5 Tips for Effective Time Management

"I just wish I had more time!" This is one of the most common phrases we hear from our colleagues, friends, and family members on a daily basis. Those who work in the healthcare profession can be even more prone in feeling this way. Healthcare professionals are constantly busy, whether it is seeing patients, documenting patient's records, training, holding meetings, or the many other day-to-day tasks the industry requires! It can be quite a challenge to be able to manage time effectively, accomplish all responsibilities and to avoid major hiccups throughout daily.

Below are our 5 time management tips that will help allow for the better coordination of tasks, responsibilities, and ultimately free up some time while working in the busy healthcare world!

  1. Pareto's Principle. The Pareto's Principle, also known as the 80/20 rule states that 20% of our actions or efforts, produces about 80% of our results. In medical practice, this could mean prioritizing tasks in order of importance and focusing on the ones that matter most, first. One of the easiest ways to feel like something is being accomplished is to focus on a single task, complete it, then move to the next task. By prioritizing your tasks by level of importance, the most important and needed tasks are done first. Next, what was considered less in priority will be completed next and so forth in descending order of importance.
  2. Use caution when multi-tasking! Once you have identified and started working on what's important, think about how multi-tasking might impact your results. Multi-tasking can easily create feelings of becoming overwhelmed! Especially if you are taking on more than you can handle. When multi-tasking we recommend only doing so with tasks that don't require your undivided attention or with tasks that can easily be worked on together. Failed multi-tasking can delay the important tasks from being accomplished and create more of a time management fiasco!
  3. Reduce and eliminate distractions. How many times have you started a high priority task and find yourself easily distracted by your phone, perusing the internet or scrolling social media sites? It is estimated that these types of distractions can more than triple the time it takes to complete a task. If you are working on a high priority task or something that requires your undivided attention, consider placing your phone in a desk on silent mode, closing any social media tabs on your web browser (unless using for work purposes). When distractions are reduced, or preferably eliminating your productivity will improve and increase the amount of time you'll have to focus on your task.
  4. Take much-needed breaks! For many professionals, there is a belief that working through a lunch break is a good way to get things done. Though the opposite is actually more likely to be true! In recent studies, it was determined that taking a break it can reduce stress and reduce burnout. It gives a person a chance to recharge their batteries! By taking small breaks, employees in the studies reported an increase in productivity, motivation and an overall sense of accomplishment than those who didn't take a break from their work activities.
  5. Plan for the unexpected. In medical practices, there are several things that could create changes in a schedule. For example, in many busy practices is not uncommon to have time slots on the schedule that become double-booked. This practice of double-booking often leads to these practices complaining and stressing about not having enough time to finish the responsibilities by the end of their day. To help prevent double-booking on the schedule, we suggest each day add a buffer that allows for unexpected events. This buffer not only eases the stress of healthcare professionals and creates a better workflow, but it also leads to an increase in patient satisfaction!

In summary, by applying these tips and making small changes you can help optimize your day-to-day schedule and manage your time effectively! Remember to prioritize your day, eliminate distractions, multi-tasking with caution, take breaks and have a plan for the unexpected!