Top 10 personal productivity tips

Jennifer Gardner, MD

Skills centered on organization, prioritization, time management, and minimizing distractions are often not taught in school, but they are increasingly essential. In Saturday’s session, “Getting Things Done: Productivity Tips for the Busy Dermatologist” (U046), Jennifer Gardner, MD, will provide practical ways to improve efficiency. These tips can also help you avoid stress, anxiety, exhaustion, and eventual burnout.

  1. “Doing it all” is a myth. Only say yes to what’s most important to you.
  2. Go paperless. Get rid of the piles of papers, journals, and books. Think you might need it later? Scan it and save it all digitally.
  3. Clear your head. Do a “brain dump” and get the “to-dos” out of your head. Develop a system to regularly capture and process tasks.
  4. Lose the post-its. Get yourself a digital task manager you can trust.
  5. Use your calendar. Schedule blocks of time on your calendar, as you would an appointment, to complete tasks on time. Give yourself realistic timeframes and deadlines. Don’t try to multitask; focus on completing one thing at a time.
  6. Process email efficiently. Use the “touch it once” and “two-minute” rules. Touch each email only once. If it will require more than two minutes of your time, transfer it to your task manager.
  7. Rethink “time management.” Consider alternative strategies for managing energy states and priorities, rather than simply time. Not all hours within a 24-hour day are created equal.
  8. Keep calm and delegate. Preserve your time, energy, and attention by outsourcing or delegating any task you can.
  9. Protect your system. Develop strategies to protect you from distractions, other peoples’ priorities, and your own psychology. For example, break your tech addiction. Turn off notifications on apps and electronic devices, and schedule email-processing blocks on your calendar.
  10. Protect the asset. (Spoiler alert: You’re the asset!) Sleep, exercise, and meditation are essential components for keeping you mentally, physically, and spiritually at your best. It is critical to make time for you.

 

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