Certainly, it is stressful to work as a nurse considering the difficulties the job entails. Effective time management on the job remains one of the greatest challenges for nurses. However, when nurses plan and arrange their activities, they can manage their time on the job better. According to Buchwach (2009), time management is a technique for developing and adopting practices and instruments for most efficacy and productivity. This takes mastering some skills such as goal setting, planning, and prioritizing. Effective time management is important because it helps nurses balance their work and personal time more efficiently. Also, it allows nurses to give better healthcare not only to their patients but also to themselves. It is necessary for nurses to learn how to effectively manage their time on the job to reduce stress and give good care. The steps below can help nurses effectively analyze and manage their time on the job.
The first step in effective time management in the involves the identification of goals. Nurses need to analyze professional and private goals they want to make with their available time, both short-term and long-term. Subsequently, a priority number is assigned to each goal with regard to the order of importance. Nurses can do this every week to keep track of their achievements and improve on their weaknesses. Secondly, nurses need to analyze how they spend their time by maintaining everyday activity records for about one to two weeks. The record helps in detecting whether the available time is used in productive activities or wasted in unnecessary actions. They need to record this information every day to make sure they recall activities correctly and avoid depending on memory.
The third step involves comparing the recorded time use patterns to the identified goals. This helps in recognizing the time patterns that prevent them from attaining their goals. Nurses should focus on those activities that waste their time like deferments, interruptions, futile meetings, and reckless acting. Then, they can structure their plan to focus on attaining goals. Strategic scheduling is necessary to avoid time wastage. Prioritizing go along with strategic planning. Nurses can prioritize their activities by using a priority matrix. This involves classifying different events into four categories. The four categories include: necessary and urgent, necessary but not urgent, not necessary but urgent, and not necessary and not agent. The aim of the exercise is to find the right time for doing different activities. They can place those activities that waste time in the last class while important matters that need urgent attention in the first class. After identifying and prioritizing every day activities, nurses can plan for them in a calendar.
Lastly, nurses need to battle out their major time-wasting activities. This involves analyzing their work day, identifying work wasting activities and dealing with them. One of the major time wasters is procrastination. It indicates internal conflict and uncertainty. In addition, it leads to evasion of challenging tasks. Nurses should face procrastination by finding what is restraining them from executing tasks and the consequences of such failure. Procrastination can be tackled by identifying high-energy work times and planning challenging activities at these times. Nurses should focus in dealing with one challenge at a time. Additionally, they need to decide their personal targets and develop a proper plan that fits activities into personal schedules. Before the start of the day, or any other right time, nurses can check their plans for the day and plan to meet their deadlines.
Buchwach, D. (2009). Time management a guide for nurses. Marblehead, MA: HCPro.