November 12, 2008 | | Comments 1
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Time mastery for the nurse manager

by Debra Nussdorfer, MS, RN, PMHCNS-BC

Do you feel like everyone and everything is vying for your attention? Is your to-do list growing, calendar bulging, and are your deadlines looming? Regardless of the overload of responsibilities that await you, you can increase the energy and mental performance you put into each and every day. Here are some of my best tips to help you manage your time:

1. Be opportunistic. Build a network of colleagues to share best practices. Consider how many people attend a management meeting. Take turns writing the [department] newsletter with the management team for all units. Do walking meetings. Being aware of overall goals allows one to seize an opportunity when it presents itself.

2. Be proactive. Use language like “I need 10 minutes within the next week to …” or “I have five minutes. Can we accomplish …?” to set time boundaries and negotiate time extensions.

3. Reduce information overload. Choose journals and e-mail subscriptions judiciously.

4. Differentiate the urgent from important from nonessential. Some “requirements” may be revised or disappear.

5. High emotional arousal decreases cognition. Anger, ruminating, helplessness, blaming, and complaining steal time. Choose an attitude and expect the same of others. This fundamental choice allows a look for meaning in what is done and generates positive emotions and energy.

6. Reenergize. Make an agreement with colleagues to share and celebrate self care. Stop celebrating “I am so busy” and start celebrating “I went for a walk.”

How do you manage your time effectively? Share your ideas here.

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Filed Under: Leadership

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About the Author: This post was compiled by members of the Strategies for Nurse Managers staff.

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  1. I would add:
    7. Teach your managers to be more supportive of their workers’ work/life issues and requests. The November issue of Harvard Business Review article, “Supervisor Work/Life Training Gets Results,” demonstrated an improvement in worker health, perception of manager support, compliance with safety programs, and job satisfaction. Managers focused on training in four areas: providing emotional support; providing structural support; modeling healthful behavior; and partnering with other managers. Employees who are able to balance their work/life responsibilities mean less time putting out fires.

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