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Ep 34 - What Time Management Actually Is

Jan 01, 2024

Episode Notes


In this insightful episode, Dr. Kevin Mailo and Dr. Wing Lim engage in a profound conversation about self-control in time management. The discussion unfolds with a reflection on the evolution of time management concepts from one-dimensional to multi-dimensional approaches.


Dr. Wing Lim introduces the audience to the Franklin Covey time management matrix, emphasizing the importance of not just handling urgent tasks but also allocating time to nonurgent yet crucial activities. He delves into the concept of significance, urging listeners to consider the long-term impact and purpose behind their actions.


The episode further explores the notion of creating more time tomorrow by investing time today. Dr. Wing Lim introduces the concept of a "permission funnel," comprising permissions to eliminate, automate, delegate, procrastinate strategically, and concentrate on essential tasks. The episode concludes with a powerful reminder of the preciousness of time and a preview of future discussions, including an upcoming episode on delegation—a key component of effective time management. Overall, the conversation serves as a guiding light for physicians looking to regain control of their time and live a more purposeful and fulfilling life.

About Dr. Wing Lim


In 1993, Dr. Wing Lim embarked on his journey as a family physician, facing immense challenges in his first year. Despite putting in 100-hour workweeks, financial struggles, a receptionist issue, and the threat of eviction were formidable obstacles. Rather than retreating, Dr. Lim embraced these challenges, teaching himself Practice Management and transforming his approach.


This resilience and newfound expertise turned his practice from that of a struggling "lone wolf" to the founder of one of Alberta's largest medical clinics. Dr. Wing Lim's story is a testament to overcoming adversity, highlighting the transformative power of learning and adaptation in the dynamic landscape of healthcare.

Resources discussed in this episode:





Physician Empowerment: website | facebook | linkedin

Dr. Wing Lim/Synergy Wellness Centre: website | linkedin | Synergy Wellness Centre |




Dr. Kevin Mailo 00:01

Hi, I'm Dr. Kevin Mailo, one of the CO hosts of the Physician Empowerment Podcast. At Physician Empowerment, we're dedicated to improving the lives of Canadian physicians, personally, professionally, and financially. If you're loving what you're listening to, let us know, we always want to hear your feedback, connect with us. If you want to go further, we've got outstanding programming, both in-person and online. So, look us up, but regardless, we hope you really enjoyed this episode. 


Dr. Kevin Mailo 00:35

Hi, I'm Dr. Kevin Mailo, one of the CO hosts of the Physician Empowerment Podcast, and you guys probably already know that, because that's how I introduce myself every single time I'm on the show. And today, I've got my fellow co-host, Dr. Wing Lim, and again, I think most of you know who Wing is and what he does. And he's the one that leads our master class and does a phenomenal job teaching the ins and outs of high-level tax planning, wealth creation strategies, real estate investing. But there's a lot here with Wing. And that's why I look to you Wing like a mentor because I've learned so much from you, in so many facets of my personal and professional life. And one of the things in my personal life that I learned from you is the notion of time management. And so that's what we're going to cover today. And I'm very interested to hear your thoughts on how it is you've achieved so much in real estate development, full-time practice, a family, travel, you've done so much. And a lot of this comes down to not only goal setting but time management. So, why don't you talk and share some of your thoughts on this? Because I'm very interested to hear about it. 


Dr. Wing Lim 01:49

Yeah, thank you, Kevin, for a very kind introduction. And I say when people talk up on you, you wish you would live up to it. And so I love doing this because every time we share with our colleagues, we're more alike than different whatever your specialty, and now listenership is not just in with MDS, right, they're out of medical professionals that they're dialling in. So, we all dealt with this problem that we're time broke, right? And at first time I heard this term, this is like 25 years ago, maybe, what does time property mean? Well, because there are people who trade time for money, and that's us, right? We trade time for money. You don't have trade time, you have no money, right? So, you keep trading time for money. And then the problem is, then very soon, you run out of time, right? So, you and I went through gruesome training, we all did, right? 120 hours way back residency, when we did one in two calls, one in three calls, 36 hours straight. Right? And even when I started my practice, 100 hours a week, so you pretty soon run out of time. So, then we take these time management courses, we pay for it way back? And then what do you get? Right? So, I think all of us understand that we need to manage time. So, I think all of us would at least have a to-do list. You know, we have this to-do list every day you put down, right? And then I learned as I go and then I learned that that doesn't work. How many of you and I will look at the to-do list and we actually get better? In fact, what you're doing on a to-do list is just bumping, right? You're just doing it based on urgency. So then, some 10 years later, decades later, the thinking and time management's like medical journal, right, like medical thinking, it's changed. So, that's called a one-dimensional time management. And you've just bump things, in fact, nobody could control time, time is a commodity that you cannot control. Time goes on whether you do it or not. And the truth is, most of us can do the urgency, but time management or event control, let's call it better event control. It's a very emotional base thing. Right? You and I have said, Okay, I gotta get these charts done. I gotta do that stupid medical legal report or WCB report. And you were so stressed out, that you ended up clicking on a mini-series six episodes later of the Netflix. Right? Ya know.


