By: Jennifer Kanapicki, The 1440MD

After a busy ED shift the last thing I want to do is clean up the million blocks scattered on my floor, cook, or go to the store to get something to cook.  What I value is spending time with my family and in my days off from clinical work feeling productive in my academic work. The 1440 doctor knows their plate is only so big (remember, there’s exactly 1,440 minutes in a day).  They are continuously reviewing their life to identify tasks that they can delegate or delete in order to free up time to do the things that give them the greatest happiness and satisfaction.  

It is the quality of time at work that counts and the quantity of time at home that matters.

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Emergency Medicine physicians make on average $200 per hour.  Knowing this, does it make sense for you to spend 3 hours cleaning your house ($600 loss), 2 hours at the grocery store ($400 loss) or dealing with customer service for 40 minutes ($80 loss)?  I would suggest NO! Rather, it makes more sense for you do tasks that require your expertise or your value. Think about all of the things you are do in a week and follow these simple 3 step rules for each: 

Are you the only one that can do the task: Do it

Do you enjoy doing it: Do it

Everything else: Outsource it

  1. Trips to the store: Outsource it

For me, it takes me about 15 minutes to get to the grocery store, then there is parking, finding items, waiting in lines, etc.  The whole trip often takes at least 2 hours. That’s a $400 loss in wages if you make the average EM physician salary. Not to mention the general frustration of being in a grocery store.  Since I learned about instacart, I shop almost daily without leaving the house.  For $99/year you can save yourself unlimited trips to the stores.  The most amazing part is that you get your items usually in 2 hours or less.  There is a wide range of stores including: Safeway, CVS, Cotsco (yes, Cotsco), Petco, the list goes on.  I do have to say though I’m a huge target shopper and Shipt delivers Target so I also have this delivery service (also $99/year).  There is a $35 minimum to avoid any delivery fees but who can’t find $35 worth of stuff at Target?

2. Cooking: Outsource it

I’ve never been a big cooker, and unfortunately neither is my husband.  Now with 2 kids we have to remedy that problem. We don’t starve thanks to deliverable food.  Our favorite is Doordash.  Doordash delivers from a wide range of restaurants.  Recently I made the wise purchase of getting a DashPass ($9.99/month for unlimited deliveries) as I saw I was using the service usually weekly.  There are other services like Grubhub, Postmates and Ubereats if you don’t find the restaurant your looking for on Doordash.

Do you like cooking a little bit?  Then you can try services like Blue Apron and Hello Fresh, which will deliver the ingredients for you to prepare. 

3. Home maintenance: Outsource it

We are a two physician family with 2 small children. This means that when things break they stay broken (I think at one point we had about 5 light bulbs out around the house that needed to be replaced).  There are a number of services that save you the hassle of finding a repair man and time doing it yourself.

We have a American Home Shield Home warranty.  For $39.99 a month, if anything breaks down in the house (think washer/dryer, dishwasher, heating, A/C) I make one call (or can submit online) and the company calls around and hires someone to come to my house.  They call me, arrange a time, and poof! the job is done (this pricing includes all the parts they need to fix the job too!). Over the year I definitely feel as it’s paid off (not only monetarily but time saved calling around to find a plumber).

TaskRabbit is a cool service where you hire people to do any task you want.  I have hired people to put together a daybed for me, break down boxes, serve as a waiter at a party.  No task is too small or big.

This 1440 doctor definitely does not want cleaning on her/his plate of life.   My cleaning team comes every Friday and leaves me with a clean house for the weekend.  They also do my laundry (essential in my opinion) which includes folding and putting away all of our families clothes.  This saves me countless hours so I can make room on my plate to do the things only I can do or that I enjoy. We found our reliable house cleaner on (a great venue for neighbors to share recommendations).  You can also check out services like Thumbtack where you can find a plethora of people who want to be of service. 

Studies have shown that by looking for items to delegate people feel a higher level of productivity, happiness and energy, and feel less “overworked and overwhelmed.” (The Kruse Group, 2015).  Spend your new found time on relaxing, hanging out with family, taking up a new hobby, or learning a new skill. Let outsourcing reclaim your most valuable asset: time.

Focus on what you are great at and hire everyone else to do the rest.

-Lewis Howes

1440 Doctor Action Items:

☑️  Think about your 1440 plate.  What items really need you doing them?  What do you enjoy? Everything else: Outsource.

☑️  Sign up for instacart (or Shipt for Target lovers).  Countless hours saved driving to/from the store, parking, lines and carrying heavy items.

☑️  Click on each app listed above and check to see if they would work for you.  Many offer trials or reduced costs for a month. It’s worth a try!