Ever feel like you’re chasing your tail, barely making deadlines, and completely stressing yourself out about projects at home or at work?   By managing your time better, you might actually make your life easier. Time management is the act of planning and exercising conscious control over the amount of time spent on specific activities. It includes setting priorities and carrying out activities around those priorities to increase effectiveness and productivity.

There are several ways you can help improve your time management skills.

  • Make a to-do list. This sounds so simple but it helps to just “put it on paper”. When making the list prioritize the tasks on the list making sure the most important things get completed first. Being specific also helps to ensure that tasks are being adequately completed.
  • Set personal goals to provide something to work towards and to help manage your priorities and resources in order to meet goals.
  • Don’t procrastinate. Sometimes the task seems too large to tackle all at once, so it is put off. Avoid the temptation to do this by dividing the large task into smaller ones and tackle each individually. This can help you from feeling overwhelmed.
  • Stop multitasking. Many think that multitasking can help people get more things done at once however it’s best to focus on one task at a time. Focusing on one task at a time can produce higher quality work.
  • Take breaks. Taking breaks can provide valuable down-time which can enable employees to think creatively and work effectively. Just taking a 5 minute break every hour or two can help to maximize productivity.
  • Schedule tasks effectively. Set up work times during employee’s peak hours. Everyone has a different rhythm, some are “early birds” and prefer to start work early while others may work better by starting their day a little later. Knowing when you feel most productive can help accomplish tasks more efficiently and effectively.

Given the busy schedules and workload for most healthcare professionals, there are specific techniques that may help. Prioritizing the day can be crucial. Making a list of things that need to be accomplished and setting goals or times for each can be effective. Stay on track by marking off each item when it is completed.   Take advantage of technology by using electronic records. This can be much more time efficient when all information is right there as opposed to having to find charts or other paperwork. This can allow you to look at information for patients in a shorter amount of time. Know when to say “no”. This is difficult for some people and you may begin to feel overwhelmed with everything you have to do. Always consider requests but know when you can’t do the task or don’t have time. Rushing through a project will never produce the best results. And finally, establish goals. Many times during a workday or week, you may have goals you would like to accomplish. Write them down and even divide them into smaller tasks so they don’t seem overwhelming.

By applying some of these techniques to your everyday life, you may find yourself having greater productivity and efficiency, less stress and a better professional reputation. This may lead to job advancement and can make your job and your life easier. And who doesn’t want that?