Guest blogger Patricia Payne is the Office/Benefits Manager at Lakeside Nephrology, Ltd., In Chicago. Patricia shares some tips on staying organized through list making that can be easily implemented in any practice.
As a nephrologist or a professional working in a nephrology practice, I bet you think you are organized. I know I like to think that I am a very organized person. In fact, I have three loves when it comes to organizational skills. I love to label file folders and then fill them with the corresponding paperwork. I love to shred paper because doing so gives me a wonderful sense of accomplishment. Most of all, I love to make lists.
We all make grocery lists and guest lists, but I have an insatiable need to make to-do lists for everything. The question is, at the end of the day, what have I accomplished? I made a list and tasks were put on it. Along with a sense of accomplishment, lists help me to prioritize my day and have a calming effect so I can turn off my brain and sleep.
How to make an effective list
In order to be a successful list maker, you have to be a successful “task completer,” otherwise there is no real purpose of a list other than to procrastinate. I have found that if I write down four or five items I know I need to get done in a specified time frame, I should be able to accomplish them all. However, I do not allow myself to write down a) check voicemail messages, b) check email or c) answer phones. These are the daily things I do out of habit and would just be put written down for the sake of crossing them off; the repeated daily tasks have no place on a working list.
To be an effective list maker, follow this simple process:
- Use a spiral notebook (or day-timer). This keeps the pages together so they can be flipped through easily.
- Date the first page. This will allow a time reference if you need to refer to when the task was assigned.
- Number the tasks and be specific. If a report needs to be done, name it (A/R, no-shows, billing reports, etc.) and give each report its own number.
- Put a time limit on the task. This helps to prioritize the tasks on a daily basis and gives you a weekly log of what has been completed.
- Re-organize the list. If #4 was not completed on the first day, then it becomes #1 on the list the following day.
Late-night list therapy
Sometimes I find that if I have had a busy day at work, I cannot turn off my brain at home and relax. I might be tired, mentally exhausted and ready for bed around 10:30 p.m., but as soon as I try to drift off to sleep my brain turns on. I find myself going through my day, particularly my lists, and wondering what I forgot to do. So, I get up and make a list. In this case, the list is comprised of everything that is swirling in my head. The simple task of writing down my thoughts allows me to again achieve that sense of accomplishment, and then relax and fall asleep. The best part of this list, however, is waking the next morning with hearty laugh as I try to decipher the scribble.