Time management is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of rebellion, but hear me out on this.
I write to you, healthcare worker to healthcare worker. No matter what our roles are, no matter the setting we work in, no matter how long we have been doing this, no matter that we may not have ever met face-to-face, there is one thing that we both know to be true: the healthcare industry is at a low point. It’s not working for patients, but that’s not why I write. It’s not working for us, it’s not working for YOU, and we both know that there is not any light at the end of the tunnel. If we’re waiting for the magic wand that will fix all of…this…we’re going to have to keep waiting. We are being required to do more with less than ever before. If we are being honest with ourselves, we know that we are over a barrel and have little to no say in what happens in our daily work life.
I could list off all the reasons that we are up against the wall – insurance companies, administrators, lack of staffing, burnout, pandemic/tripledemic – but we both know that already. It makes more sense to talk about how we might be able to cope with this, and if you ask me (and even if you don’t), our ability to cope is the first step to us getting our power back and making real change that can make us love our professional hours again (or maybe for the first time). At this point, wouldn’t you settle for simply liking your work day?
This is where time management as rebellion comes in.
When we are stretched to our absolute limit, we have nothing left – nothing left for our personal lives, nothing left for our personal interests. It’s all we can do to keep our heads above water. It’s like living paycheck to paycheck; you’re never going to get ahead. You’re certainly not going to be able to rebel, to speak up and say what you really need to be happy.
But if you are able to draw a line in the sand, and if you are able to maintain that line, you start to take your power back. You start to get your head above water. Over time, you go from not drowning - to treading water - to swimming. And with a lot of skill building, and a lot of practice, and a lot of power, you can even start swimming upstream. Instead of being washed away, you can fight back.
You don’t need another pizza in the breakroom – at least not the kind that you are used to, the kind that is at best used as a way to placate you, and at worst as a decoy for actually addressing real issues. The kind of pizza in the breakroom that you need is this – someone to actually say what is going on and propose some kind of solution that you can use right away, that is within your power to act on.
The first step is managing your time is to know exactly where it is going. If you want to get fancy, you can call it a time audit, but whatever you call it, you’re going to write down everything that you do, how long it takes, and then step back and look at it. Kind of like a budget. Once you know where you are spending your time, then you can make adjustments. Then you can take your power back, a little at a time. You can be in control.