While enjoying a beer with a close friend and colleague I began griping about how I did not have enough time in the day to accomplish what I wanted to accomplish. After a while my friend and colleague stopped me and stated something to the effect of, “It’s not that we don’t have time for something, it’s that we chose to prioritize something else.” This one line has helped ease my mind when it comes to decision making.
I have always struggled at making decisions, especially when it comes to allocating my time and managing my time appropriately. I frequently double book myself, skip meals, limit my sleep time (or fall asleep while working), and rarely give myself a set amount of time to accomplish an activity. My decision making in the last 6 months is much less tormented, while not perfect, I have been able to improve my organization and time management to align with my priorities.
I now recall another piece of advice I received for a college application essay, “You have a finite amount of space to deliver a message, so every line you write down MUST mean something for the message, otherwise they are wasted lines.” Extrapolate that to decision making in day to day situations, and every action you make MUST mean something to your priorities and bring you a step closer to your long-term goals.
To relate all this back to physical therapy, with my brief clinical experience (still under 5 years), most people do not prioritize their health and are even less likely to do so when ill or injured. This phenomenon is opposite of what I expected going into PT school. I attribute this to the socioeconomic stress placed on those that are ill/injured and current societies deeply rooted need for a “quick fix”. People are much more likely to stick to a regimented pain medication schedule than a regimented diet/exercise schedule (thus the opioid crisis). A good therapist does not simply “evaluate and treat” a client, but truly helps the client sift through all of life’s stressors and guides them to re-prioritize their health (often times both physical and mental health) as a true successful “outcome”, in my opinion, is a client that is well educated about his/her body and has made a lasting lifestyle change to improve their function.
To keep with my priorities; I am now 1.5 years strong into self-employment/contract (per-diem) work which allows me the flexibility to spend more time with friends and family, I have cleared up space in the garage for the last two weeks to make space for my home gym (still a work in progress but its current state is pictured above), my biology is taking care of the hair growth aspect (I just have to keep up on the maintenance, progress pictured above – about 1 month in), and we have initiated a search for private investors or a business loan to be able to dedicate our full attention on the business and take it to the next level. I am again, going to use a Steve Jobs quote as it is just too good not to. Discover your priorities, reevaluate them on a regular basis, and stick with them at all costs.
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out you own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs