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Management is the science that includes the planning, organization and coordination (Said, 2014). Time Management is a way to develop and use processes and tools for maximum efficiency, effectiveness, and productivity (Said, 2014) . Lack of time management can cause one to be stressed, unorganized, and not getting things done. In time management we are managing our time better, we are simply making better decisions about what we do and how we will do it, at the end we have better performance (Said, 2014). Time management is significantly important in nursing, because wasting time and inappropriate management have negative effects on patients’ health (Gourdazian, Ranjbar, Babaei, & Heidari, 2017). Time management is the best way of using time to achieve personal or professional goals, and it directly causes to perform daily activities satisfactorily and progress at work (Gourdazian et al., 2017).
Time Management is the method which used to organize our time, so each decision we make regarding that is useful, constructive and the most beneficial to our life’s structures (Said, 2014). The management and organizing of time help us to complete our works faster, with less effort and allows us to seize opportunities. According to Katey & Torres, the essence of time management is to put some things first, others second, and still others third. Set goals and order them from most to least important. Then develop a time plan for meeting them. Control your actions in order to make the most of your time. Learning to manage time means learning to manage yourself” (as cited by Said, 2014). Nurses have a lot on their plate for the majority of their eight to twelve hour shift. It probably seems as if no matter what you do, you are always behind. It is best to have a plan when you see your workload. A nurse should consider which tasks you can consolidate and delegate. They cannot forget that they are not the only ones trying to get the job done. There are other members of the staff as well, and the more you help others, the more they help you. Sengupta states that the “Pickle Jar Theory” teaches us the right way to manage time, it’s very simple to understand and execute, it also makes us aware of the fact that distractions that lead to mismanagement that should be avoided completely in order to follow the right track (as cited by Said, 2014). The basic idea is that you should schedule only your high priority tasks for the day and leave the gaps in between for less important activities (email, browsing and so forth) (as cited by Said, 2014). This is supported by the analogy of a pickle jar, where you can fit more in the jar if you add large pebbles first before pouring in smaller pebbles and sand (rather than adding the largest pebbles last when they will be unlikely to fit) (as cited by Said, 2014).
Chunta & Boothby have compiled some tips that can help a struggling or first-time nurse get through the day without going completely insane. There are eight main components that they spoke about: self-assessment, preparing in advance, tackling projects, managing email, controlling meetings, confronting distractors, taking care of yourself and ,of course, be a good time manager. Self-assessment includes taking an overall look at what you do when you start your day and how you can find ways to maximize the amount of time you spend on all of your tasks. They say to honestly evaluate your tendency to procrastinate and identity strategies to overcome it (Chunta & Boothby, 2017). Next is preparing in advance. Effective time management begins by planning ahead, so prepare for the next day by starting the night before (Chunta & Boothby, 2017). Getting your clothes and necessities ready and organized ahead of time and having a to-do list ready to go. This strategy avoids rushing in the morning and helps prioritize activities before starting the workday (Chunta & Boothby, 2017). Now to tackling projects. If you have a report, evaluation, or other project due, start your day by getting it done, even before you open your email (Chunta & Boothby, 2017) . It is wise to focus on projects that are high priority while you are still fresh and not distracted by other tasks that you have for the day. Email is another time consumer, it can become a constant distractor, keeping you away from bigger projects (Chunta & Boothby, 2017). A wise suggestion is to schedule regular intervals to check and address your emails (Chunta & Boothby, 2017). Meetings are an essential part of a nurse’s job. It is where they address what needs to be worked on, and what is going swimmingly. As a nurse, you should use your position to control meetings; make sure they are necessary, and come prepared to start with the most important agenda item (Chunta & Boothby, 2017). It is rare that busy nurse leaders have large chunks of time to get finished with any work that requires full attention. However, implementing good time-management strategies, such as planning and prioritizing, managing small increments of time, and including personal time away from work can improve productivity and job satisfaction (Chunta & Boothby, 2017). In their article, Chunta & Boothby suggest completing a time audit to help you evaluate and improve your time management skills. Typically there is a significant disparity between the way people say they spend their time and the way people actually spend their time. A time audit is a helps you see basically everything you do so you understand what you are dedicating your time to. Trying one out can help you identify small increments of time that can be better managed. To complete one, you begin by tracking your time all day for several weeks. After it is over, you need to review the log for opportunities to make improvements (Chunta & Boothby, 2017). You may identify interruptions or inefficient tasks, overuse of texting, and personal Internet and social media use (Chunta & Boothby, 2017). Or you might recognize small increments of time that could be used more efficiently (Chunta & Boothby, 2017). Prioritize the more important tasks, avoid too many distractions, and see if you can change the order in which you complete your tasks to make better use of your time. Also, you should cut out low-priority or low-value activities, and see if you can get more high-value activities done. Maybe doing more important tasks will help you focus more.
