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What to do if... you feel you never have enough time

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Time pressures are a hot topic right now, perhaps more than usual but how can you take control and get on top of it?

A busy day can still be a good day. Time often becomes a stress factor when we are either unrealistic about the time we have – trying to cram that extra task into a gap that doesn’t exist or take on more than we have time for such as not allowing time for everything we need to do in the day. Often it’s our good intentions and nature that lets us down by our desire to not let others down. Saying yes when we realistically don’t have time, looking at the day and thinking that it will just magically all fit into place somehow rather than taking control and making decisions – some of which may go against our desire to please everyone or achieve everything!

Plan the day – Look at the time available and the tasks, it all has to fit in. Plan, prioritise, delegate or put off what you need to. You can only do what you can do, with the time available so it is crucial to be realistic.  

Plan ahead – the more of a challenge time is the further ahead you look and plan makes it easier to anticipate and manage potential challenges. Working further ahead not only reduces the risk of working in a reactional way but also makes it easier for others to manage their time and expectations.

Having a schedule rather than a list of tasks or concepts can help. Knowing how much time you have, a list of the things you need to do in that time, (including stuff for you) and having a daily schedule allows you to have one task to do – stick to the schedule, most of which is about managing your behaviours and other’s expectations.

How many hats do you wear and where does each one fit into the day? Even within the working day, we all have various components to our roles, how much time do you need to allocate to which hat in order to prevent the ‘loudest’ or the one which is influenced the most by others, taking over the time of other aspects of your role? A simple analogy for this could be saying yes to taking those extra couple of consults and client call backs resulting in you having to stay an hour late to catch up on notes.

Remember the importance of scheduling time for the stuff which allows you to perform at your best and be your best self. Whether it's time for breaks, time to discuss a case that is worrying you with a colleague or making sure you finish on time to go for that bike ride or spend time with family. These keep your energy levels up through the day and re-boot you at the end of the day.

Sounds easy, but the reality is all of this requires changing our own behaviours, perhaps to say no, or not prioritise the wrong things, often it's just about being realistic and accepting that you can only do your best, but to do your best you need to have the work-life balance right and do the things which help you perform at your best when in your working environment.

About VDS Training
VDS Training are passionate about developing all members of the veterinary team, to help you overcome the personal and professional challenges you face on a daily basis, and to build practical skills and techniques to make a real difference to you and your life.