Friday's Digest #42 

How I Find Time for Everything I Do 

One of the top questions I get is:
“How do you manage to find time for everything you do?”
Let's find out.

June 9th, 2023

Friday's Digest - The Newsletter for Doctors & Scientists

For two decades, I've been developing tools that have improved my practice in medicine, dentistry, and scientific research.

Join me every Friday to discover a new tool you can integrate into your workflow as a doctor, a scientist, or both.

I believe in sharing knowledge, embracing automation, boosting productivity, and finding joy in the process.

Photo by Dari lli on Unsplash

Table of Contents

Audio Project

My Audio project has begun!

Due to popular demand, I started to prepare audio versions of my past newsletters. This week I added an audio version to Issue #20: “How I Failed, and wouldn’t change a thing.”



This week I packed a suitcase (and a tuxedo 🤵‍♂️), and flew over to Vancouver, Canada 🇨🇦.

I'm attending the bi-annual International Conference of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (ICOMS 2023). Over the next few days, I will have an opportunity to listen to great lectures and meet with my friends and colleagues from across the globe.

👨‍🏫 On Sunday, I will present my research, “Prediction Models for Personalized Treatment of Head and Neck Cancer.” Simply put, I'm studying how our immune system can combat cancer and how we can tailor cancer treatments to individual patients.

🎙️ Public speaking is a passion of mine. You can read about my top 5 public speaking tips by clicking here.

After last week's newsletter on the cost of living in the USA 💵, I received a bunch of questions. Many readers were curious about how the cost of living in Boston compares to other cities. So yes, Boston is significantly more expensive. In Portland, Oregon, for example, I paid 30-40% less.

Another question I got over the past few months is: “How do you manage to find time for everything you do?!”

So today's newsletter is your answer.

Number 42! Let's do this.

Main Article

Time management has always been a strength of mine, but I have perfected it in the last four years.

⛹️ I juggled being a full-time MD student, OMFS attending, establishing my private practice, mentoring two research students, writing research grant proposals, preparing for my fellowship, and studying for the USMLE.

🏋️‍♀️ It's funny how pushing yourself to your limits makes you realize how inefficient you were until then. Thanks to improved time management, I discovered I could complete tasks in significantly less time ⏳. I cut the duration by 80% and yet delivered better results.

🤾‍♂️ My time management approach has become my superpower.

It lets me merge the roles of a surgeon and scientist 🧑‍⚕️🧑‍🔬, permitting me to review 1000 manuscripts every year in just 22 minutes a day.

It lets me manage my email ✉️ and text messages 📱 in minutes, enabling me to maintain personal and professional relationships across various time zones.

Plus, my time management ensures that this newsletter gets published every Friday, come rain or shine.

So how do I do it?

Let's focus on the 3 most high-yield tips that can EASILY save you 2 hours EVERY SINGLE DAY.

📆 First, I never use a checklist.

By checklist, I mean a list of tasks that must be completed without deadlines.

It usually looks like this:

🟩  Buy milk

🟩  Prepare a presentation for the conference

🟩  Call parents

🤔 But what's the point? When should I look at this checklist? Do I need to look at it all the time?

Going over this list repeatedly is a waste of time.

What if I forget to check the list before driving to the supermarket? I might forget to buy milk 🥛.

To address this issue, we must introduce one significant factor: DEADLINES.

I always use deadlines! Each deadline includes a date (always) and a time (usually).

For example:

🗓️ Today 5:00 pm - Buy milk

🗓️ Tuesday 6:30 am - Prepare a presentation for the conference

🗓️ Saturday 1:00 pm - Call parents

And remember: it's essential to define your deadline immediately. An easy way to do this is to add it to your calendar rather than your to-do list.

2️⃣ Second, the 2-minute rule (credit to David Alan).

If a task will take less than two minutes to complete, do it right then and there.

This might include tasks like answering a quick email 👨‍💻, throwing the trash 🗑️, or making a quick phone call ☎️.

It will take you less time now than to put it on your schedule and return to it later.

It will also dramatically shrink your task list, and help you delegate your work instead of letting it pile up on your desk.

🚎 Lastly, the “third-spacing” of time.

I paraphrased this term from the medical world (third-spacing of fluids) 👩‍⚕️.

What do I mean by that? Well, imagine your time is divided into time that you devote to work/study (”first spacing”), your leisure time (”second spacing”), and the rest of the time in between (”third spacing”).

What do you do “in-between”? You commute 🚋, walk between meetings or classes🚶‍♂️, wait for the elevator 🧍, etc.

Most of us don't see this time as something we can use. But If you're always using every spare moment, you may find that your spare moments start to add up.

Don't get me wrong; I'm not advising you to use every spare moment to work! You can use every spare moment for leisure.

As for me, with my current schedule, I use most of my “third-spaced” time between 5:20 am to 5 pm to prepare for surgeries and work on my research.

I get around 4 to 5 hours (!) of this “in-between” time daily.

Of course, having your study, work, and leisure material on hand is always helpful, so you can start reading or listening in a matter of seconds.

Smartphones, tablets, E-readers, and Bluetooth headphones are excellent means to achieve that.

Readers’ Favorite

How do I read 1000 manuscripts a year in 22 minutes a day?

Say goodbye to endless browsing on PubMed, forget about the hassle of copy-pasting, and no more dozens of open browser tabs.

You can do it all from your phone's screen, and enjoy the process.

Click here and see how to set it up on your phone in 10 minutes.


💻 Gear I use14-inch MacBook M2 Pro.

I've been a Windows user for many years.

However, about three years ago, I lost a grant proposal that I worked on for 15 hours.

I was nearly done with my final proofreading when Windows abruptly shut down and started an update that lasted one and a half hours. Once it rebooted, I was presented with what it claimed to be an "auto-saved" version of my work. But all I saw was a blank white page.

Everything was gone.

At that moment, I decided never to rely on a Windows machine again.

Apple's MacBook has never failed me, not even once. When I lift the lid, it's ready to go within 2-3 seconds. I no longer worry about unexpected updates or my battery draining suddenly.

With Apple's M1/M2 lineup, and prices as low as 900$, Windows-based computers seem obsolete.


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