Invited Commentary: Who has time to improve their career?

The following is an article written by Phil Plisky and Jenna Gourlay with Professional Rebellion


 

What is one thing you would change about your job that would allow you to enjoy it much more?

That was the question posed to the room during a conference.  No one knew where the question was going, but we all opened our notebooks to jot down the one thing we could change that would make our job better. 

I didn’t hesitate. I didn’t even need to think about it before scribbling down “more time off.”

We were then instructed to turn toward those at our table and share what we had written down.

Here is the list for all six of us:

  1. More time off
  2. Flexibility to spend time with family
  3. Time to develop and try new ideas
  4. A schedule that would give me the time to get my workout done in the middle of the day
  5. The ability to choose when I work
  6. More time to develop knowledge and skills

We looked at each other and realized the common theme immediately.  We all wanted more time in one way or another.  The theme wasn’t unique to our table either.  Everyone in that room wanted more time in their day, more time to enjoy life, or more time to spend on side projects and passions.

Everyone has a goal that requires more time.  I don’t think it matters who you are or what you want out of your career.  Everyone would jump at the chance to have more time. So then, the question is how do you get it?

First, I’ll tell you how you don’t get it.  You don’t need to get up before the sun rises, give up sleep, sacrifice time with loved ones, or swear off Netflix and social media for the rest of your life.  Let’s face it, giving up Netflix is not going to solve our problem of time.

We all know those people that seem to get a ridiculous amount accomplished in a small amount of time.  That’s because the problem is not actually a lack of time. The problem is not having a system for how to efficiently use time.  The people that make us think, “How do they do it all?” do not have more time or some superpower, they have a system.

Whatever your goal whether: opening your own practice, becoming an expert clinician, or getting your ideal career,  all require time. Let’s look at how we can become more effective and more efficient. Let’s look at a system rather than trying to withhold Netflix or forgo sleep.

1. Be smart about time

Sometimes we don’t even realize the amount of time and energy we waste on things that don’t truly matter to us.  So, we don’t need to get rid of Netflix or social media, but we also can’t lose ourselves in it. The first step for having more time is to recognize where we are spending most of our time and where we wish to invest more.  

Action Step:  FIND MORE TIME (we can’t create more time, but we may be able to find some)

There are a lot of ways to track our time- the Moment app, using our phone’s battery tracker, or manual check-ins.  There is also the Time Saver exercise if you’d like a step-by-step tracking system to know where your time goes.

2. Schedule time

Say goodbye to the to-do list.  To-do lists leave too much room for error.  We add too many items, some never get checked off, and others steal precious time away from what is important to us.  It is fine to start with a to-do list, but you can’t stop there. You need to schedule your time and be very specific in doing so.

Action Step:  SET ASIDE TIME

Transform your to-do list into a schedule.  For example: a list containing write blog post, grocery shopping, grading papers, running, and email responses becomes planned time to avoid distraction and procrastination as follows:

  • 8:00 am – 9:00 am: blog post writing
  • 9:00 am – 10:30 am: grading
  • 11:00 am – 11:45 am: groceries
  • 12:00 pm- 12:30 pm: run
  • 12:45 pm- 1:00 pm: email responses

** You may not get everything done in the time slot, but you will get a lot more done than if you did not schedule to begin with.

3. Embrace The Pressure

It is normal to hate the feeling of not having enough time.  But we often try to avoid the pressure of time all together. The problem people find with scheduling their time is that they feel a lot of pressure to get something done.  The pressure may be uncomfortable, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing. The pressure is the secret to staying focused and intentional with time. So, you don’t finish something, all you need to do is reschedule.

Action Step:  FOCUS TIME

Stick to your schedule and reschedule or add/change as needed.  At the beginning of the week, write out your to do list. Then put those items in realistic time slots, Phil and I use the Passion Planner along with this Weekly Schedule to be certain we accomplish the most important things each week.

The secret to having more time is not giving up things.  It is about creating a system and taking control of that time.  Time is a finite resource for all of us. What matters is not how much we have, but how we spend it.

Looking for more resources to jumpstart your career? Check out some of the free resources at the Professional Rebellion:


Jenna Gourlay, PT, DPT, SCS, is the co-founder of the Professional Rebellion, a platform where people believe their ideal career is possible come together.  She is currently working toward her ideal career and wants as many people as possible to join her on the journey.  She is an adjunct professor at the University of Evansville, works with the women’s volleyball and basketball teams, and mentors within the sports residency program of ProRehab and University of Evansville. She believes that the top is not the loneliest and that we climb best together.

Phil Plisky, PT, DSc, OCS, ATC, CSCS, is the co-founder of the Professional Rebellion, where he guides and mentors professionals on the path to their ideal careers.  His mission is to advance the profession by inspiring those with the power to change it.  He does this as a researcher, Associate Professor at the University of Evansville, Director of the Sports Residency program, co-developer in Functional Movement Systems, and professional sports consultant.

About the Author John Snyder, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS

I am a Physical Therapist, a Board Certified Orthopaedic Specialist, a Strength & Conditioning Specialist, an Educator, and a Research Junkie. My goal is to provide resources for orthopedic and sports medicine clinicians to keep up to date with the current literature and allow them to translate it to their practice.

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