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Managing Your Time to Achieve Work-Life Balance
Whether it is in the job or lifestyle as a whole, learning how to manage your time effectively can help with feeling relaxed, focused and in control.
Working in the hospital or community setting often requires you to manage a number of professional tasks whilst also caring for your patients. If you are a pharmacist, you will find yourself doing a range of jobs that are not necessarily clinical tasks — for example, selling consumer goods or completing paperwork. Pharmacists who are owner managers of a shop may find themselves overwhelmed with paperwork. In many cases it might be possible for some of these tasks to be carried out competently by technicians, or other staff, who would probably welcome the opportunity to take on more responsibility. Similarly, as a doctor in general practice, you may need to avoid surgery interruptions and manage your time by working closely with your receptionists to ensure consultation times are evenly scheduled and do not overrun.
For some, having a good work-life balance means being able to spend long hours in work to get the jobs done that need to be done, whilst having supportive and understanding families who do not begrudge long hours spent in the workplace.1 For others, it is being able to spend a maximum amount of time away from the workplace to enjoy time with families and friends, or just with themselves.1
A simple and effective tool to help manage time is the ‘urgent versus important’ matrix (Figure 1): which can help to organise day to day activities into:
- Unimportant and not urgent Delete it or drop it from your schedule1
- Urgent, but not important Delegate it or distribute it to someone else (including your boss)1
- Important but not urgent- ‘Diarise’ it i.e. put it in your diary to work on at a later date1
- Important and urgent - Do it now. These are the projects, tasks or items you should be working on today1
Figure 1: Adapted from Phillips T.; Pharmacy Management Volume 33 Issue 2, 20171
Learning to Say No
When saying ‘no’, it is important to give the reasons and to go the extra mile to help others find alternative solutions.
An acronym that can help is N.E.A.T1:
- Let your yes be yes and your no be no. Don’t prevaricate. It may send confusing messages about whether you want to help or not.
- Explain why you cannot take on any more responsibility.
- You may lack the right expertise or knowledge and therefore it may be easier to allow someone else to do it. It may be a development opportunity for someone.
- Be prepared to explore alternatives and suggest delegating to someone else.
- Consider negotiating the timelines or diarising for later.
- It is important to agree actions and timeline by which to deliver on assigned tasks.
When proactively reviewing your time management on a regular basis, remember to reward yourself for a job well done. Take stock of what you have achieved and celebrate. Share your success with your boss or a colleague or a loved one.1
Reference : Phillips T.; Getting Your Work Life Balance Right By Managing Your Time Effectively, Pharmacy Management, Volume 33 Issue 2 2017
Date of Preparation: March 2018
JOb code: PP-GEP-GBR-1004