Podcast Episode 60 | How To Make the Most of Your Time

With Dr. Christina Shenvi

About the Prosperous Doc® Podcast

The Prosperous Doc® podcast by Spaugh Dameron Tenny highlights real-life stories from doctors and dentist to encourage and inspire listeners through discussions of professional successes and failures in addition to personal stories and financial wellness advice.

Shane Tenny, CFP® is our podcast host and Partner at SDT. He has lectured numerous times for hospitals and physician groups and, most importantly, helped hundreds of clients develop strategies to navigate through turbulent times toward their financial goals.

Subscribe to the Podcast

Subscribe to the Prosperous Doc® Podcast to learn more about financial planning, wellness, and more!  If you are an MD, DO, DMD, or DDS, this podcast is for you.


These discussions are explicitly tailored to doctors and dentists, highlighting achievements to inspire you to reach personal, professional, and financial wellness. You will hear real-life stories of doctors’ winding career paths to turning practice wealth into personal wealth. 

Contact the Prosperous Doc® Podcast

Have a specific topic you’d like us to cover on a future episode? Or do you know of a physician, dentist, or leader in medicine who would be an interesting guest on the podcast?

Share your ideas with us!


Full Transcript

Christina Shenvi (00:00):

A lot of managing our time as we've already delved into, is really about understanding your identity, your values, what is getting in your way, not externally, but what are the internal things that are undoing you or getting in your own way?

Voiceover (00:16):

From Spaugh Dameron Tenny, it's the Prosperous Doc Podcast. Real stories, real inspiration, real growth, a show for doctors who are ready to improve their overall wellness in every aspect of life. Now here's your host, Shane Tenny.

Shane Tenny (00:35):

Very welcome back to the Prosperous Doc Podcast. My name is Shane Tenny and glad to have all of you with us today for the conversation we're going to have on helping busy people manage their time with less stress. 1,440 minutes is the exact amount of time that all of us have every day. Even more than money, time is a finite resource and equal for all of us. It's something we all need, and yet many of us don't seem to feel like we have enough time in the day to accomplish all that we need to do or all that we've committed to do. When we think about why we don't have enough time, is it because we're procrastinating? Is it because we're over-committing? Is it because we're just overwhelmed or we don't know how to manage our time or the tasks that we have on our list?


Well, my guest today has spent a lot of time thinking about why we aren't as productive as we want to be and what we can do to change that to align our activity with our values. Dr. Christina Shenvi has spent a lot of time working on this and many other degrees with an undergraduate degree from Princeton, a PhD from UC Berkeley, her medical degree from Yale, and an executive MBA from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. She is an emergency medicine physician, educator, keynote speaker, leader, and found the time to join me today for this conversation on helping busy people manage time in a way that aligns with their values. Christina, thanks so much for being with me today.

Christina Shenvi (02:08):

Thanks, Shane. It's a pleasure to talk with your audience. And something you said really resonated with this idea that we have 1,440 minutes a day and we tend to be pretty careful, especially your audience, thinking about our finances or our money. But ironically, we can always make more money, but we can never make more time, and for all the time that we spend planning out our finances, planning our budget, or planning our investments, do we spend as much time with a resource that is actually much more limited, which is our time? And that's part of what got me interested in how we can use our time in ways that create more meaning in our lives.

Shane Tenny (02:49):

That is a great entree into the topic because you're absolutely right. As we said, money in some ways is finite and unique to each of us, but we can influence and affect that, but we can't do that with the time between the rising and the setting of the sun. So let's start maybe with a little bit of your entree into this topic. How did you start thinking about or working on or developing a passion around time management?

Christina Shenvi (03:13):

Well, for a number of years I was working, coaching medical students academically, so working on how can you be more successful in your exams, in your overall academic life? And I realized that a lot of that comes down to how you manage your time. I mean really almost all of it, how you manage your time. And then delving a little bit deeper, and I started reading a lot of the psychology literature on procrastination, on goal setting, on motivation. I did years of really deep diving into that literature and realizing that how you manage your time is really about how you manage your own mind. And then after working with students for a number of years, I started speaking on the topic to faculty. And every time, I give a lot of lectures, and occasionally people will say, they'll stop over afterwards and say, "Oh, that was nice, thank you for that lecture on trauma or geriatrics." But after I would speak about this and managing your time and how to manage yourself to manage your time, I would get this overwhelming response that it really resonated with people.


