If you are feeling overwhelmed with all the work that you need to accomplish, you are not alone. I’ve been working in healthcare for most of my career, and I’ve never before experienced the fast pace that seems to be the norm these days – and I see most of you in the same situation. How do we manage to survive – let alone thrive? How can we be productive and successful – and ultimately feel that we accomplished something significant at the end of the day?
Katy Young, a Senior Manager of Consulting for VerityStream recently wrote a blog post titled “Prioritization: the Power Tool of Skills” that everyone should read. There are some great tips here that are admittedly not rocket science, but they are tips that we need to be reminded of so that we proactively take the steps needed to get in control of the limited time that we have!
Right now, I’m sitting at my desk looking at a long list of “to-do’s” and wondering how I’m going to get all of them done before I leave for a trip in a little over a week. I just had a routine dentist appointment and discovered that I have to find time for an appointment with an endodontist (never a happy situation). I’m already feeling queasy about the zillions of emails that I’ll have waiting for me when I return from my trip.
But here’s the thing – if I have that attitude, I’m defeated already. Taking Katy’s advice and prioritizing the most important things every day is one of the keys to a more productive day. Another tip – don’t allow yourself to be continually distracted from the task at hand. When you are working on a project, there are times that you do need to turn off text messaging and your emails – and you’ll get finished much faster if you allow yourself to focus. Additionally, when you plan your day and prioritize, you need to have a good idea of how much time a task requires. Can you write the report in an hour or will it take three days? If you don’t know how long a task takes, you can’t effectively manage your time or prioritize your activities.
Finally – It’s very common to think that multitasking is the most efficient use of time. But it turns out that tackling multiple things at once can actually waste more time. Neuroscientist Earl Miller says that, for the most part, we simply can’t focus on more than one thing at a time.
True efficiency means focusing on one thing at a time and finishing it before moving on to the next task.