Doctors know more than anyone just how valuable time is. Like any medical professional, you want to use your time wisely to earn a decent living.

But one area where you may struggle is in maximising your time for other important things. No matter how much you earn, you’ll never be able to buy back time once it’s gone.

It’s funny how we say ‘time is money’ because the opposite is never true. Although you can use your time to make money, you can’t put a price on time.

So how can you make sure that you have enough time to tend to all of your responsibilities and still have some left over for yourself?

Here are some ways you as a doctor can ‘buy time’ to invest in yourself.

Weigh your tasks and organise them

Don’t just make a mental list; literally write one down. Write a list of all the tasks you need to accomplish within a given month, week and day. Looking at a physical list can help you step back and take an objective look at your responsibilities.

Take a good look at each task on your list and ask yourself:

– Does this task need to be done today?

– Do I have to do this task or can someone else do it?

– Does this task need to be done at all?

Rearrange your tasks with the most important and urgent items at the top. Eliminate, postpone or delegate all the remaining tasks and then focus exclusively on what you can get done today.

Focus on one task at a time

Multitasking will only spread you thin and distract you, increasing the chances of making a mistake. Mistakes can have devastating consequences in the field of medicine.

So despite having a thousand things on your mind and hundreds of tasks to get done in any single day, make an effort to give 100% to the most important task: the one before you right now.

Once a job is done well, you’re free to start worrying about the next.

Avoid clutter

A clean and tidy environment can make your mind feel freer and tidier, as well.

Clutter and chaos will slow you up as you search for your keys, your phone, a contact card or important papers. Being organised in both your personal and professional life will make you a more efficient care provider and will help you feel in control of your time.

Be realistic

Know when to say ‘no’ and don’t feel guilty when you have to say it. Be careful to not make unreasonable demands of others just because you’re stressed out. Accept that you’re just one human being who cannot successfully micromanage every single task.

Again, simply focus on the most important task that you can do right now and do it well before moving onto the next.

Build a great support team

Delegation is crucial to be a successful medical professional and/or medical practice owner.

Build a trusted and committed team who can help care for administrative, financial managerial tasks around your practice. You’ll be free to do the real work you’re trained for (and what you’re paid to do) – treating patients. You’ll also find greater satisfaction in your work and you’ll have more free time to care for your home and family.

A solid team you can count on will make sure you stay on-time and focused on your most important tasks. They will be by your side to pick up the slack when your schedule gets swamped.

And when you partner with an experienced medical accounting and financial planning team, you’ll not only get time but the peace of mind that you’re on track towards your wealth goals.

Automate wherever possible

Investing in medical practice software is an excellent way to save time. It will make your team and practice more efficient and your patients will have a more positive experience. The right software will eliminate miscommunication, streamline the treatment process and help you collaborate more smoothly with other doctors.

There may be other systems and processes that can be automated too, if you examine your work life closely.

Account for your time and value it properly

As a busy doctor (likely with a family), you have many demands on your time and many people who want at least a little time with you each day.

You’re a compassionate person who wants to help others, but you have to set limits on your time and stick to them. Remember that your time is valuable and there’s only so much of you to go around. Make sure you’re charging enough in your practice (or being paid enough at your employment) to justify the demands being put on your time in the treatment room.

Remember to properly value your time as an individual, too. Block out time for yourself each day to take a deep breath and unwind and mentally reset, even if it’s just for a few minutes.

And always schedule time for a good night’s sleep!

Get advice

Working with an expert accounting and financial planning team will revolutionise your life, both financially and from a time perspective.

And it pays to work with experts who understand the unique needs of medical professionals.

Contact Nitschke Nancarrow, specialists in accounting, financial planning, loans and finance, investment and business for medical professionals. We operate in Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne and throughout Australia. Managing partner Kym Nitschke is available for a free initial discussion about your situation. Call us on (08) 8379 9950 or send me an email.

– Kym Nitschke

The information contained on this web site is general in nature and does not take into account your personal situation. You should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs, and where appropriate, seek professional advice from a financial adviser.

Taxation, legal and other matters referred to on this website are of a general nature only and are based on Nitschke Nancarrow’s  interpretation of laws existing at the time and should not be relied upon in place of appropriate professional advice. Those laws may change from time to time.

Nitschke Nancarrow specialises in accounting, tax and financial advice for superannuation. Contact us now for a no obligations discussion about your needs.

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