special activity didn't take place

  • You didn't make it a priority and got overwhelmed by all the busy-ness of being a practicing physician.
  • You didn’t set a conscious intention and carve out the time to make it happen this week.
  • You didn't create a structure for success. This special desire did not appear anywhere on your schedule/calendar for this last week.

“Be assured that you’ll always have time for the things you put first.”
~ Liane Steele

4 Steps to Get More of What You Really Want This Week
with Priority Management

[ Click Here for a Checklist of the priority management steps ]

Most over stressed physicians will spend the weekend feeling bad about the things you did not accomplish in the last seven days. We tend to cop to the belief that, “I am no good at time management”.

If you really want to exercise more or spend some alone time with your kids, here are four steps to get that to actually happen … no matter how busy your life and practice are.

Step 1: Write down the things you want more of – make a list

I encourage you to make your list with a pen on paper. I admit I am old school on this and here is the reason why. When you transfer a desire into a phrase written in ink on paper … that is a step of creation. You have translated your desire into physical reality – perhaps for the first time. Somehow typing it into a computer and having a printer make the hard copy is just not the same.


Step 2: Pick just one of them to do this week

Pick JUST ONE to put into action this week. You are working on the skill of implementation here. You will probably want all of them at once and you will fail if you choose more than one at this point. Once you nail that one … you can move on to the next … and start with just one. Circle it on your list. Use a colored marker if that makes this more fun (I do).


Step 3: Make it a Priority

I know your priorities by the schedule you carry with you. I suspect you carry one calendar/schedule with you right now … probably on your phone. I will also bet the only thing on there is your work schedule.

The key to getting more LIFE in your week is NOT time management … it is having that life activity on a schedule that you are carrying at all times. Here is a Schedule HACK training on exactly how to do this (with no tech skills).

Get your chosen activity on your schedule and in your phone.


Step 4: Do It – Savor It – Celebrate It

=> Do It:
When your scheduled time rolls around, make this activity your #1 Priority and Intention in that time slot. Don’t let anything (short of some life threatening emergency) stop you from carrying out your plan.

=> Savor It:
When your time arrives, take a deep breath and let go of the stress and strain of the day. Become completely present for whatever this activity is. Invite it to soak into all the right places in just the right amounts. Savor it. Make a memory.

=> Celebrate It:
When you are done, give yourself a big pat on the back and congratulations. Be grateful for the experience and acknowledge yourself for your skills of Priority Management!


REPEAT that sequence weekly

With this four step Priority Management  Process, I guarantee you will get more of whatever you choose to make a priority in your life … this week.




What is the ONE THING you want to experience this week?



Tags: Physician Burnout, time management