Working in the healthcare industry is extremely challenging. Healthcare professionals often report feeling hard-pressed for time due to increasing demands for direct patient care and research. The situation has become even grimmer after COVID-19.
So, as a healthcare worker, your day needs to be meticulously planned to ensure that all duties are completed to the best possible standard. With that in mind, we have put together time management tips to help you make the most of your working hours:
- Cut Down On The Interruptions
Unfortunately, interruptions are part of a typical healthcare worker’s routine. One effective strategy for minimizing interruptions is to log them. In other words, keep track of who interrupts you, when they interrupt you, for how long, and why. This information will help determine when you should be ready for queries or when you may establish more strict boundaries around when people can contact you.
Another method for dealing with disruptions is to keep everyone informed. Share with your team members what you are currently working on and how it contributes to the overall objectives of your team. This can help you manage expectations regarding what you can and cannot commit to at a given time. Morning huddles, email chains, or online chats are all great options for keeping everyone in the loop.
- Arrive Early For Work
Starting the day off somewhat earlier allows for a more streamlined day. If you get to work early, you can relax with a cup of tea or coffee and read the newspaper before the day gets hectic. Or for example, if you are enrolled in an MSN FNP online program, you can go through a lecture and note important notes before embarking on official duties. On the contrary, starting the day off on the wrong foot will have a domino effect that will throw you off track for the rest of the day.
It is not always easy to drag yourself out of a comfortable and warm bed half an hour earlier than your usual wake-up time. However, if you get a good night’s sleep, you can resist the temptation of hitting the snooze button in the morning. One way to improve the quality of your sleep is to maintain a regular sleep-wake schedule, even on the weekends. This pattern will help your body and mind adjust to a more normal sleep-wake cycle. Over time, you will get to the point where you can rapidly fall asleep and have a restful sleep all through the night.
- Set Your Priorities
Many healthcare professionals, such as nurses, doctors, and dentists, spend a fair proportion of their time studying. After a shift ends, you can usually find them with their head down in a book, either learning about a new area to broaden their expertise or gaining knowledge that will help them advance in their field. As a result, they sometimes feel overburdened due to the mounting deadlines for college, the demands of the job, and the handling of everyday responsibilities.
With so many obligations on your plate, it is essential to prioritize everything. This makes it less likely that you will fall behind or miss important deadlines and helps you feel more in control of your overall workload. You should always prioritize your work by asking yourself, “Which of these tasks is most crucial?” and then narrow them down accordingly. You should review your to-do list as soon as you get to work and put it in a visible position.
It bears worth mentioning that things keep on changing in a healthcare setting. Thus, you will have to be flexible. Monitor your progress and make necessary changes to your list to stay on track. What you can do with the help of a to-do list and the discipline of sticking to it will astound you.
- Do Not Overstretch Yourself
To help patients, healthcare workers may unwittingly put themselves through tremendous stress. You should have a good understanding of where to draw the line, particularly if you have a jam-packed agenda and there is little time left for you. While selflessness is admirable, it is more important to be realistic about how much you can take on.
Many healthcare workers overextend themselves because they do not know how to say “no” to others. Most of us keep telling ourselves that saying no is wrong, the other person will feel awful, we are being evil, we are being disrespectful, etc. While these thoughts are driven by genuine concern, the truth is that most of our worst anxieties are entirely fabricated. Well, you have to realize that saying no is all fine. People with an open mind will accept a no. If pressed for an explanation, simply state that you do not have time and then change the topic.
- Avoid Multitasking
The best way to get things done is to focus on one thing at a time. You should not attempt to multitask since the human brain is not wired to do so. Studies have even revealed that you risk making up to 50% more mistakes while multitasking. When you try to keep track of many projects and switch gears frequently, your brain has to pause and reorient itself. Sometimes, the brain may need up to 15 minutes to return to its normal, productive state.
- Take Your Breaks
As a healthcare worker, unpredictability is the only aspect of your job you can predict. There is no telling when (or if) you will get a break. So grab a drink and a snack when you have a moment to relax. If you are a newbie, you can feel obligated to prove your worth by forgoing breaks. While there may be instances when you must skip a break to deal with an emergency, you should never feel guilty for taking breaks otherwise. To continue doing good work, you need to refresh your energy.
When working in the healthcare industry, employees find themselves being tugged in a variety of directions. For example, suppose you are a medical office assistant. In that case, you are likely to face situations where your phone keeps ringing, patients are asking to be examined right away, and you still have not collected a blood sample from the patient in room two. Such a hectic hospital or clinic environment might make it feel like you have little control over how you spend your time. Fortunately, you can leverage the time management hacks covered in this article to make the most of your time.