So then I started thinking about, well, how do I really help himpact people's lives? Because a one-off lecture can be inspiring, interesting, informational, but it's not truly transformational. And so to try to help people transform their lives, I launched a more in-depth workshop program, a video series, and then started doing one-on-one coaching and going through a coaching certification right now. So that really, that is how you can make change in your lives is you need something more longitudinal. I think about a lecture or a podcast is great, it's like sprinkling some yeast on some dough, but then you really need the time, the energy, the effort yourself or with a coach or with an instructor to work that yeast into the dough. So I became engaged with it really to help people transform their lives and just seeing a lot of joy and a lot of fruit from those transformations.

Shane Tenny (05:11):

I guess maybe in thinking deeper, is time management something and an area where you have been innately strong and capable, or is it something that was a struggle for you or you've hit your own roadblocks in?

Christina Shenvi (05:26):

It's something that I think always been relatively good at, with a caveat. I've always been hardworking, driven, ambitious, achiever. Those types of things always come up on my strengths finder or different self-assessments. The Enneagram, I'm a three if you're an Enneagram believer. But one of the challenges was for people who have those strengths, almost always the flip side of your strength is your undoing. It's your fatal flaw. So the flip side of that strength is that you tend to keep driving and keep going, and you're going 90 miles an hour, but you don't always step back and say, am I going 90 miles an hour in the right direction? Or to use another metaphor, you're there, you're in the daily melee, you're fighting, you're hustling, but you never step back and say, am I fighting the right battles? So yes, I did have some just skills that I had built over the years through my academic career of being disciplined of using a schedule well, I was doing time-boxing before there was a term for time-boxing. I was using a lot of those techniques.


But I would say the flip side is my fatal flaw. I would relate a lot to Boxer from animal farm. He was the horse who whenever there was some need, he would kind of pilot on himself and this refrain of, I will work harder. So whenever somebody had a need or would email with a request, I will work harder, that was always the refrain. And I have been realizing over the last number of years that you know what? Those skills that got you here are not what will get you to the next step. And in fact, those very skills may be the things that hold you back.


So while that just brute hard work may have helped you be successful up to a certain point, those very skills could be your downfall. And now a new set of skills are needed. Being more strategic, being able to prioritize better, being able to take a bigger picture, being able to say no, that's one of the hardest words. No is a full sentence, but it's one of the hardest sentences for many of us in medicine to say, because we have a passion. We want to help people. We want to be the problem solvers, the fixers, the people who are reliable, but then we end up being the Boxers and we know how that ended for him.

Shane Tenny (07:50):

No is a really powerful word I found in my own life. I wasn't thinking that we were going to end up on this through the conversation, but it is so powerful. I think we just have to camp out on this for a minute. What about no is so difficult for people who are high achieving, which I think includes many of the people listening to us today.

Christina Shenvi (08:17):

It varies by person and it varies by what you're saying no to. I think a couple of the biggest themes or biggest reasons that people find it so hard to say no is guilt, closed doors and their identity. So guilt, for example, if you ask me, "Hey, can you help me with this? Or would you mind meeting about that?" If I say no, I feel guilty because I'm telling myself the narrative that a good person should say yes, and that should then ... Whenever there's a should, there's a guilt attached to that. Should carries around a little suitcase, a little baggage of guilt. And whenever you say no, it hands you that guilt in a nice package and says, "Here you go. Now you deal with this guilt." So I think the guilt.


And then second, the fear of closed doors. So guilt and fear. If I say no to this, well, what if I said yes and then ultimately that led to something amazing? And that's true. And I find early in your career it's better to say yes, more liberally. Because you're saying yes. To me, yeses are like planting seeds. You don't necessarily know which seeds are going to grow into amazing parts of your career. But then as you're going towards middle career, that's when you really need to start pruning. So there's phases of life, there's planting phases, and then there's pruning and weeding phases. And for the mid-career folks, that's really the struggle. They've spent so much time planting that then it's very painful to try to weed something or prune it.


