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  • Karl Walker-Finch

It’s about time!



It’s easy to believe that when we will have more time in the future. I’ll have the time to start doing X when I’ve finished my exams, training, wedding planning, masters, house moving, baby planning, redecorating, homeschooling and on and on the list goes.

You will never have more time because you can’t control time. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking I’ll have more time at some future destination but this only leads to wishing the time away.

There is only one destination that we’re all inevitably marching towards in our lives and you certainly won’t have more time when you reach it.

You can’t control time, but you can control what you do with it. It takes discipline snd boundaries but ultimately leads not only to using your time more effectively, but enjoying your time too.

Don’t mix work and pleasure. It’s ok to take pleasure in your work and it’s ok to find your leisure time is more like work occasionally (we all have to wash the dishes at some point). You shouldn’t be thinking about work when your sat round the dinner table with your family.

“Be present, in every moment”. This advice from my extremely intelligent wife is something I’ve struggled with. My mind races off on a million tangents in every moment and I often catch myself mentally meandering.

Marisa has of course learned to spot this now and asks me what I’m thinking. I’m left with the dilemma then, do I say sorry and refocus on where we’re up to with our weekly online shopping, or do I tell her that my mind had wandered onto whether I could design a mini tooth shaped Pandora charm on the Primescan, mill, stain and glaze it and use it as a gift on special occasions, quite who for I’m not sure yet but someone’s going to love it.

To help myself focus, I break my time down into three categories:

  1. Clinical time

  2. Personal time

  3. Admin time

Clinical time

Time when I am in my treatment room at work with a nurse and a dental chair. This is really expensive time because not only is it the only time I can really earn any money, but the overheads are huge; staff need paying, bills, equipment etc.

Personal time

If clinical time is the most expensive, personal time is the most valuable to me. My kids grow and change every day, Marisa works different days to me so our free time together can be quite limited and making time for the rest of my family and friends puts this time at a premium. I don’t want to spend any of this time thinking about work.

Admin time

This is the bit that a lot of dentists seem to skip. It’s when I complete my treatment plans, do continuing professional development, write, or just generally follow other work related interests of which there are many.

Admin time needs its own allocation. If you don’t, you’ll do it in your expensive clinical time, or your valuable personal time. There’ll be no boundaries and something or someone is going to lose out.

You can’t be present in the moment, whatever that moment is meant to be, if your head is wandering on to your to do list.

You also can’t change time (unless you can begin to work somewhere near the speed of light in which case the rest of the world will start turning more slowly in relation to you, or so I’m lead to believe and I may have completely misunderstood this concept, physicists feel free to correct me).

All we have is the realisation that time is finite and it shouldn’t be wasted. That’s not to say you’re not allowed to binge Netflix every now and then if that’s how you unwind, just don’t sit thinking about work while your doing it.

“Time isn’t the most important thing, it’s the only thing”

Miles Davis

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