Dr. Kevin Mailo 04:12

No, It's true. And a lot of it is we feel overwhelmed by how much we have on our plates. And so then it becomes very easy to procrastinate or distract ourselves. And it can even be distracting ourselves, not just with like idle leisure, but even distracting ourselves in work. Right, that rather than doing the hard stuff, you know, maybe we go do some errands around the house or, you know, get some shopping that's not urgently needed to be done. Even just going to work and doing more paperwork.


Dr. Wing Lim 04:44

Yep. And then we just keep being busy, right? But keeping busy doesn't mean keeping being productive. Right, so I'm the perfect Master of this. I have 15 things on my to-do list today and I only got four done, right and every day you just keep bumping it right? So, that's called the first dimension. There's actually different dimensions, polly dimensional. So, dimension one is the to-do list, and it's based on urgency. Okay, which one do you bump? And we know that that's not adequate. Now then comes the 80s and 90s. And then there's a guy, Franklin Covey. I don't know how many of you heard of Franklin Covey. I used to have a big binder, called Franklin Covey binder, but that's how you organize the life, and Covey “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, right, he’s the guy. 


Dr. Kevin Mailo 05:31

Oh, Stephen Covey. 


Dr. Wing Lim 05:34

Stephen Covey? Yes.


Dr. Kevin Mailo 05:35

No, I got you. No worries. 


Dr. Wing Lim 05:37

Yeah, yeah. So, there are two companies that join, right? So, Frank. Anyways, the two companies and so that's called Franklin. I used to have these big Franklin folders. And they go into the urgency and importance, right? This is called a time management matrix, where some of you have heard it from The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, right? So, you have the urgent, nonurgent, important, not important, then you got four possibilities, right? And most of us still deal with urgent/important things. This is actually people who, like you'd practice within ER, you're dealing with urgent, important things, right? But nonurgent, and not important things get ignored. Right? And that's why they say, why do people not read more? And the Maestro says because books don't ring? Right? You will always answer to the phone, to the urgent things, but they're important things that we don't deal with. So us physicians and medical practitioners, are no tourists dealing with more urgent stuff, and we push the important things away. And then it fights back, I have literally met colleagues that forgot to file taxes for seven years. And the CRA came to the door and garnish their wage. How do you do that? Right? Because you keep doing the urgent one, right? And you forgot about it? So, this Time Matrix thing helps people to do okay, I need to apportion the time, right?


Dr. Kevin Mailo 07:00

Well, I was just gonna say even if you don't internalize it, so rigidly and for anybody that has not read Stephen Covey's The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, I strongly recommend reading it, but even just to be able to have that mental pause, when something comes in front of you, whether you hear about it, or you read about it, or somebody you know, you're reminded of it in your head, say, is this truly urgent? Is it distracting me from what's important that I have to get done to move ahead on this project with this goal? Sorry, please continue.


