In the world of healthcare, it’s easy to focus so much time and attention on your patients and team members that you leave nothing for yourself. Committed service may be the name of the game, but finding time for yourself isn’t against the rules! It doesn’t matter what hat you wear or what department you’re from. We could all use helpful strategies to keep us from feeling overwhelmed.
The key to success isn’t to work harder — it’s to work smarter. Nowadays, as our hospitals and healthcare centers are experiencing a surge of patients, this famous phrase couldn’t be any more true. If you’re ready to find better ways to manage your time at work, ProMed is here to help with 8 tips for increasing your productivity.
Smart Home Habits
Stop rushing out of the house to get to work! The more effective way to hit the ground running is to give yourself time to ease into your day. Before you turn in for the night, take a few minutes to check your next day’s agenda. Which meetings or appointments are top priority? What will you need to do to be ready for those appointments? What tasks must be done before the end of the day? Remember, you are part of a team. Consider delegating smaller tasks to others if your plate is full. Lastly, don’t forget to give yourself time in the morning to relax and unwind before you travel to work.
Write More Things Down
Sure, your memory is probably great. But why waste all of that mental energy trying to keep a mental note of everything? There’s no shame in keeping a notebook or agenda to write notes as you need them. We’re certain you can remember dates and tasks, but keeping those tidbits of information stored on paper will leave you feeling less tired and distracted by the day's end. You’ll also be able to take on important tasks with 100% concentration, without mental notes of facts, times, and dates whirling around the back of your head.
We all know how boring it can be to do one thing for too long. Sticking to one task can feel productive, but our minds become more distracted as time progresses. Adding some variety to your routine is the perfect way to keep yourself focused — especially when you’re trying to intake important information. For example, renewing your ACLS, PALS, or BLS certifications at home means that you can continue your studies at any rate you’d like. Rather than enduring an entire weekend of studying and testing, break your certification into units, and complete a section of your course every other day.
Use the Two-Minute Rule
Sometimes, it’s the small tasks that we avoid the most. Many of us find that completing our biggest or most important task first helps us feel more productive throughout the day. However, our smaller responsibilities can often fall by the wayside as a result. If you find it difficult to dedicate time to your smaller tasks, try using the two-minute rule); if something takes under two minutes to accomplish, do it now.
Do Not Disturb
Healthcare workers are, no pun intended, hospitable people. They value teamwork and problem-solving, so they are often used to being available to their coworkers all day long. However, this can become an issue when you’re trying to complete a task that demands your undivided attention.
Don’t be afraid to set boundaries. Allow time in your schedule for an uninterrupted work period. Leave a “do not disturb” sign on your office door or work with headphones if you share a workspace. Respectfully communicate these signs to your colleagues that you do not want to be interrupted. Allow them to email or IM you during this time and make a commitment to check these messages when you are done with your important task.
Avoid Social Media
We know it’s hard to give up, but social media is a huge distraction that eats away at your valuable work time. Unless your job entails the use of social media platforms it’s best to avoid it completely. Change your phone and desktop settings to prevent alerts from apps like Facebook and Twitter, or delete them from your phone entirely. The five minutes you save every hour could go toward work-oriented tasks, like… say, finally making those patient calls?
Team To-Do Lists
Time management is essential, especially when you’re responsible for delegating tasks to your team. Verbal communication is great for getting everyone on the same page, but human memory is far from perfect. Skip the reminder emails and constant follow-ups — digital management tools are an effective way to keep your team on task. Apps like Trello bring your entire team onto one platform. There, you can manage projects by setting tasks with deadlines and assigning them to your team members. Trello also allows your team members to give you progress updates as they work through their assignments.
Organize Your Workspace
When your workspace is cluttered, so becomes your mind. We all like to think that our messy desks and office spaces are organized chaos. Workspace clutter isn’t just unsightly — it can impact your mental health! Toss anything you don’t need, and organize your workspace into one in which you can easily find everything you need in your day-to-day. You’ll feel more relaxed and productive. As an added bonus, you’ll also impress your coworkers.
Being productive doesn’t have to be difficult. These tips prove just that! Try implementing a few of these useful tricks into your workday. They’ll help you stay calm, organized, and significantly more productive.
These tips don’t just work well on the job… they’re great study tips too! Use this list as a guide to help you get the most out of your ProMed learning experience.