And then the third challenge around saying no is our identity. I am a person who says yes, I am a person who is always available for you. And those parts of our identity can be difficult to change. There's a lot of personal reasons also. I was coaching, working with a very high performing successful physician who came to me for time management help because he had just so much on his plate. The too much on my plate problem is a classic one that we could talk about for hours. And we looked through all the things that he was doing. He made a list, we went through it together, and it became clear that he had just been saying yes to everything. And even applying, sometimes it's not even saying yes. I'll look at things, and I'm like, why did I say yes? And I realized, oh no, I didn't say yes, I applied to do that. I paid money to do that.


So all of these things were on his plate. And when we started to dig into, well, the issue is not really how do we cram 26 hours worth of stuff into 24 hours. The issue is why is there so much on your plate? And it came down to a lot of reasons around he was a foreign medical grad, and he had been told, "You don't belong here. You are not good enough to really work here." And he had been told that as a resident. And so now as a faculty member, he had been continuously trying to prove that wrong. So it was part of his identity that in order to belong, I have to be creating value, I have to be the yes person, I have to be the leader. And so he had become the leader of so many things that it was now becoming overwhelming. So those are, I think, the biggest reasons that we say yes when it's actually not aligned with our values.

Shane Tenny (11:35):

To piggyback on that, I think from my own experience, 15 or 20 years ago, having the revelation or the realization that every time I say yes, in fact I am saying no to something else. And when I say yes, I'll help you move over the weekend, I am saying no to being available to my family or no to having time to work out, or no for something else. And so to think, oh, I don't know how to say no. In fact, you do. You say no all the time. You're just saying no unintentionally when you say yes to something.

Christina Shenvi (12:11):

You're absolutely right. Every yes is a no. And it's interesting because we implicitly understand this when it comes to money. So for your audience specifically, if you ask me for $500 and I say, "Sure, here you go." Well, now I can't spend that $500 on something else or I can't save it for retirement or whatever I want to do. There's a clear one to one trade-off. Whereas with time, we tend to just think, oh yes, I can freely give you this hour of my time when actually no, there's a one to one direct loss of time elsewhere.

Shane Tenny (12:43):

Absolutely. And it can be empowering because when I learn to, particularly you mentioned Enneagram, and so I also am a three, but I'm thinking of my friends who are other numbers, other spectrums there. And for individuals who have a high desire to help or serve, I just feel compelled to say yes to request for help or things like that and saying no, which I initially believe to be harmful or against my own personality or something like that. When I say no, or say no to an opportunity, or say no to a request, I am saying yes to something else. And I think psychologically being able to align the fact that when I say no to going out with a friend tomorrow night, I am saying yes to myself, my family, my needs, whatever, which is so important.

Christina Shenvi (13:38):

It is. And I was coaching a woman who is a very successful surgeon, and she's an Enneagram too, which is the helper. And so she says yes out of this empathy, this desire to help, that's part of her identity. And so being able to work through and gain freedom there, either freedom from the tyranny of that guilt, or the fear of closed doors, or even in this case we're talking about your identity. My identity as an achiever is I want to say yes to things. Her identity as a helper is she really wants to help people. And so she said yes to taking on additional shifts or taking on additional OR time, and then she found herself in a state where it really was overwhelming and not aligned with her values. So a lot of managing our time as we've already delved into, is really about understanding your identity, your values, what is getting in your way, not externally, but what are the internal things that are undoing you or getting in your own way?

Shane Tenny (14:39):

When you speak and lecture and coach with people and use the phrase time management, which of course we all know and we all use, can you talk a little bit about how you define that and frame it and maybe how that connects with the idea of self-management?

Christina Shenvi (14:57):

Well, if you read articles about time management, there's all sorts of click bait, like, "Oh, it's not about time management, it's about priority management. It's not about time management, it's about chakra management, it's about energy management." There's tons of articles out there. It's not time management, it's energy management or whatever these things are. My tack is that, yes, time management is kind of the entree point because people will recognize, "Oh man, my schedule is just blowing up. I'm working evenings and weekends, or I'm constantly busy with email and I don't have time to then do my actual projects." So time management is kind of an entree point. But really for us to explore deeper issues like what are your priorities? What do you value? How can you create a schedule in line with your values? So I love all of the time management literature. I'm a huge consumer of it. I love all these ideas. So when you see articles like, "Oh, time management doesn't matter, it's energy management." But time management is something that we can kind of concretely hold onto and then bring in more abstract ideas.

