Nursing

Web site spotlight: Beware of monkeys on your back by managing your time

Nurse Leader Insider, December 1, 2008

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by Debra Nussdorfer, MS, RN, PMHCNS-BC, coordinator for the ANCC Magnet Recognition Program® at Penrose St. Francis Health Systems in Colorado Springs, CO

If you are overwhelmed by a growing to-do list, bulging calendar, and approaching deadlines, you are not alone. In today's healthcare environment, complexity, time compression, information overload, and change are the norm.

An excellent time management article, "Management Time: Who's Got the Monkey?" published in Harvard Business Review, uses the monkey on the back metaphor to describe the pressure, stress, and heaviness managers and staff members can feel from the many demands on their time. While you cannot increase the number of hours in your day, you can increase the energy and mental performance you put into those hours and the quality of life you get out of them. Ensure you (and your staff) make the most of each and every day with 10 time management tips:

  1. Examine your perspective of time. Good time managers possess a heightened sense of time and recognize time has boundaries. You have the power to make deliberate decisions even if the choice is acceptance vs. resistance. Recognize these choices.
  2. Promote expertise and professional development. Consider the "monkey." When someone asks a question or makes a request, decide if accepting this "monkey" is constructive. It may seem easier to say yes, but saying no and being a coach can keep your workload down while simultaneously promoting the professional development, confidence, and competence of colleagues. 

Editor's note: For the next eight tips, visit, "Beware of monkeys on your back by managing your time" featured in The Reading Room on HCPro's online resource center, www.StrategiesforNurseManagers.comGet a free trial membership that will give you 30 days to test drive all the exciting features on the Web site.



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