Nurses and Effective Time Management

By Sue Heacock on Thu, Jan 09, 2014

Effective time management is a key life skill. Many of us are so busy with our jobs, family and social commitments, that successfully fitting it all in seems overwhelming. 

Here are ten helpful tips to help the busy nurse get it all done!

  1. Create a "to do list". This allows you to transfer tasks from your mind and onto a piece of paper. Then your brain space becomes available for something else!
  2. Prioritize your "to do list". After enumerating your tasks, put them in a logical order for completion. The short time spent will save time repeatedly trying to remember what you need to do and in what order you should do it.
  3. Cross each task off your list as you complete it. This gives a sense of accomplishment and finalizes the task!
  4. Make new lists at the end of each day for work and home. This saves you from waking up at one in the morning thinking about the dental appointment you need to make. Since it is already on the list you won't be thinking about it! When you get up each morning, you can grab your list and get started. No time wasted!
  5. Declutter your storage area. Whether it is your desk, locker at work, or kitchen cabinets, decluttering your space will add peace of mind and save time finding items you really need! If you have not used it in six months you do not need it! Why are you holding onto that grater you bought to shred cheese for tacos in 1989?
  6. Declutter your paperwork. Yes…that pile of mail that keeps growing as if fertilized. Take time to sort the paperwork and mail in your midst. Clearing it out will provide a sense of clarity and save time riffling through the pile repeatedly looking for something. Who knows? You may even find an uncashed check in the pile!
  7. Learn the simple word, "No". It really is okay not to be everything to everyone. Politely decline those tasks you don't have time for or don't care to do. It's okay. Someone else will do them!
  8. Set your clocks ahead and watch 10 minutes behind the real time. That way you will never be late!
  9. Delegate at home. I know you're thinking, "No one can clean that toilet or dust that end table better than I." It's okay. Remember the "to do list"? Make a "honey do list" for each family member. Trust me...they know how dust…they just pretend they don't! Demonstrating confidence in family members through delegation is positive for their self-esteem too! By the way…when task are completed say, "Thank you, perfect", as opposed to, "I guess that's good enough". That gives them more incentive when they receive the next list.
  10. Delegate at work. Now I hear you saying, "No one can give that bed bath better than I." A key element in effective leadership is delegating appropriate tasks to subordinates. My favorite boss ever delegated progressively.  As I gained confidence, she gained trust and delegated more important tasks. This freed her time to expand her horizons in the work place. She eventually moved away and I got her job.  Since she had delegated, I knew all the ins and outs. She did me a favor! So do yourself and your employees a favor and delegate! 


Shenoi Victor 12 months ago
Nurses have more responsibilities as they have to address patient concerns, file paperwork and respond to doctor’s questions too. With so many responsibilities, a nurse does not have time to waste.

In a day, nurses have to face so many distractions, disorganization and inefficient procedures can make their day long and burden. To overcome that situations, using time management application ( ) could help to manage regular schedules and new patients appointments also.

Anonymous 4 years ago
Feedback from a time management coach:
7, 9. and 10 are really good, because they reduce the things YOU need to do. 1 and 2 are good, but basic.
3 is actually a bad way of thinking about work. You want to feel accomplishment whenever you do anything to move a task forward, even if it's not 100% complete. Many things cannot be completed today.
4 wastes time. Using software properly, you can skip recreating your task list each day.
5 and 6 are good, but if you don't have a SYSTEM for tracking and storing the stuff that was "clutter," it will come back. You will be unable to find things when you need them. ALL of your clutter and storage must be processed into a task list or organized storage area. If it isn't, you cannot keep the space clean.
#8 works for some people, but some quickly learn to ignore clocks altogether! A better option: Use Google Calendar to track your appointments. Have it send you a text message 10 minutes before the appointment. This gives you 10 minutes to stop what you are doing and shift to the next thing.

Nate Crenshaw