Shane Tenny (16:04):

For sure. So why don't we unpack some of those ideas and some of your suggestions when we come right back from this quick break.


Do you ever feel disorganized with your finances? Ever feel confused about the right strategy with your student loans? Do you wonder about retirement or how to determine if you have the right amount or type of insurance? The Prosperous Doc Podcast is sponsored by Spaugh Dameron Tenny, one of the nation's premier financial planning groups for physicians and dentists. Their website is a host of information available to you for free. Information under their financial resources tab at sdtplanning.com. It includes information and guides for residents and fellows, there's instructions for understanding it and tabulating your net worth. There's all kinds of information around retirement or improving the health of your medical or dental practice. In fact, if you'd like to speak with a real financial planner who has expertise in working with physicians and dentists around the country, there's even a link on there where you can request a real conversation at no cost to you. So check it out today, sdtplanning.com, and click on the section labeled financial resources. It'll be a great resource for you and you can start giving clarity to your financial future today.


All right. So Dr. Christina Shenvi, we've been talking about time management, the importance of learning how to say no. And when you coach individuals, what are some of the signs that you often see or that they're bringing to you that there is an issue with time management?

Christina Shenvi (17:55):

Well, the great thing about coaching is you don't have to have a problem to get coaching. And the example I like to use is if my seven year old, I have four kids. If my youngest who's seven wants to do gymnastics, he doesn't need a one on one professional coach. He can go to a group class at our local gym, he can go to tumbling tots or whatever it is. He doesn't need a professional one on one coach, whereas somebody who's an Olympic athlete, they need a professional one on one coach in order to improve. So there doesn't always have to be a problem necessarily in order to get coaching and to really take it from, yes, I'm successful and I'm doing well, but I want to take it to the next level.


That said, the most common challenges that people come to me with are, "I have too much on my plate." The second one is, "I don't have a system, so I have all this stuff, I have tasks, I have my calendar, I have my to-do list, and then I have my personal to-do list, and I don't have a system to manage it." And the way that that often manifests is people come saying, "I am struggling because I'm constantly worried I'm forgetting something, or I'm constantly thinking about all the things I have to do, but then never actually doing them." I was actually working earlier this week with an HR executive who came to me with that struggle of I just need a system. And so in that case, okay, we can sit down, we have a process and we can create a system that works for her personally.


One of the other challenges that people come to me with, so too much on my plate is the biggest, and then needing a system, and probably the third is wanting to understand how to do deep work better. So how to really focus. So if I'm sitting there trying to focus, let's say I'm working on paper or working on a grant proposal, how do I create the time and the mental focus to do that without all the other distractions, either distractions from my email, text messages, other external forces or distractions from my own mind thinking about all the other shallow work that I have to do.


And then the fourth reason people come is often they have a very specific thing they need to do. I was recently working with a physician in Boston who had a book chapter that had been hanging over her head for a year, and she just kept procrastinating on it. So understanding what are the reasons that we procrastinate? And that there's a lot of fascinating ideas behind that. And then how can you overcome them? And so in working with her, I think for three or four weeks, she finished the book chapter. So sometimes there's a concrete thing that people want coaching about, and other times it's more generally about creating a system or a structure.

Shane Tenny (20:40):

And so for those who are listening who are resonating with this conversation thinking, yes, I barely have time to listen to this podcast maybe, or I'm listening to this podcast while I'm multitasking, driving, working out, whatever, where do you start or what are some suggestions that you would have for the grade schooler listening to us who says, "I just need to start doing something?"

Christina Shenvi (21:04):

Yes. Well, first of all, I would say you never have time. You make time. So anything that you want to do, you will never have time for it. You have to make time. So that requires a little bit of planning. So for your audience especially, I imagine many of them have a financial plan, or an investment plan, or they sit back and take time to budget. Well, it helps to do the same thing with our time. And so the first thing that I have people do when I do retreats or lectures on this is to step back and reflect on what are your personal goals? What is your personal vision or mission statement? And you don't have to have some pithy rhyming haiku of a vision statement that you then engrave or cross stitch on a pillow. But having a sense of what are the things that are important to you, and then looking at all the things you're currently doing, and looking at it through the lens of strategy, priority, and efficiency.


