Making Your Time Count

 In Time Management

Making Your Time Count – tips for productivity

Make your time count

You are constantly improving and using your time more effectively. This skill has evolved from being “good to know” to “essential.” It makes you indispensable to your colleagues and to your doctor. It helps you manage the stress and anxiety that can lead to many people quitting a career as a health care professional.

You might find yourself running a bit late to work. You set the phones to auto-answer in order to save time. However, 30 minutes into your clinic you realise that all incoming calls are still going straight through to voicemail. You realise that you have missed appointments and cancellations. You might admit that you weren’t so late or overworked. Or maybe you get distracted looking at inactive patient charts, and you lose 30 minutes before realising that you haven’t finished preparing patient statements.

Your actions are dictated by the circumstances. You can’t choose to make better choices if you are making them unconsciously.

Time management is about action-refinement. This means taking a disciplined, educated and mindful approach to completing daily tasks. This approach, along with sweat equity will lead to radically higher productivity levels every day.

A daily to-do listing should be kept. It should include urgent tasks, calendar items, as well as your master list.

Combine items from all three lists into one group you can reasonably complete in a single day. My calendar app and random list-making power are combined by me recording my tasks once per day into the digital world. Personally, I use a digital planner and keep my master lists in the “task” feature.

Your master list is created by removing all the clutter from your head. According to brain disorder specialists, writing your master list helps you focus more clearly. Your daily to-do lists should be kept short in order to allow for interruptions. As we work in a team, we must be flexible as we plan our work. It is smart to start the day with a list even if it changes.

Ten tips for being productive

1. Make a plan for the night before

You might want to write down two tasks that you must complete in order for the day to be productive. There are two things. The first one may take longer than expected, or has a prerequisite that must be met before it can be completed. The second task is for backup. These items should be completed before you check emails, return phone calls, or read social media feeds, as they can easily disrupt the day’s start.

2. Turn off the distractions

You can prevent information from interrupting your concentration by checking it regularly. You might want to disable notifications from your smartphone and desktop applications. You might limit your email to four times per day, and only handle each inquiry once. You can reduce distractions by controlling your devices and not allowing technology to control you. This will help you focus and decrease distractions.

3. Be Comfortable

Each small-business owner will have a different experience. The environment in which you work can determine your comfort. This could include the clothing, the chair, music, temperature, and the location. You can keep your focus throughout the day by knowing what environment is comfortable and supportive.

4. Meditation is a good practice

You can avoid having information interrupt your concentration by checking it out in advance. This will allow you to focus on one thing and let go of interruptions. For three to five minutes each day, sit quietly in one place. Close your eyes, and count to 35.

It may seem difficult initially as your mind wanders to other thoughts which could keep you from reaching 35. It is possible to let go of this thought without self-judgement or counting again. Observe any sensations or feelings that you have while performing this exercise. It is more difficult than you might think. Take your time, and don’t try to meditate for an hour in the beginning.

5. Set smaller goals

Although “Big fat, hairy goals” (BFHGs) are great for motivational speeches, they don’t help people focus on the important things. You might consider breaking down your goals into smaller, more manageable pieces. This may allow you to focus for a shorter time which could increase your chances of completing the task.

6. Sleep

Adults who are healthy need to sleep between seven and nine hours each night. Small-business owners often cheat sleep in order to work more hours to accomplish more. Worse, this “sleep credit” can accumulate over a prolonged period. To be able to stay focused and complete tasks at the highest level, sleep deprivation can prove counterproductive. You can improve your focus and overall health by getting some sleep.

7. Use visual reminders

Three words are stuck to the top of my computer monitor at work: Focus, Focus, Focus. If I find it difficult to stick to a task, or want to get away from it in order to check my email or Facebook, then I glance at the reminder and repeat those words aloud.

8. Reward yourself

People can focus on what is important and delay gratification. You can give it a shot by choosing the task and the reward (food, social media, or calling a friend). Before you start, be a motivator.

9. Walkabout

Focus can be improved by standing up, or even better, getting out of the office. Even a quick walk outside of work can refresh your body and mind. A break can help you to refocus and get back on track for the next task.

10. Unplug and Play

Screen and non-work activities can free up your brain to concentrate on a new task later. You can exercise, go for a run, bike ride, play sports, do puzzles or play chess for at least 30 minutes each day. A healthy body is a healthy mind. When the mind or body is ill, it can be difficult for people to focus.

Summary

These and other rituals will help you to improve your work-life balance. While you may not be the smartest, most knowledgeable or fastest person at work, having a good grasp of your day will make you more reliable.

Although it seems obvious, multitasking is one of the biggest contributors to inefficient meetings. When there are so many other websites competing for your attention, it can be difficult to keep people on a video conference call engaged. To avoid temptation, ask attendees to turn off email and to put away their smartphones. Hopefully these tips above can make a difference for you or your team.

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