Lifestyle Articles :Time Management Tips for Busy Nurses

Posted on Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Work, family, household chores, errands, social commitments… managing all the demands on a nurse’s time is a constant juggling act. It can be hard to do everything and still find a moment or two for yourself. Better time management is the key to creating some precious “me time” in your busy day. Try these helpful tips:

  • Write it down. Creating a “to do” list is the first step to organizing daily and weekly tasks. Keep pen and notepad handy and jot down tasks as you think of them.
  • Prioritize tasks into critical tasks that must be accomplished today, those that can wait for tomorrow, and tasks that can be completed later in the week or month.
  • Group tasks by type to save time. For example, clean all bathrooms the same day so you only have to get cleaning supplies out once. Or designate one day a week as errand day.
  • Divide and conquer. Break big jobs like cleaning the house into a series of small 10- to 15-minute tasks. For example, wipe down the bathroom on Monday, vacuum the upstairs on Tuesday, etc.
  • Plan errands in a logical circuit to avoid backtracking and save time and gas. Or keep a list of weekly errands in your car grouped by location and knock them off on your way home from your shift or when you find yourself in that area.
  • Make mornings less hectic by preparing lunches, laying out clothes, setting out breakfast, etc. the night before.
  • Get rid of anxiety-causing clutter. If you haven’t used it in the last six months, it’s time to let it go. Try to handle paperwork just once. Sort mail as it comes in and toss junk mail immediately. Designate a place for bills, pay them once or twice a month, then file immediately.
  • Learn to say no. Decline tasks and invitations you don’t have time for or don’t enjoy. It’s okay to be a little selfish. Your free time is precious; spend it doing what you enjoy most.
  • Learn to delegate at home and at work. Encourage self-esteem in your family and co-workers by delegating appropriate tasks. To be successful, it’s important to focus on the goal. Remember, there are many ways to accomplish a task, not just your way. Teach yourself to praise the accomplishment, not criticize the method.

Enjoy the sense of accomplishment as you cross each task off your list. Make a new list at the end of each day so you can hit the ground running tomorrow. Then enjoy the extra minutes you’ve gained by managing your time so wisely!