So strategy being, are you doing the right things? In financial terms, this would be are you investing in the right places?


Priority would be are you doing those things in the right way? Are you intentionally architecting your day or your week in such a way that you have blocks of time for the things that really need blocks of time? And then even the shallow work, like email. One quick tip is just batching your email throughout the day rather than just answering it or keeping your notifications on or having a constant flow of email in your life can reduce the total amount of time that you spend on email. Now, email is a whole other, it's like a hydra, that it just keeps popping up when you cut down one email then three more spring up. And I think there are more systematic team-based ways that we really need to address, organizational ways that we need to address email. But there's also personal approaches in the interim that you can take, and one is just batching your email so that you're not responding continuously.


The third piece is efficiency. So are you doing things in the right amount of time? One of my favorite books is Cal Newport's book, Deep Work, and he talks about the fact that we have devalued the ability to focus and do deep work. And instead we value, can you hustle? Can you get emails done? Can you jockey a piece of information from one person to the other? So efficiency is about doing the shallow tasks in as short amount of time as possible so that then you have more time for the creative tasks, for the big tasks, for the things that really move the needle forward or the wildly important goals in the language of the book, The Four Disciplines of Execution. And so for example, if you could take every meeting that's an hour and make it 45 minutes, or every hour that you spend on emails or shallow tasks and make it 45 minutes, over the course of eight hours, now you've gained two additional hours in your day that you can then spend on the things that really matter to you.


So the efficiency part is where the "hacks" come in or different approaches and strategies there, but the more important part is your priorities, are you doing things in the right way? And your strategy, are you doing the right things?

Shane Tenny (24:19):

And so much of, to your point, about finding ways to be efficient, I feel like often the tasks in front of me kind of grow like gas will fill the space it's given. And so if I read many, many years ago, the most efficient day of our lives is often the day before vacation or the day of doing yard work when it's going to rain. And so we're cramming it all in. So sometimes setting time to your example, maybe just setting 45 minutes for something. Okay, well now I know I need to be focused and get this done or whatever.

Christina Shenvi (24:55):

Yes, actually what you described has a name, it's called the Parkinson Law or Parkinson Principle that work expands to fill the time allotted for its completion. Now, there's some limits. You can't just say, okay, I'm going to write this paper in 25 minutes. We have to be realistic, otherwise we will set ourselves up for failure. But yes, giving ourselves clear demarcations of here's when I'm going to do this, and then separating the planning and the doing. So if we don't separate them, then whenever we come across our time that we've made to work and we haven't planned how we will use it, our brain is more likely to say, "I don't really feel like doing this." Or "Why don't I just check my email instead?" Or "Why don't I just surf Instagram instead?" Or whatever it is for us. Whereas if we have pre-planned what we will use that time for, that sets us up to be prepared and mentally gives us less barriers to actually doing it.

Shane Tenny (25:52):

Now let me throw out a question from one achiever to another, since Ennegram has worked its subtle way into this conversation. What about the importance of blank space, and downtime, and space to either mentally wander, or be creative or be bored?

Christina Shenvi (26:12):

I think that's really important, and depending on your work, you may be able to integrate that into your workday or else just into your evenings and weekends depending on what you do. I think it's especially important for people who have jobs that require a lot of creativity. For example, I'm an emergency medicine physician. On shift, I'm just on shift. I'm not doing anything else. I don't need deep work time. I don't need time to pause and have creativity. Those days are purely just clinical. But then during the other times, yes, we need blank space. And the problem and challenge is that if we don't block that off and protect it, our time for deep thinking, our time for reflection, then all the other meetings and tasks will encroach upon it. If we don't have a set time that all right, here's what I'm going to answer my emails, then any blank space becomes just email space or shallow task space. But I think that's incredibly important for people who are looking to do something new. And these things often fall into the category of important but not urgent.


