Simple Productivity Hacks For Nurses & Other Healthcare Pros To Achieve Work-Life Balance

May 16, 2017

     How come for some there never seems to be enough time in the day, while others manage to cram in gobs of productivity every day? How are there some that barely manage the time to take a shower and brush their teeth, while others get to the gym and/or fit in a hobby of some sort? 

 

     We all have the same twenty-four hours each day, right?! So how does this happen? Well, I'm going to tell you. I hope the next few paragraphs change your life...in a good way. By the way, these life hacks I'm going to tell you are ACTUAL things I implement within my life.

 

     These tips have enabled me to carve out enough time everyday to drop over 30 pounds of fat and add 10 pounds of lean muscle within 1 year, read a book a week, learn fluent Spanish, and play numerous musical instruments, all while still managing quality family time and an amazing relationship with my wife.

 

     Before I get started I want to preface the fact that anyone can do what I'm about to tell you, but it will take work, especially at first since it's a new habit you're forming. You have to give it a few weeks (6 to be exact) so that it becomes part of you. However, if it's more time and a more fulfilled life you'd like, I promise you, it'll be worth the time and effort.

 

     As you already know, I'm a nurse. Many of you guys reading this are either nurses or in the healthcare industry. That could mean you work 12 hour shifts 3 days per week, 10 hour shifts 4 days per week, 8 hour shifts 5 days per week, or a variation of the sort. No matter your work schedule, you can master productivity and time management if you truly want to. It's like kicking a bad habit, you'll never be successful unless you truly truly decide to be.

 

     I currently put in three 12 hour days. During the work days I sleep 6 hours per day and fill in the extra time learning and accomplishing goals I've set for myself. If you wish for greatness, read on. If you're not that interested in greatness, you've probably already stopped reading before this point anyway. ;)

 

     I remember one time I sat down on the couch to put on my shoes. I looked up and there was a show on I hadn't seen in a LONG time. Before I knew it, I had WASTED 45 minutes sitting there watching this show. This leads me to my very first point, TURN OFF THE TELEVISION. Instead, schedule that Netflix time for a special occasion. It's non-productive. The average American watches 5 hours and 4 minutes of TV per day! If you want to sit and watch TV in your spare time everyday, that's totally ok, but it won't lead to greatness.

 

     The VERY FIRST THING we need to start with is setting a goal. If you fail to plan, you're really planning to fail. It's been said that if you aim at nothing, you'll hit it EVERY TIME. So, if you'd like to pick up a new skill or accomplish some big things, you need to know how to correctly set goals and then set them. I like to call it setting S.M.A.R.T. goals. Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based. For brevity's sake PLEASE watch this 2 minute vid on S.M.A.R.T. goals. You'll be glad you did.

 

     If you've followed this blog or follow me on social media you know the importance I place on reading. It's REALLY important. I could easily write a whole blog on the importance of reading (I think I will). When I figured this out, my whole life changed. I've committed to reading a book a week over the last few years. Sometimes I get side-tracked, especially since enrolling into Nurse Practitioner school, but I am committed to setting aside time to read each day and I never deviate. 

     

      I've heard it said that "life puts its best stuff on the top shelf and you have to stand on the books you read in order to reach them." The late Jim Rohn instilled in me the importance of reading. Do you want to become better? Would you like to learn the secrets of the most successful people in the world? Guess what, they've put all their secrets on the pages of books you can get for free at a magical place called the LIBRARY. Want to learn a skill, get better at communicating, better at public speaking, learn how to make more money, have a better lifestyle? It's all there!

 

     It's been shown that less than 5% of the U.S. population as a library card. There was a recent HuffPost/YouGov poll of 1000 respondents that demonstrated 28% of that population had not read even 1 book in the last year. 25% had only read between 1 and 5 books. I've seen other polls that give worse data than this. Did you know the average CEO makes more in one day than the average employee makes in one year? Also, did you know that the average CEO reads 4-5 books per month? Do you think there's a correlation? You bet there is. If a busy CEO can do it, so can you.

