Whenever I run into my research professor from last summer, I see her the exact same way: short on time, scrambling to finish up an email, late to some meeting or lecture, or just frazzled. I always feel so guilty for every second I spend with her, because I know it’s one second I’m taking away from her extremely packed schedule. That scares me a lot. I don’t ever want to be someone who people are afraid to talk to because they feel my time is worth more than mine.
I know that not all physicians have this issue with their time, and I know she takes on a lot more than she has to (she is a clinician, researcher, and lecturer). And I know she’s fought to keep her work-week at three days rather than five, so that’s probably why she’s so busy on the three days I do ever see her. Not to mention she always looks put together. But she’s just so… busy. So, so diligent in her work. I can’t imagine for a second that she would sit at her desk and just not do anything, or find herself being unproductive in any task. She seems so focused in anything she’s doing, only because she can’t allow herself not to be. Thinking about my own habits, I’m abhorred at how much time I spend “studying” and how much of that is actually spent on distractions, Facebook, or just wandering off into space… and I can’t even picture her allowing herself that minute of distraction because she can’t afford that amount of lost time. It’s really fascinating. Of course that isn’t by any means a bad thing, it’s just mind-blowing to me that someone can have packed three jobs into such little time that she is now so disciplined as to not allow herself to waste a second.
There’s a lot for me to learn in her example, both in how to improve in my gross time-wasting habits, to how not to give off the impression that I’m too busy for anyone. While I’m incredibly impressed that she’s able to get the full bang for her buck in every minute of her day, that also wards off humble and lowly people like myself from even wanting to approach her. Like so many things in life, I guess time management comes down to a very delicate balance.