Follow the 10 "time commandments" to effectively manage your time and complete tasks.
1 I shall start on time. Catching up is much more difficult than staying ahead.
2 I shall walk into the exam room at the time of the patient's appointment. Doing so will result in a greater likelihood of the patient requesting that the problem for which the appointment was made be addressed and not additional items that he or she thought of while waiting.
4 I shall step out of the exam room when time permits to precept physician assistants and nurse practitioners. While the patient changes into a gown, you have that needed 1-2 minutes of precepting time.
5 I shall complete the prior day's work before starting a new day and time. This may be at the end of the workday, or via a very early start on the following day.
6 I shall be proactive, rather than reactive, when considering the amount of time needed to complete tasks. Knowing how much time you will need to get back on schedule allows you to then block slots ahead of time in order to get back on track (and get the work done).
7 I shall address the lab results on my desk at the beginning of the day before the time of my first patient's appointment. Reviewing/addressing labs of patients seen the previous day takes seconds, rather than the minutes required to do so for patients seen many days ago.
8 I shall ensure that my medical record summary lines reflect what it is that I need to know when addressing the patient next time. This step will make #3 above all the easier.
9 I shall keep the number of intra-office memos on my desktop to a single digit at any one time. Keeping these on the desktop, while knowing that they are not going to be addressed until some later date, just creates clutter, making it difficult to locate what needs to be addressed today.
10 I shall spend more time with my family as a result of these "commandments." It's important to remember that "in 'family practice,' 'family' comes first, and 'practice' comes second."
The author practices family medicine in The Woodlands, Texas. Send your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org