So let's say you're looking to launch a side business. Well, that may be very important to you, or you want to write a book, or you want to start a podcast, or you want to start a website. That may be important to you, but there's not necessarily an urgency. Nobody's going to write to you and say, "Excuse me, Shane, you have not released a podcast this week. Where is your podcast?" It's not urgent, but it's important to you. And so there's no one who will externally create that pressure to do it. We have to create the time for ourselves to think about it, to plan, to reflect, to just have blank space.

Shane Tenny (27:50):

And manage the integrity of that time. Because I know if I set aside Friday afternoon and say, "Okay, I'm going to have two hours of just some space" then it's very easy to not be as committed to that space and myself as it is to somebody else. If I schedule two hours with you, well, then I would obviously tell anyone else who says, "Can you meet on Friday at three?" I'd say, "No, I have something booked." But often with myself, "Well, okay, that's fine. Sure." I look at the calendar and I say I have space. And that's where I think it's helpful to go back and say, when I say yes to you, I'm saying no to myself. And that is really precious. It is my mental health time. I think I became so convicted about that or convinced about it many years ago from Stephen Covey's Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, and the principle there of sharpening the saw.


I think for those of you listening that aren't familiar with the book, he just uses the analogy of a wood cutter, somebody who has to chop down trees all the time. And the importance of stopping to sharpen the saw then makes you more effective at cutting down more trees in the future. Making that space to think, to breathe, to reflect, to quiet time, work out, whatever the case is is valuable and makes you more efficient.

Christina Shenvi (29:06):

Absolutely. I love Covey's books. They're fantastic. And those images of, yes, this is the time, not wasted, but this is what allows me to be more productive and efficient and maintain my energy and maintain my passion. We were talking before we start recording about burnout. If you're burned out, you're not going to be efficient, you're not going to be effective, and what's more, you're not going to be happy. So creating the time that you need to sharpen the saw to help prevent your own burnout, and seeing that time as, yeah, I'm going to honor this appointment with myself, just like I honored the appointment with you this morning by being on time, by being here, ready to go. I'm going to honor that appointment with myself when I create that time.

Shane Tenny (29:48):

You mentioned a few minutes ago just the impact of working with teams or other people, which all of us do, and not everyone on the team may have the same temperament, the same approach, the same commitment to strategy, priority, and efficiency. Can you talk a little bit about working in teams?

Christina Shenvi (30:08):

Yes, and I think getting your team together and onboard with new systems or new approaches, that's where you can really multiply the effects or benefits of something. Now, first of all, to your first point that yes, people have different ways of working, different personalities, different Enneagrams. Some people need more time to reflect or more time to explore options, whereas I'm more of a, you give me an idea, I'm already running, I'm already going with it. Whereas other people need time to think and explore more ideas. So understanding your team members and saying, "Okay, we need to give enough time for everyone to come to consensus, then we can move forward." But then in terms of your time management, if you have a team that you work with, you can then leverage systems-based solutions to help with a lot of problems. So for example, right now I'm just finishing, I mentioned Cal Newport, but another book of his called A World Without Email.


Now that's a little bit of hyperbole. We probably are not going to go to a complete world without email, but there are ways to structure your teamwork and your project management that can really minimize emails. So for example, right now I am leading a design of a portion of a new curriculum for the School of Medicine, and we have to create 56 separate cases, each of which is like 20 pages long. There's three different sets of it. There's a design sheet. There's essentially four documents that we have to create for each case. And you can imagine that those go through lots of iterations and version control can become an issue. And if we were doing all of this over email, it would be hundreds of emails back and forth. Instead, we have a shared project board with distinct due dates and assignments for who's responsible. And all the documents have a structured naming system so we know where all of them are and what they're called, and then a structured workflow that they go through so it's kind of like a conveyor belt.


And what that allows us to do is to use our time to be creative. The idea of a conveyor belt or an assembly line, sometimes there are definitely some negative parts about that, certainly in terms of actual physical assembly lines. But what it does when we're thinking about an information assembly line is it means we have a clear workflow and a clear plan so that you can spend your time really designing this case and writing this paper rather than emailing back and forth trying to find the most recent version. So that's just one example of if you can work together with your team, you can create solutions that will then work for everyone. Regardless of whether you're a more of an explorer or more of a driver, no one likes email. So finding ways to cut down on emails or make your workflows more efficient then will benefit everyone.