Dr. Wing Lim 07:34

So, it's absolutely important exercise. So, for those of us who are still stuck with this linear thing called the to-do list, you need a second now y-axis to create the importance. And so you and I need to apportion our days, that the toughest one, or the nonurgent, but important things. Buying tax return, doing your tax planning, right, you know, those things are super important. If you don't invest in these relationships then relationships blow out, right down the row. And so definitely, that is important. But then at the end of the day, you are still juggling different things. And the biggest thing and the motive here, the MO is to do more things, right? But there's still not enough time of the day, right? You still don't create time. So, then I attended a leadership conference, I think during COVID or pre-COVID. And the guy said there's a third dimension, oh, what is the third dimension? The third Dimension is called significance. Right? You don't just deal with what is there, you deal with what is the long-term significance. The longer significance is not just what is important, is way beyond that. I went to a leadership conference way back a big 20,000-people thing in the States and they talked about legacy, what you're left with, and after that, that conference, that's how I gave birth to, dug up my dream and gave birth to Synergy Wellness Center. But these things are life-changing. What is significant to you, what is the endgame? And so when you throw in the X, Y, and Z axis, it changes what you're going to do. It may change your priority and change what you do. You've been doing things for so many years for decades. Isn't why you're still doing it. Right? You need to ask why? Why am I doing this? You're running on a treadmill now for 10, 20, 30 years, trading time for money, right? We're talking a lot of colleagues and say, I'm like 40 some year old practitioner. I got X number of dollars in debt. I can't afford to retire. Why am I doing this? Right, and a lot of people have that midlife thing awoken and say this is getting nowhere and that's why there's so much attrition people walking out of the profession. Right, so until we find out why we don't know what we're doing. And then there's this guy called, I orgot his name. Now, Rory, somebody, Rory Vaden there we go. Rory Vaden, give him the credit for doing this. And he says there's this funnel that you can help create time. Right? You really you can create time? You mean like other than the Avenger Timestone? You can create time? And the question is what can you do today, to create more time tomorrow? Wow, that's absolutely amazing. How do you create more time tomorrow? Well, are there things that you can do today? So, that you don't have to do it tomorrow? Okay, give you an example. Right. And you and I do charts, do things every day, right? We have chart work to do. If you have a way to let's say, create a macro in electronic medical record system EMR, it does the template for you, or those of you dictate, Dragon Dictate. Kevin you’ve tried that, right? Things that could save you time, right, then you get this ROTI, return on time invested. So, what can you do today that invest a little bit more time so that you reap the benefit? And the equation that I got was 30 times 30. So, whatever tasks you want to give up to make it disappear, you invest 30 times the time you spent. So, for example, a five-minute task, you invest 150 minutes, okay, simple math. What is the five-minute task, something that your staff could do? And so the problem that we have is we are our top enemy. We’re the worst enemy because we want to do it. If you do want to do right, do it yourself. The more years we spend in tertiary care settings, the more we don't trust people, right, we just trust ourselves. I have, especially colleagues, if you refer them, they redo all the investigations all over because they don't trust anyone. So, this mistrust becomes difficult for us to delegate. And that's a different session we're going to talk about it's just delegation. But to delegate, you need a process, but the time we're talking about time management here, event control is a five-minute event you want it disappear in your daily life. It could be doing a chart, doing something that your clinic work. Invest 30 times 150 minutes to teach, delegate one of your staff to do the job for you. And then poof, you're earn five minutes per day. What if is an hour, 30 times, invest 30 hours. And that could be learning EMR. By learning EMR, what shortcuts can I do, so that I make these stupid things disappear? Right, prescription refills, you name it, and you invest 30 hours. I have colleagues who would not have 30 hours to get for anything. But you know what, if you invest the 30 hours, you earn one hour a day. And why don't we do it? 


Dr. Kevin Mailo 13:02

It pays for itself in a month, and you still have your career to run. 


Dr. Wing Lim 13:06

You want to make more money and you might keep a relationship that you cherish or sports or some hobby that you don't have to kill.


Dr. Kevin Mailo 13:14

You know, I mean, even just reflect like in, you know, in our personal lives, the parallel is children. I mean, you can sit there and you can clean up after your children. But at some point, you just need to teach them how to scrub floors, and tidy up the house and do their laundry, even if it's like you said, 30 times that it takes you to just do this task yourself. But you realize that ultimately you're creating more time for yourself and less stress, Right? And so this dovetails with every aspect of our lives. It is just willingness to put in a little bit of front-end investment in time to make our lives easier and simpler. Moving forward.


Dr. Wing Lim 13:58

Right, exactly. So, let's just end this episode with a funnel, okay, this funnel is called the permission funnel. We need to give ourselves emotional permission, okay? I can give myself emotional permission but once you give yourself emotional permission, then you can move forth. So, the first question, the first permission you give yourself is to eliminate. Elimination that's one. Can I do without this? Okay, can I do with all these things? Say no. Say no, no, no no for people like me who was a yes man, mostly, it's a very difficult thing. But if we want to get on top of this time management thing or more control, event control thing. We have to say no, can I do without it? So, the first permission is the permission to say no and exit out. I don't want to do it. Permission number two is can we all automate. Right? We’re in an automation world. AI is gonna run the world. AI can read CT scans, better than we could, right? So can we automate? If you can automate, you're done. But the automation is not just AI, just technology. Automation means systemization. Can you have a system in your workplace, in your practice, in your finances, in your home life? Is that something that can be systemized? Right? And, of course, that's a different topic altogether. Can you systemize it? Or can you use technology to do it? Once you can automate, you’re done. The third permission is permission to delegate. Okay, and we're going to have a whole talk about delegation. Can we delegate that away? And the fourth permission is, can I procrastinate? So, you thought procrastination is a bad thing. Yes, it is. Procrastination is the assassination of motivation, as somebody once said that, but there are things that we should procrastinate because we have a finite amount of time, right now. So, things that don't fit that grid, X, Y, & Z grid. You need permission to procrastinate, to go back to the funnel, okay? So, you either procrastinate, or you number five, concentrate. And whatever goes into the concentrate is like the filtration. You put all your time, energy, effort, you and your team into the concentrate, and get it done. And that's how people move and shake the world. Right? 


