As a busy chiropractor, it’s likely that you don’t have much free time in your jam packed schedule.
In addition to seeing patients all day every day, nights and weekends tend to get eaten up with family obligations, household responsibilities, and everything else you have to do in order to keep your life afloat.
Before you know it, another week, month, or year has gone by and you’re wondering where all of your “off time” went.
And if you’re like most people, you’re probably also questioning how to take what little extra time you have and use it in a way that adds value to your life versus just wasting it away.
Prioritize your free time
Time management expert and author of I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make the Most of Their Time, Laura Vanderkam, did a TED talk on this very topic and one of her main takeaways is that “time will stretch to accommodate what we choose to put into it.” In other words, even if you don’t feel like you have a lot of spare time in your day, as long as you put the right things in this open spot, they are sure they fit.
To emphasize this point, Vanderkam talks about how, no matter how much we have to do, we always find the time to deal with emergency situations, such as a water pipe breaking. Regardless of having to deal with home, work, and personal issues, when something unforeseen happens, we always seem to take care of it without having more hours added to our day.
The key to making this same theory work for us in times when we’re not tending to a disaster or crisis then is to prioritize how we use our free time. We do this by filling it with the things that are most important to us. How does this work?
Vanderkam recommends that, every Friday, you sit down and make a list of your goals for the following week. Ideally, this means setting one in each of three main categories: career, self, and relationships. Once you have your goals in writing in front of you, the next step is to ask yourself what you can do during the course of the next seven days to work toward achieving each one.
Schedule your free time
The idea is to come up with some actionable items, some things you can do to start working toward these goals, and then figure out where you can place them in your schedule. Have a couple hours free on Tuesday night? That would be a great time to plug in a date night to help you meet your goal of strengthening your relationship with your spouse.
Don’t have to be to the office until 10 AM Thursday morning? How about going to the gym for an hour or two to focus on your self-related goal of building more muscle?
If your career goal is to gain more patients, what about taking your lunch break one day the following week to have a greet-and-eat with some of the area residents? Or maybe your business goal is to boost the sale of supplements or other similar products.
A good action item for the week may be to write a blog for your website or newsletter about the importance of getting all of your necessary vitamins and minerals, adding a call to action at the end that tells the reader to contact you if they’re interested in learning more.
Remember that “time is a choice”
As Vanderkam says, “Time is a choice.” Therefore, if you repeatedly find yourself saying how you don’t have time to do all of the things you want or need to do, that’s not really what’s going on. “I don’t have time means that it’s not a priority,” says Vanderkam.
In other words, if you want to find the time to do some of the things on your list, you have to find a way to make them more important to you. This means raising their priority level so they become something you choose to take care of because it’s worth it to you.
In the end, everyone has free time somewhere in their schedule and it’s totally up to you how you use it. Make a conscious decision to use it to your advantage and it will add value to your life, often in ways you couldn’t have foreseen.