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New Series: How I Work Smarter


We are all busy individuals trying to juggle various projects, a multitude of responsibilities, and balancing work and home life. “Work smarter, not harder” is often heard to remind us that we should be looking to improve our working styles to be more efficient. It is easier said than done. One place that I have drawn inspiration from is in LifeHacker’s “How I Work” series, which highlights the personal working habits of successful entrepreneurs and leaders.

So in homage to that series, we are creating a new series on ALiEM called How I Work Smarter, whereby invited individuals share their practices about being more efficient in time management and filtering information overload. The individuals will answer these questions:


  • Location
  • Current job
  • One word that best describes how you work
  • Current mobile device
  • Current computer

Questions about yourself

  • What’s your office workspace setup like?
  • What’s your best time-saving tip in the office or home?
  • What’s your best time-saving tip regarding email management?
  • What’s your best time-saving tip in the ED?
  • ED charting: Macros or no macros?
  • What’s the best advice you’ve ever received about work, life, or being efficient?
  • Is there anything else you’d like to add that might be interesting to readers?
  • Who would you love for us to track down to answer these same questions? (list up to 3 names)
Michelle Lin, MD
ALiEM Editor-in-Chief
Academy Endowed Chair of EM Education
Professor of Clinical Emergency Medicine
University of California, San Francisco
Michelle Lin, MD
Michelle Lin, MD

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  • Mojtaba

    Very good idea especially for us (very busy emergency physicians) with high ranking in burnout among medical professions.

  • mads astvad

    Get Minh Le Cong. Wanna know how he does it.

    • Thanks, Mads. He is quite amazing – agreed.

  • Kyle S.

    I’ve appreciated this series very much. I would like to hear from a community pit doc, without academic or blog affiliations, however. Although perhaps this isn’t (understandably) a focus of a blog whose title references “academic life” in EM. I have found the responses regarding macros interesting and varied, and wonder if solo pt/hr volume may determine the extent of macro use?

    • The concept of the judicious-use of macros is a whole topic on its own. I bet we use it differently in different practice settings, partly defined by the capabilities of the EMR system in place. Even within my single setting alone (county, academic), an informal poll shows that attendings use it to different degrees.