One word that best describes how you work?
Current mobile device
iPhone 12 Pro
What is something you are working on now?
Qualitative analysis on resident perceptions of feedback
How did you come up with this Idea/Project?
As a program we are continuing to look at how feedback is being delivered to residents, when it is happening, how it is received/implemented, etc. This project grew from a desire to explore the resident perspective on these topics so as to understand better where we are effective with our feedback techniques and practices and where we can find areas to improve.
What’s your office workspace setup like?
Currently I’m sitting on my back patio while my three kids are across the yard in their hammock cocoons. I’ve never been much of a desk person, and I always am more comfortable and productive when I vary my environment. Kitchen table, living room by the window, backyard, or, preferentially, a local coffee shop – although that’s less frequent recently #thanksCOVID. Really the only constant to my workspace is my computer and a cup of coffee. Occasionally just a notepad and the cup of coffee. Always the coffee though.
What’s your best time-saving tip in the office or home?
Don’t wait until your sitting down for intentional work to start a to do list! You’ll spend the first 30 minutes of what could be some productive time thinking about what you should be doing. Find a method that works for you to collect your tasks (I’ve used a bunch…topic for another day) and have a plan for when you start to work. I mentioned working opportunistically above. There is no set schedule in our house. Both my wife and I are emergency physicians. I usually look at the week ahead and pick out where my blocks of work are going to be and then look at my task manager and pick out what/where I want to accomplish anything. Its rare that I sit down with an hour or two to work and don’t already have a plan. Second part of that is matching task management with energy levels. Say its 9am after two straight 5pm – whenever shifts (you know the one….the shift that technically has an end time but you never leave at that time). I know that after two nights of crummy sleep that I shouldn’t be trying to do any deep focused work so I’ll plan on doing lighter tasks that are quick and require less concentration. Save the stuff that takes more time and focus for days that you know you’ll be working with a full cup:) I tend to label these with either squirrel or zombie (Some call this the ‘mind is mush’ mindset) tags on my task manager so I can get a quick filter of either one depending on how I’m feeling.
What’s your best time-saving tip regarding email management?
Check it twice a day at the most. This is hard, and I fail regularly, but email is the single biggest time sink we have and the more time you spend out of email the better. The argument I hear is ‘what if it’s something important from my chair/medical director/PD?!’ Here’s the thing…if you only check it twice a day you set that expectation for others. Thankfully those people in my life know that if something is mission critical/needs addressed now they’ll call/text. Set aside this time once or twice a day, reply to the stuff that only takes 2 min or less, and add the other stuff to your task manager. I’m an inbox zero person, but I know that’s not for everyone.
What apps do you use to keep yourself organized?
I use Todoist for task management. That’s really it.
How do you stay up to date with resources?
Feedly is a RSS feed that I use to capture articles. I try to keep up to date with EMRAP and EMA because I know the residents are in that space regularly and I want to be able to speak to the topics that is on the forefront of their minds.
What’s your best time-saving tip in the ED?
Unless someone requires a life saving intervention never get more than 2 charts behind. What will take me a minute or two to dictate now will take 2-3 times that after my shift or later on and it adds up fast. Also dragon dictation. If my dragon is broken you will find me curled up in the fetal position under the desk.
ED charting: Macros or no macros?
Macros for physical exam – but make sure its your typical physical exam so you don’t need to change it often. Other wise dragon dictation for everything else. Not a fan of macros for medical decision making documentation. Too many times its obvious that its a macro and as such starts to diminish the credibility of the note.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received about work, life, or being efficient?
Work life balance implies that you have to give up one side to balance the other. I preach and practice work life integration.
What advice would you give other doctors who want to get started, or who are just starting out?
Sit down with patients and listen to them. You’ll save more time here than at your desk charting. Find what’s important to you and intentionally make time for that. Wellness is different for everyone.
Read other How I Work Smarter posts, sharing efficiency tips and life advice.