I like to think I’m a pretty efficient person. If there’s a hack out there to help get day-to-day jobs done more quickly, I’m on top of it. Now that I’m balancing ThriveAP, clinical practice and motherhood, I find that time is a major commodity. I’ve got to be hyper-vigilant about how I spend my time or else the day gets away from me and it’s difficult to catch up. This newfound time crunch has promted me to fine-tune my productivity skills and schedule. I think I’ve come up with a pretty good system, so I though I’d share it with you because, well, nurse practitioners are busy people!
Here’s the gist of my productivity-maximizing system.
1. Think Priorities. The day to day stuff like eating and laundry gets done (eventually, anyway), so you don’t need to put it on your long-term plan for the month. So, start by selecting 2-3 big things you want to accomplish this month. Whether it’s writing a paper, completing a backlog of charts, prioritizing time with friends or cleaning out your bedroom closet, identify a few ‘Big Projects’ (things outside of your usual routine) that you want to accomplish.
2. Choose Incremental Progress. Looking at the monthly calendar, identify 1-3 things you will do each day to move toward accomplishing the ‘Big Projects’. The key here is that these steps must be realistic. They might be as simple as emailing a friend to choose a date for a social outing or gathering resources for a research paper. If you aren’t realistic about what you can accomplish in a day, you’ll fall behind, get frustrated with the system and it won’t work. There may even be some days where you can’t work towards your larger goal. That’s OK. The point of this layout is to maintain an awareness of your time and when these priorities will best fit.
3. Work Toward Your Best Self. Identify a few personal and professional goals for the month and include them visibly on your plan. If you’re reminded that sweets are out this month on a daily basis, or that you committed to go to the gym 3 times a week, you’re more likely to do these things. You might also include these personal and professional goals within blocks for each day of the week as an added reminder.
Why do I like this system? It allows me to have a birds-eye view of my time in relation to my goals and projects. It also ensures that I don’t allow several weeks to go by without attention to bigger, longer term tasks that I too often let slide. Intentionality day-to-day makes sure I don’t waste precious time that could be devoted to something more meaningful like my family, friends or career aspirations.
How do you organize your time as a busy nurse practitioner?