Swamped with work? You are not alone. There are thousands of other doctors in Pakistan suffering the same fate. In this country, you are trained to be available 24/7 as a doctor which makes time management seem impossible. And people in Pakistan are used to wasting their own time as well as of others, so doctors and their time isn’t spared either. You are unable to make time for your family and are never able to enjoy an outing because your work is always on your time. You may think you don’t have a choice since a doctor’s job is very demanding. No, you always have a choice if you can market your practice or follow some tips for doctors time management.
Here are a few tips for you to help you manage your time better and get more time for the life you are actually working for:
Understand how your own body works: Are you an early bird or a night owl? If you think you can get more work done in the morning, schedule all your appointments in the morning. It’s also usually better to work in the morning if you have kids because while they are going to school, you can go to work. And when they come back, you can too. If however you think that you’re more productive at night, make sure you are at home in the evening and not roaming around purposelessly at that time.
Start a little before time: If you are about to schedule an appointment with your patient at 8:00pm, tell them to come at 7:45pm. This will ensure that even if your patients are 15 minutes late, which they usually are, your time will not be wasted.
Communicate your working hours: It’s tough as a doctor to turn your phone off and not let your patients call you in your free time. Your patient who you just operated some days ago might be calling you to ask you something very important, or you might be receiving a call from the hospital for an emergency surgery. Our advice – Never turn your phone off, yes, but set your priorities. Communicate your working hours to the patients and mention that you will only cater to emergencies outside your working hours. So if you do receive a call outside your working hour, you will know it’s an emergency so you can pick it up.
Try to limit disruptions & distractions: Just like a company meeting requires you to turn your cell phone off, make sure you turn your phone off too during a session with your patient. This ensures that your patient gets your full attention and you are able to finish the session with him in time.
Manage your patients on WhatsApp: If you receive a message from your patient, try to reply to him within three hours. Otherwise, you will start receiving calls from him and that will further interrupt you in your work. Make sure you communicate to your patients that they can message you anytime, and you will call back if necessary – even if you actually won’t call. This would actually stop them from calling you! And it’s always better to communicate promptly via text messages rather than attending a call for every concern.
Set the agenda of your appointment: Try to make your patients stay focused on the agenda of your appointment. If they came with the issue of a stomach pain, try to ensure that they don’t start talking about the knee pain they are having too. Politely ask them to take another appointment so that you can evaluate their knee problem in detail.
Use technology: Everyone is embracing technology fast, why aren’t you? Download any time management and productivity app from Google Play and constructively organize your time now.
Implement these seven tips this week, and tell us how you fared.
Bonus tip: List your practice at Pliro by signing up and making it easier for your patients and your staff to book and manage appointments!