Do Doctors Regret Their Lost Time?

“Lost time is never found again”

--Benjamin Franklin

We just started daylight savings time and we sprung forward one hour yesterday.

If you were working a nightshift on Saturday, it’s probably the one day out of the year you...shall I dare say...looked forward to it!

Take that back. Nightshifts always suck and they drain the life out of you.

I have no scientific evidence of this, but I think for every night shift you work, you reduce your life expectancy by 2 days.

If that’s true I better live it up while I’m still here because my clock may be stopping a lot sooner than I want it to!

Good news is that I haven’t worked a night shift in years.

Anyway, with yesterday’s time change, we get that lost hour back later in the year when we convert back to standard time.

So it’s kind of a wash.

But many physicians regret that they lost so much time doing activities they don’t enjoy: dealing with unreasonable patients, studying for tests, attending hospital committee meetings, taking call every 3rd or 4th night, working those dreaded nightshifts which turn you into a zombie the next day, picking up extra shifts, or staying after your regular workday or after the OR to dictate piles of charts.

The problem is that unlike daylight savings time, you won’t get those hours of your life back.

Once they’re gone, they’re gone.


Think about the shortest pathway to becoming a physician: 4 years of college, 4 years of medical school, and between 3 to 7 years of residency/fellowship.

That’s between 11 and 15 years of education and training.

Which is anywhere from 4,000 to 5,500 days of your life.

If you went straight through and assuming you started college at age 18, then you’d be done between ages 29 to 33.

The prime decade of your life was spent in the hospital.

And then when we get out, the real work begins.

All those annoying tasks that we have to do on a daily basis and which have nothing to do with taking care of patients end up killing our time.

Time which we can’t get back.

If you’re a mid to late career physician -- someone who is in your 50s and 60s -- and  you’re still practicing medicine full time, what hours in your life do you wish you could get back?

What do you regret not doing that you should have done if you had the time?

If you’re an early career physician -- say in your 30s and 40s -- talk to your more experienced physician colleagues and ask them the same question and listen to what they tell you.

Whether you are later in your medical career or just starting out, if you get your finances and investments straightened out, you can hopefully carve out more time in the future to do more of the things you enjoy and less of the things you dislike.

Unfortunately your lost time will never be found again.

But it’s your future time that you have the chance to control.

If your future time is important to you and you’d like to get your finances and investments tuned up and maintained like a well oiled clock, then let’s talk.

You can schedule a time with me by clicking here:

Let's talk about your finances and investments

Talk again soon.

Setu Mazumdar, MD, CFP®