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At a recent course, I asked a group of clinicians, ‘if you had an extra hour in the day what would you do for yourself?’
In among a range of responses from sleep and exercise, to spending time with family and friends, one doctor said, ‘I would do more work’.
It led us to discuss time, work-overload and balance, as well as their commitment to the profession. It’s these types of conversations that inspire the focus of the BMA masterclass, time management and taking control and time management webinar.
Here are some tips and advice for you to carve an extra hour for yourself.
1 Re-connect with your priorities
It sounds overly simple but when you get a moment think about the projects and activities you want to say ‘yes’ to. When you are clear on what you want, it can help you to say no more effectively.
2 Is it really important?
Create a 2x2 grid with ‘important’ and ‘not important’ across the top and ‘urgent’ and ‘not urgent’ down the side, then allocate your tasks to the four squares in the grid. This makes you think about your priorities for the day ahead.
3 Make a start
The Pomodoro technique, developed by Francesco Cirillo, uses a timer to break down tasks into timed blocks. To try this, choose a task and think about the amount of time you would need to complete it. Set a timer to 25 minutes (you can use your phone or an egg timer), and work on the task, avoiding all distractions and urges to multi-task. When your 25 minutes are up, take a 5-minute break and resume if you have time available. This can help break down large tasks into manageable bite-sized chunks.
4 Schedule according to your energy levels
We all have different energy levels, so thinking about the best time to do different types of tasks is useful. You can schedule more demanding tasks for times in the day when you tend to have the most energy. This will make them seem less onerous and help you to complete them more efficiently.
5 Use technology to help you
There are some fantastic apps that can help with your workload:
If you know of any time-saving apps, please share your favourites with us.
Susan Edwards is a Learning and Development Consultant at the BMA.
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