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Why I Care So Much About Time Management

. . . and you should, too


By now, you’ve heard me mention that I started wearing a watch when I was 8 years old. It was actually a wrist wallet that also had a slot for a digital watch tucked into it; it looked a lot like this, but it was white. It was something else.

When I started wearing this, I started paying extra attention to the time, how long things took. Not everything; things like chores and other things that I had to do, but didn’t necessarily want to do. My goal became to get those things done as quickly as possible so that I could do what I really wanted to do (which in the 80s involved a lot of time poring over my sticker collection, but that’s a story for another time).


That habit stayed with me.


Fast forward a few decades, and I find myself as a busy Nurse Practitioner without admin time. There’s no way that I’m getting out of charting, but there’s also no way that I’m going to be staying late every day to get my chores done. I learn how long it’s going to take to get the unavoidable chores done so that I have more time for the fun stuff (or the non-work stuff, anyway).


It’s a galvanizing and liberating experience. It awakens beliefs that I hold deeply, and that I realize that I have held for a long while.


Time is a non-renewable resource


Once gone, it can’t be replaced. How can you possibly place a monetary value on that? We charge our employers an hourly rate; that’s a start. But it’s not a finish.


Like any other budget, we have to decide how we will use this resource. Every day starts with the same budget, but whether we utilize it for something productive, replenishing, for the good of ourselves or others - or whether it is squandered, wasted, diverted for no good reason - is largely up to us.


There are always exceptions to the rule. Not every day is the same, not every person or their circumstances are the same. But the approach that we take to this resource can be quite similar.


I know that I am very protective of this resource, time.


When I think about it, I realize that I view protecting my time, having agency over how my time is used, and being in charge of my time is in some ways the ultimate rebellion.


I like to think that I wouldn’t let someone divert money from my checking account without my approval. And I know that I won’t let someone divert time from me without my approval.


No.


When it comes to clinical work, charting is one of the biggest ways that time can be pilfered from us - either without our approval, or without us even realizing it has been diverted. And there are times that we do realize it and feel absolutely powerless to do anything about it.


If any of this sounds familiar, let’s do something about it.


Take care,




originally published March 27, 2023

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