Time saving tips to help you stress less

Ben Falkenmire

writer

Ben Falkenmire

Writer

Ben Falkenmire

Strategies to free up time and reduce stress. Decide in advance what you can delegate (and to whom)

Dr Jo Braid, a physician and burnout recovery coach for GPs, believes it’s time to de-stigmatise delegation—and take steps to make it easier on yourself to do. 

“Asking for help is not a vulnerability or a weakness. Let’s drop the stigma. We have these to-do lists that we’re never going to get through, so why not save yourself a bit of angst and cross things off that matter less?” Dr Braid says.

“Look at your to-do list – what can you delegate and what can you delete from list? I’m not talking about clinical tasks. But there may be things that you don’t actually need to do. Maybe there’s something that another person could do really quickly and it’s easy for them with the skillset you have in your team,” Dr Braid suggests.

Aside from stigma, another barrier is the cognitive load it can take to decide what tasks to delegate in the first place.

“Decision fatigue is when we don’t know what we’re going to delegate,” Dr Braid explains. “If you’ve already put in your mind a task you can delegate, like delegating clinical examinations to a registered nurse, then when the task comes in via email or is in your schedule, it’s much easier to say ‘no, I’m going to delegate that’, because you have decided earlier.”

“Good time management will decrease your chance of getting burnt out and increase your longevity in your career. It’s a win-win for you as well as your workplace and patients.”

Plan

Planning for the week ahead can have big time-reaping benefits, psychologists and burnout coaches say.

Dr Jodie Lowinger, a psychologist, executive coach and founder of The Anxiety Clinic, advises having a weekly planning rhythm. Start by carving out time on a Monday morning before seeing patients to write down everything that needs to be done that week, she says.

“It helps to keep your priorities front of mind because tasks can get overwhelming. Don’t do it on a Sunday evening, because that is encroaching on your downtime,” Dr Lowinger says.

“Note tasks down as they come up during the week, to get things out of your head and down on your mobile or laptop. And re-prioritise what is a top priority, and what is white noise. It helps to take the mental load out of it.”

Reflect

In addition to planning ahead, Dr Braid also encourages an end-of-week review. She suggests a simple format with three questions.

“What went well? What didn’t go well? And what would I have done differently? You can then evaluate if changes are working for you or if something different needs to happen,” Dr Braid says.

She also recommends reflecting on whether you view time as a scare or abundant resource. While many feel time is scarce, she says it can be worth questioning whether that presumption is true, or merely a long-held belief that can be challenged.

“Is there really never enough time, or is it a perception that is ingrained? We all have the same amount of time,” says Dr Braid.

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Ben Falkenmire

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