Dr. Kevin Mailo 16:33

It's very powerful. 


Dr. Wing Lim 16:33

And it's never been to me, I've lost so many people right in this space. But this actually did it for me, this crystallizes everything. 


Dr. Kevin Mailo 16:48

Very powerful, very powerful. You know, I'm reflecting on when we were in Mexico in 2021, teaching with Physician Empowerment. And I remember coming across some wisdom that you shared as well, Wing because I think I actually had to deliver that talk. But I know that it was your wisdom and your knowledge in this space of time control. But one of the key elements here is that it's not actually time control. Because like you said, time is passing us by. It's truly self-control. It is self-control. It's knowing your priorities, setting them, and then sticking with them, even if that means saying no. And it's not just no to external requests on your time, your staff, your colleagues, your family, friends, whomever is asking for your time, but it's even that internal voice telling you, oh, but go do this, it's easier, right? Or this is important now. When it truly isn't, if you're honest with yourself, and that's about, again, self-control, not time control. And I think that's very powerful. Because when you look at people who have achieved enormous things, you know, heights in, you know, reached enormous heights, in business, politics, athletics, whatever. Fundamentally, they have the same number of hours in a day, as we do. Chosen, like you said Wing, to concentrate and focus. And it is fundamentally self-control, whether you're an athlete, a performer, you know, a business or political leader, or you know, even just a great dynamic physician, it comes down to self-control. And I think that is so, so powerful. And so key. That's certainly what I've taken away from listening and reflecting in this space.


Dr. Wing Lim 18:40

Mm-hmm, exactly. So, if we could apply these simple principles in every facet of our life, then we can have some freedom. But at the end of the day, we yeah, we only live one life, right? And we're getting older one day at a time, right? So, the sooner we get this in our brain, the sooner we reorganize our life and control our life. Then you get your life back and have more freedom.


Dr. Kevin Mailo 19:10

The only other reflection I really had was just how precious time is. And I did not appreciate this 20 years ago when I was a teenager. But I blink and a decade has gone by, I blink and another decade has gone by. And so the challenge is to ask yourself, what am I doing right now, with the time that I have, especially realizing that we don't know how much of it we actually have here. And I think that allows us to focus down and say, Okay, this actually isn't a priority. And I'm not going to worry about it. I'm not going to that meeting. Or I'm not doing that, you know, answering that email, because, frankly, it's not going to be something I'm going to remember a year from now, let alone a decade from now in my life, right? And so, again, just recognizing how precious these years in our lives are and that these years are comprised of a million small moments and countless hours that do drift by if we don't exercise that self-control.


Dr. Wing Lim 20:13

Mm-hmm, exactly. Exactly. 


Dr. Kevin Mailo 20:16

Yeah. No, it's It's a wonderful topic. I think we could go on and on about it. But we are going to do a future episode where we cover delegation, right, which I think is the key to effective time management. Is being able to hand tasks off, or as you said Wing, we automate a process. Yup. So, we'll cover that in a later episode. And I'm really looking forward to it. Because again, these are the things I think speak to all of us regardless of specialty, regardless of stage of career, I think we all feel too busy. And we want a way out, we want things to be better, and they can be unconfident in it.


Dr. Wing Lim 20:58

Exactly. So, imagine you could go home at five o'clock, six o'clock, whatever, and be done with work, wouldn’t that be a dream?


Dr. Kevin Mailo 21:06

True. Totally done. Yeah. Awesome. Thanks so much.


Dr. Wing Lim 21:12

Thank you, everyone.

Dr. Kevin Mailo  21:15


Thank you so much for listening to the Physician Empowerment podcast. If you're ready to take those next steps in transforming your practice, finances, or personal well-being, then come and join us at - P H Y S Empowerment dot ca - to learn more about how we can help. If today's episode resonated with you, I'd really appreciate it if you would share our podcast with a colleague or friend and head over to Apple Podcasts to give us a five-star rating and review. If you've got feedback, questions or suggestions for future episode topics, we'd love to hear from you. If you want to join us and be interviewed and share some of your story, we'd absolutely love that as well. Please send me an email at [email protected]. Thank you again for listening. Bye.