by Susie Burrell

There are few resources in modern life as precious as time. The interesting thing about time, or lack thereof is that we are all given the same amount of time and can choose how we spend it. Yet, some of us manage to get a lot more done with our time than others. Good time management is a skill, a skill which can be learnt and a skill which is of utmost importance for practitioners in private practice for whom time is money. So if you find yourself constantly short of time, here are some easy ways to free up more of the good stuff so you can spend it on the things you would much rather be doing in your precious spare time.

1) Consider where you waste time.
It may be driving in peak hour, talking on the phone or watching TV but in all of these instances much time can be saved simply by being savvier. For example choosing to work hours slightly outside 9-5pm; talking on the phone when driving (hands free only) or recording your favourite shows and watching them while doing something else eg nails, hair or at least when you do watch your shows, it is without the ads.

2) Remember emails are not work
We can literally spend hours each day answering and screening emails that are a waste of time – the chain responses of other people; requests for information which could be dealt with quickly with standard answers and advertising. Once you stop thinking of your emails as work and instead something to work through quickly in between work you will get a lot more done.

3) Exercise and learn
As health professionals chances are you are exercising regularly and there is no better time to kill two birds with one stone than when you exercise. You can either meet a friend for a catch up while you walk; do some education via a podcast or video or use your training time as your TV time.

4) Finish client letters in sessions
Again as caring health professionals dietitians are notorious for giving far more than we are paid to for our clients. We finish notes, letters and follow ups in our own time, time in which we are unpaid. An easy way to buy yourself more time is to complete all of these tasks in a patient session. If you have a computer in front of you there is no reason why you cannot finish letters and notes while in session and create much more time for yourself outside work hours.

5) Make the most of down time
Waiting in queues, for children and husbands and sitting in the car in traffic are all times in which much can get done. Whether it is emails (not driving obviously), paying bills, making notes are articles or searching articles and keeping up with research are all tasks that can generally be done whilst you are in the midst of ‘life admin’. Then when down time comes you can enjoy it as such.