Ask the nursing expert ... about time management

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Angel McGarrity-Davis, RN, CDONA, NHA
Angel McGarrity-Davis, RN, CDONA, NHA

We are so very busy in our post-acute care jobs. How are we supposed to get it all done?

The best way to set yourself up for success is to spend more time planning and obtaining needed resources, and enlisting the help of others to provide encouragement, accountability and motivation. It takes determination to learn self-discipline, and the best place to start is with everyday tasks. 

Test your commitments and meetings by writing down everything you do for a week. Then, you will be able to review the list and become more informed. Begin by identifying the main areas where you lack discipline.

Get yourself organized. If you don't control your time, everything and everyone else will. Make a schedule and stick to it. If you find yourself spending more than five or 10 minutes on something that isn't on your schedule or your list, redirect yourself and get back on track 

Delegate, delegate, delegate. If are a leader in post-acute care, you already know you have more tasks than there are hours in the day. You have to delegate to the interdisciplinary team, but don't just give the duty away: You must follow up. 

Tickler system. A tickler filing system is arranged by the days of the week, days of the month and months. Use one.

Set clear priorities. We all love the idea of being the hero, but a lack of focus on what is necessary will cause us to not meet our goals. 

Keep your word. When you make commitments, see them through. To do so, you must carefully evaluate whether you have the time and capability to take on a new commitment. 

Respond promptly. Returning phone calls and emails within 24 hours is good practice. Set aside half an hour at the end of each workday to return messages.