“It’s not that we have little time, but more that we waste a good deal of it.” – Seneca
One of our primary missions at Greeley Wealth is to align your money with your purpose. What does that mean, and how do we do this work?
Let me ask you, what is most important to you in this world? Is it your career and running your practice? Is it spending time together as a family, supporting each other? Is it travel? Take a few minutes and write down whatever comes to mind.
Are you really focusing on the things you value most?
Now comes the hard part. Reflect over this past week. Be honest with yourself – how did you spend your time? You can look at your calendar if you need help remembering your schedule. Did you stay late at the office for planning meetings or finish patient charting? Or take an extra call shift to earn more money? When you were with your partner or kids, were you present with them? Or were you on the computer finishing our charting for the day or scrolling through social media?
How are you feeling right now? I bet for many of you, there is a discomfort or uneasiness to how you spend your time. Why is this so important? We all have stories about the 35-year-old recently diagnosed with advanced cancer or the college-aged trauma patient in a terrible car accident. You would think as physicians, we, above almost everyone else, would understand the preciousness of time.
We act as if we have all the time in the world. Yet, we squander our time and attention. I’m here to help you take ownership of your time and attention.
What’s that look like?
Each Sunday, I take a few minutes to review how I spent my time over the past week. How is my relationship working? Or my role as a new parent? But I also include my mission and fun in this review. This time is some of the most valuable I spend each week. It allows me to be honest about what is working and what is not. And it also provides essential feedback that helps me course correct. I can focus on those big, hairy questions. Am I working on the areas of my life I claim are most important to me? If not, what are the obstacles preventing me from making progress?
If I tell myself that spending quality time with my wife is important, yet whenever we are together, we are watching tv or on our computers, am I prioritizing that time? As a new parent, I’ve noticed a significant drop in the amount of pure fun in my life. Not only is there much less free time, but everything felt so serious all the time – sleep training, introducing solid foods. But noticing the lack of fun prompted me to get outside on my gravel bike more. Play just for the sake of play. And boy, has it made a difference in my mood and outlook.
The Concept of “Buying Time”
How we spend our time correlates with how we spend our money. The most significant difference is we can (almost) always create or earn more money. But we cannot make more time. There are ways to “buy” more time. Think about the day-to-day chores that don’t add value to your life and don’t enjoy doing. It could be cleaning your house, mowing your yard, or taking your car to the mechanic. What would it be worth to outsource that task? What would it be worth to have that time to go skiing with your kids? Or read a book on the couch?
In our professional lives, we act with a high amount of control to deliver high-quality care to our patients. Yet, maintaining the same amount of control in our personal life can become a problem. If we feel we must do everything – around the house, with our finances and legal issues, etc. – because we have a standard to set, we end up not having time, energy and focus for those areas most important to us.
Let me ask you, what are the most critical areas that only you can do as a physician? For almost all of us, those activities are patient-facing. As an anesthesiologist, my highest value is caring for my patients in the OR while under anesthesia. Is your time best spent answering your office phone, triaging patient calls, or dealing with the insurance company? No, of course not.
As a new parent, much of my time is consumed taking care of my son, something I am grateful for and love doing. But it also means I no longer have as much time for other activities and responsibilities.
I’ve either had to scale back or drop them entirely, ask for help, or pay someone else to do them for our family. And you know what? It’s ok! Instead, I focus my time on my family, business, and health.
What about the things you love?
Think about activities you enjoy so much that you get “lost” in them. Without too much struggle, I bet you could think of a few activities that fill you up and give you a ton of energy. It could be volunteer work in your community, riding a mountain bike through the forest, or working on a lecture for your medical students.
Now is a great time to think about these activities. What do they have in common? Is it giving time or energy to others? Is it with family? Is it spending time outside? The goal here is to think at the thirty thousand-foot level.
Take time each week to review how you spent your time. Did you spend time and attention on the most valuable areas of your life? How can you make changes to align your values? I guarantee this is some of the most influential and important work we can do.
If you are ready to align your money and time with your purpose, contact Greeley Wealth today. It’s easy to schedule a risk-free 30-minute discovery call.