Because of my contracts with several medical schools, I sometimes feel I am always doing what I have to do, and very little of what I want to do. There are three choices to make in these instances. You can give up an accept you are destined to work under "The Man's" schedule and there is nothing you can do about it. You can fight back by complaining, moaning and making those around you miserable, as well. You have one other choice and that is to find the time elements you can control and focus on those. Here iso a simple, 4-step process for appreciating what time you can control.

1. Become hyperaware of what you want to do.

Read the above statement literally. This is not what you have to do. By focusing on your "wants" first, you will find a reward  whenever you are able to sneak one or two of these things in. Especially during times when you are given many tasks you have to do, it is important to balance this with your desires. Write these "wants" down. Put them in your phone. Always have them with you and look for opportunities to escape to them.

2. Identify the minimum amount of time needed for each item.

This is the minimum amount of time needed for each item, not the time needed to complete it. Will you be able to break out a book for 5 minutes, or will that be too short or a period to feel satisfying to you. Are 15 minute naps your forte, or do they just leave you feeling tired? Be honest with yourself. Only you know you.

3. Identify the nooks and crannies of spare time

Do you get breaks during the day? How do you use them? How long is your lunch? Does it take you the entire time to eat? How do you get to and from work? Are there possibilities there to enjoy some of your "wants"? Make a weekly calendar and schedule things that you want to do into the nooks and crannies of the week. As an awareness exercise, do a sample week for next week and add up the minutes to see how much "want" time is hidden there.

4. Now schedule!

Now fill in those gaps. If you just want "down time" to stare into space, play games, hang on Facebook, nap - don't feel guilty. Schedule it! This is time you control and you can do anything you want with it. Be creative. Match your list to the available time. If you work a regular schedule, once the schedule is set, you can try it for a few weeks before reassessing it. If your schedule changes weekly, pick a quiet time each week to design your week.

It  is a proven fact that items put on a schedule get done. We schedule dental appointments, parent-teacher meetings, soccer games, but we usually hope our "wants" will just happen. This usually results in our "wants" going to the bottom of your list. And how many times have you made it to the bottom of your list? Start honoring your "wants" by making them a priority. Try this system and let me know how it works for you. I love feedback and suggestions.