RP401 – Session 3 – Time Management

Session Readings



Over the past 2 decades, healthcare has witnessed an unprecedented increase in the amount of information in the medical literature; technological advances in imaging, laboratory tests, and therapies; and a vast increase in the number of available medications. Given the expense of many of these diagnostic and therapeutic tools, an outsider might hazard to guess that the most valuable resource in healthcare is money. They would be wrong. As anyone who has worked in healthcare can attest, the most precious resource is time.

Although increased face-to-face time with patients is associated with better patient outcomes, study after study has demonstrated that those in healthcare are spending far less time with pateints that they did in the past. As just one example, a 2012 Academic Medicine study demonstrated that on average, residents working on the inpatient wards spent less than 12 minutes each day with their patients. Amidst this landscape, developing the skills needed to manage one’s time is critical, both in order to optimize the time one has with patients and to become more efficient in order to increase the available time for patient engagement.  Having these skills both helps individuals to be more centered in, and satisfied with, their work and also is likely to reduce medical error.

Although we will explore specific strategies in this module, it is important to recognize that the most effective approach will be one that is tailored to an individual’s strengths and weaknesses – an important lesson to learn as a developing healthcare professionals and officers who will be called upon to help others manage their time more effectively in the future.


In this session, through exploration of effective time-management strategies married with self-reflection and assessment, participants will craft a personalized approach that can more effectively help them prioritize and attend to what often feels like exponential demands both at work and at home.


Prior to meeting please review the above resources, and consider your own challenges with, and strategies for time management.  

  1. Reflect on your day-to-day schedule and consider what strategies you employ (if any) to manage your time. In addition, reflect on: (1) your short and and long-term goals and (2) what is most important to you in life. Come to the small group with notes that answer the following questions:
    1. What are your current time management strategies?
    2. What are your top 3 priorities in life right now?
    3. What is one thing that wastes your time?
    4. Do you have enough time for the things that you consider important?
    5. Do you review your goals regularly to determine if your actions align with those goals?
  2. Be prepared to share some of your time management strategies. Do you use any helpful apps?
HBRWork-Life "Balance" Isn't the Point This article emphasizes work-life "effectiveness" over work-life "balance," pointing out that finding a compatible relationship between the two is the optimal solution versus practicing separation and division.
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TEDEd_rgb9e827c-330x77Time Management: How to Write a To-Do List & Know Where Your Time Goes This TED Ed offers time-management advice and interactive, personalized organisation strategies to help you more effectively organize your tasks, goals and projects.
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TEDxHow to make work-life balance work Speaker Nigel Marsh advises the importance of finding the best way to balance life, family, work, and personal time.
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BMJCareers_LogoHow to improve your time management skills Effective time management is challenging enough, but even more so in the medical world. Read these five strategies to help you more effectively manage your time as a physician.
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washington postTime in the bank: A Stanford plan to save doctors from burnout In order to decrease physician burnout, Stanford hospital's "time banking" program helps physicians achieve better life-balance by rewarding certain behaviors (mentoring, shift covering, etc.) for credit to buy certain home/life services (home-cooked meals, cleaning, etc.).
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thehappymdWork Life Balance - the #1 Life Balance Skill and the Power of "NO" How to create a "life" calendar along with your "work" calendar - strategies in balancing the importance of both.
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Session originally created by: Karlen Bader | Department of Medicine | Research Assistant, HJF | Nutritional Sciences