Shane Tenny (33:03):

Efficiency can be so helpful, and those types of platforms or others are so valuable because they really serve as an investment. I was challenged many years ago by somebody at a workshop who said, "How many of you spent more than an hour this week looking for something that you had in your hands or had in front of you less than a day ago?" And whether it's an email that's lost or the ubiquitous post-it notes around your computer screen or those sorts of things, developing ways to not lose those and find systems to work within a team so that information moves efficiently. What do you see as common assumptions or misassumptions that people have about time management?

Christina Shenvi (33:53):

I think one of them is that because we're smart, things should just naturally be working well. And so if I'm having a problem or if I'm facing challenges, there's something wrong. So we tell ourselves this narrative that, oh, yes, well, I'm good at being a doctor, or I was smart in school. I should be able to do all this. This should be easy. And I told you earlier, whenever there's a should, there's a little suitcase of guilt. So first, by just assuming that, oh, yes, this should be easy, we're setting ourselves up for guilt and frustration.


And the second piece is that myth that if I just work harder, then I will get there. If I just could have 26 hours in the day, or if I could just, instead of having winter break, if I could just work over winter break, I will get caught up. And while that may be true, a week from now, you'll feel like you're a week behind already. So that myth kind of keeps us going thinking, oh, by next week, I'll just get caught up. By the week after, I'll got get caught up, and it's never true. We're kind of chasing our tails there.

Shane Tenny (35:01):

Christina, for someone who's listening and has heard you share about some of the clients that you've worked with and maybe thinking, I don't just need the grade school course in time management, I need somebody to hold my hand and teach me skills and help me look at my own priorities. Are you available? And how can people reach out and connect with you?

Christina Shenvi (35:25):

Absolutely. I would be happy to work with anyone. My website is timeforyourlife.org, and there I have information about my coaching programs, and retreats, and also a blog with a lot more concepts and ideas on habit formation or lots of other areas. Or you can email me shenvi@timeforyourlife.org. Either way, I would love to hear from anyone.

Shane Tenny (35:50):

Excellent. And we'll put links to both of those in the show notes. And as we wrap up here, I always give the guest an opportunity to shout out anyone that comes to your mind recently as being someone that has helped advance your growth, your development, the work that you're doing.

Christina Shenvi (36:09):

Oh, there's so many people and so many folks who have, at the start when I was launching this, been promoters and supporters and cheerleaders. But in terms of kind of the influences, there are three authors that I really love. I mean, there's so many. I'm looking up at my bookshelf and there's just hundreds of books on productivity and time management and leadership, but three that I want to call out. I mentioned Cal Newport, Deep Work and a World Without Email. Just great ideas and kind of a great reset on the assumption that being constantly busy equals being productive.


And another is Laura Vanderkam. She's actually a friend of mine and a classmate from Princeton, and she's written a number of books on productivity. Her most recent is called Tranquility by Tuesday, and two of the, I won't give away all of her, I think it's nine secrets or nine tips, but two of them that I love. One is the way that grownups sleep in is by going to bed early. So setting a bedtime for yourself. That's how you can sleep in.


And the other is planning a small adventure each week, or she says, plan one big and one small adventure, but I'm starting small. Just plan one small adventure. Something little that then is a peak point in your week because she posits that the reason we don't remember things and that our time kind of goes by in this blur is when we don't have things that anchor it. So when you have things that anchor it that are memorable, you remember that time and where it went. You don't find yourself at the end of the month saying, "Oh my gosh, where did January go?" Because you have those touchpoints of small adventures that you remember. So I definitely recommend her books as well as Cal Newport's.

Shane Tenny (37:51):

Excellent. Well, thank you so much for your insight, your wisdom, your experience, and your time, and being with us this morning, Christina Shenvi, make it a great day.

Christina Shenvi (38:02):

Thanks, Shane.

Voiceover (38:03):

This episode of The Prosperous Doc Podcast is over, but you're not alone on your journey. Spaugh Dameron Tenny has been helping physicians and dentists prosper through financial planning for over 60 years. To connect with us, visit sdtplanning.com today and take your financial wellness to new levels. Join us on the next episode of the Prosperous Doc Podcast.