Can’t seem to get anything done? Do you find yourself stopping and restarting so many times, you lose your place? Often you must repeat what you did before and waste time? All because of endless interruptions. You’re not alone. Many nurses feel this way. Here are four ways to decrease interruptions and increase your efficiency.
1. Isolate yourself
You don’t have to lock yourself in, just put some space between you and other people. If you’re giving report or discussing a patient, it’s amazing how much more you can get done behind closed doors. People are more likely to wait until you come out than knock on the door.
2. Manage your phone calls
Just because the phone rings, doesn’t mean you have to answer it. Be in control of your phone. Don’t let it control you. Utilize voice mail. Call back when you are ready.
3. Be assertive
Just because someone wants to talk with you right now, doesn’t mean you have to. Pleasantly, let them know this is not a good time. Negotiate what a good time is for you and them.
Try saying something like this, “I would love to talk with you. I just can’t right now. Can we talk in about an hour or at about ____ o’clock?”
Seldom does someone say no. Only the very sensitive are offended. Expect people to be a bit surprised when you first start doing this. Don’t worry, they’ll get used to it.
4. Set a schedule for yourself and stick to it
At the end of a work day, do you wonder where the time went? You worked hard all day but have little to show for it. That will happen less if at the beginning of each day, you make a schedule. Start with the highest priority items first. Save the tasks that can be done without much concentration for the end of the day when you are tired. If you begin to get behind, look at what you can put off until tomorrow or better yet, not do at all. You might be able to delegate some of what you think only you can do.
Can you handle getting more done in less time? If you follow these four steps you will see your interruptions dwindle. Go for it!