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When you're busy, it's time to stop, breath and take a step back
Being a GP is not just about clinical medicine. It’s about looking after yourself and others that you work with. And a big part of that means CONSTANTLY reviewing your workload and finding a BETTER WAY of doing things.
You will be amazed at how little changes here and there can have a massive impact on the way you work. Yet I see so few GPs -- even experienced GPs -- doing this. They troddle on through the work only to go home feeling exhausted and overwhelmed.
Feeling exhausted and overwhelmed is NOT sustainable. You have to find a better way -- and there is a better way -- but you won’t find that better way if you don’t start developing your skills at constantly reviewing and reshaping your workload and time management. It’s all about self-management and we owe it to look after ourselves routinely just like we do when we brush our teeth, have a wash etc.
Workload & Time Management Skills
Both of these are so closely related that the skills to enhance your working life in both these areas is the same. Skills include
- Tackling procrastination
- Learning to say no
- Getting Things Done lists (to-do lists)
- Prioritisation & getting rid of tasks that are not really your responsibility
- Working collaboratively
- Finding new ways of doing things (Creativity & Innovation)
- Takind the lead on your own work and personal life.
Prioritisation - Eisenhower Matrix
Learn how to manage your tasks effectively for your work, training life and life in general. By knowing how get things done effectively you can improve your time management skills and become more productive. Do you have a lot of things to do, but you’re feeling overwhelmed and don’t know where to start? This video will show you a simple way to prioritize your tasks in the right order, so you can be more productive and have time for the things that matters in your life.
There are 2 factors that define what we do: urgent and important. Urgent means that it requires your attention right now and has immediate consequences. Important is anything that helps us achieve our own long-term goals and values. These are the things that will have a big impact on your life. However, since they do not have a clear deadline and the consequences of not doing them doesn’t appear right away, it’s easier to tell yourself “you’ll do it later”.
The first step is of prioritizing is to write a list of all the things you need to get done. The next step is to put each task on your list into one of the four Eisenhower Matrix categories.
Once you know your priorities, organize your life around them. Your actions reflect your priorities and in order to say yes to them, you have to be willing to say no to something else. We all have 24 hours. You always have time to do what you believe is important. It’s about respecting your time. And setting your priorities right is a great way to start!
THE EISENHOWER MATRIX: Steven Covey also wrote about this process in his book “7 habits of highly effective people”. This method helps you to quickly identify the activities that you should focus on when you’re under time pressure and it keeps you on track with your long-term goals.
- BOX 1: important and urgent Example: project deadlines, medical emergencies and problems. Strategy: Do it NOW.
- BOX 2: –important and not urgent Example: health, relationships and dreams. Strategy: Schedule and do it as soon as possible.
- BOX 3: urgent and not important activities Example: interruptions, random phone calls/texts, unimportant emails. Strategy: Reschedule or delegate
- BOX 4: not urgent and not important Example: watching TV, checking social media and other time wasters. Strategy: Do it later or avoid it completely!