Sandi Thorson is an RN with an extremely busy schedule. She juggles being a wife, mom, grandmother, and a student earning her Master’s Degree in Nursing Administration (Nelson, 2015). She carries around a piece of paper during shifts that lists all of the important tasks and times they are to be completed (Nelson, 2015). Developing organizational skills and patience and utilizing well-needed short breaks can eliminate many of the normal stressors that others might not be able to overcome (Nelson, 2015). Doing so aids a nurse in completing all the tasks on their agenda. Thorson has suggested some skills, personality characteristics, and other tips that can help nurses manage their workload and tasks that get piled up during a shift (Nelson, 2015). The first tip is to have fun. Nursing can be a very intense and focused career, so picking the right times to just goof off or blow off steam in a pleasurable way can help relieve that tension (Nelson, 2015). Next she says prioritize tasks. Nurse Thorson believes time management is all about critical thinking and how to prioritize your time and efforts as a nurse (Nelson, 2015). To get to that point of comfort in prioritizing, she says that nurses need to ask these four questions that can help put everything in its place in your mind and in your schedule:
What am I going to do first and why? Which is more important to do, and why is it the most important? What’s the worst thing that could happen if I don’t do it now? What is most important to the patient? Your answers to these questions can help you to make your day go a lot smoother and help you get the most efficiency out of your time. Balancing work with life seems hard to be able to explain due to the fact that everyone has different things going on in their life. The crazy hours that nurses have to deal with can be a real stressor, especially for people who have families and kids. Hopefully, Thorson remarks, your family can be supportive of your weird hours, and accommodate by helping out around the house and scheduling family events when you are available (Nelson, 2015). No matter how many articles or websites you read about managing your time, you have to create a strategy that works best for you. There are so many different types of nurses with so many different types of schedules that no one formula will solve every nurses’ problem. Celestine Chua, Founder of Personal Excellence, has compiled twenty quick tips for better time management. Most of them are redundant considering the many other tips already spoken of, but there are some new ones that could be very useful. Tip one: create a daily plan. Planning your day before it unfolds gives you a good overview of how the day will pan out so that you won’t get caught off guard (Chua, n.d). Tip two: Peg a time limit to each task. Be clear that you need to finish X task by ten am Y task by three pm and Z item by five-thirty pm (Chua, n.d). This prevents your work from dragging on and eating into time reserved for other activities (Chua, n.d). Having a time limit keeps you on track in completing everything you have to do. Tip six: Learn to say “No”. Do not take on more than you can handle, and defer distractions to a later period (Chua, n.d). Tip seven: Target to be early. When you try to be on time, you will either be on time or late; if you target to be early, you will more than likely be on time (Chua, n.d). Tip eleven: focus. Focusing one one task at a time is probably the most important tip for anyone struggling with managing their time. If you try to do too many things at one time, you will not get all of them done to the best of your ability. Tip twelve: Block out distractions. Your phone can be a recurrent disturbance that stops you from getting anything done. It diverts your attention for at least two minutes at a time, which can add up to hours of the day that could have been put toward something important. As a nurse, there are way too many lives at stake to be answering text messages and emails in the hallway. Taking short breaks in between getting things done will save you from inefficient use of time.
Nurses play a really big part in the lives of patients and residents in health-care facilities Efficient use of time is the most important part of being a nurse. Every task that nurses have are time sensitive. When we are successful at time management, we are able to maximize use of every hour of the day (Said, 2014). This means using each hour of our day to do the right things to accomplish all of the tasks that we need to in the most efficient manner (Said, 2014). More time management more achievement, less stress (Said, 2014). Aimlessly doing tasks without any organization makes more work for the nurse and will always leave you behind. Lack of time management will have you staying at work after everyone else has left just to complete your finishing duties. Nursing is a demanding and stressful occupation, thus the nurses should be organized. Managing time effectively, knowing when to delegate and thinking critically are essential (Said, 2014).
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