How can you juggle responsibilities from charting and research to office management and personal commitments, and still serve your core calling—the delivery of quality patient care? A few seemingly minor changes to your work habits might alleviate some of your most challenging time-management issues.
To help, we’ve compiled a short list, including some points from PhysiciansPractice’s “Five Ways to Better Manage Time in Your Medical Practice,” which, when implemented consistently, could quickly impact your ability to manage life both inside and outside the white coat.
1. Manage interruptions. Make time for only the most important calls and impromptu meetings. PhysiciansPractice suggests expressing your time constraints. For instance, tell an unexpected caller or visitor, “I am so glad we finally connected, but I only have five minutes.”
Additionally, only take calls when it makes sense. Set expectations with colleagues, staff, and patients about how to handle leaving messages or sending texts, and when to expect a response from you.
2. Tackle paperwork regularly. It can take no time at all for a small pile of papers to grow exponentially. Setting aside time each day to process, fill out, sign, and file documents can save you from the clutter and not-so-regular, hours-long paperwork sessions. It may help to separate inboxes by urgency and institute a time limit, too.
3. Strike a better work/life balance. Managing personal time as efficiently as professional time may help reduce stress and result in greater satisfaction. Many physicians look to locum tenens practice as a way to earn more income, travel, and experience diverse clinical settings. Working with a knowledgeable consultant who understands your current professional and personal demands can help you find locum tenens opportunities that meet your goals.
4. Delegate. Doing something yourself is sometimes easier than taking the time to explain it to someone else. But initiating the latter may improve your efficiency and allow a staff member to grow professionally. Alternatively, you may choose to seek out a trustworthy colleague who can take on tasks outside of your core responsibilities.
5. Set aside personal time daily. For some, this may be one of the most difficult tips to follow. However, studies have proven poorly managed stress can negatively affect productivity and yield costly consequences. Fitting activities like meditation or brief exercise into your workday has been found to reduce stress, improve concentration, and boost memory.
In a similar article, titled “Effective Time Management for Physicians,” PhysiciansPractice relates delays, surprises, emergencies, and unpredictable patients can result in an entire workday being thrown off schedule. But consistently managing the factors in your control will help you recover your time more quickly and maintain a healthy balance among your professional and personal responsibilities.