 

     So here's the trick, commit to 10 pages per day. It can be 5 in the morning and 5 at night. It can be 10 in the morning or 10 at night. It can even be 10 throughout the day. Although I suggest reading as much of those 10 pages at one time as you can for retention. If you were to read 10 pages per day 7 days per week and the average book was 225 pages you will have read 16 books in over a year's time! If you want an edge in life, I assure you this will give you one. By the way, I'm talking non-fiction here friends. There's benefit to reading fiction, but as far as skill acquisition, it's not likely to happen.

 

     From here on, the things I'm going to refer to requires the strict use of a 30 or 60 minute timer. It's EXTREMELY important that you heed this advice. It's so easy to get wrapped up in something and before you know it, you've spent way too much time and have neglected your other obligations.  Everyone's cellphone has a timer. Use it and you'll see.

 

      When you look good, you feel good. When you feel good, your posture is different and people respond to you different. It's no secret, being healthy and looking fit is a game-changer. But it's tough! It takes time, commitment, and dedication. If it weren't, we'd all be walking around looking tight and feeling great! Unfortunately, that's not the case. So, with a busy schedule, how can you life hack this thing and achieve that level of fitness you've wanted to reach? I'll tell you.

 

     I use a 60 minute timer and I don't exceed that time frame when working out. I've even gone as far as buying gym equipment to use at home so I don't have to waste time driving to the gym, going to the locker room and finally getting out to the gym floor then doing it all over again in reverse when I finish.

 

     Don't have gym equipment? That's ok. There are other options. I've recently seen a Netflix-like program that allows you access to hundreds of different workouts for approximately $9/month. Also, I've seen through Amazon Prime, workout videos you can do at home that will help you get in insane shape all in the comfort of your home. However, if you're trying to bulk up, you're going to need the weight equipment. Look on the FB Marketplace on your FB app on your phone and find some SERIOUSLY cheap used weight sets (that's what I did).

 

     I'm currently learning to play the violin. Fortunately, my wife is a professional symphonic violist and has been able to teach me violin basics. Because I really wish to play concertos with her, me on my violin and her on her viola, I've committed to mastering the violin. How do I fit it in? I set my timer! 60 minutes MAX. The first 10 minutes is warm up, next 20 minutes I review older pieces I've mastered. The next 20 minutes I work on a new piece. Lastly, I spend 10 minutes on scales. When the timer goes off, I'm done. You can do this with ANY instrument. I use accompanying YouTube videos from the music book I purchased to help as well.

 

     If you don't have 60 minutes, set aside 30 minutes. 30 minutes is better than no minutes at all. This goes for working out, reading, learning to master an instrument, or learn a new skill or language.

   

     Speaking of learning a new language, I decided to learn Spanish while in getting my undergraduate nursing degree. I felt I didn't want there to be a language barrier with the large portion of spanish-speaking population that end up in the emergency rooms in the U.S. So I decided to commit to 60 minutes per day and I set my timer. I would watch YouTube vids, listen to Latino music, and even watch Univision (Spanish Televsion network). I completely immersed myself for 60 minutes per day and reflected on it throughout the day.

 

     There's no excuse for not learning a second or third language other than disinterest. Free training is all over the internet. Heck, if you just use YouTube you can learn a tremendous amount! This is how I'm planning to learn Mandarin Chinese. It's all on YouTube.

 

     Look, there's absolutely NOTHING wrong with NOT learning a new language, NOT looking super-fit, NOT learning a new language, or even mastering a musical instrument. It's a choice. Just don't let "I don't have the time" be the excuse you tell yourself everyday so you can simply settle with mediocrity. So if it's greatness to which you aspire, if its mediocrity you'd like to escape, turn off the TV, set some goals, set your timer and get to work.

 

*THANKS for taking the time to visit my blog. If you've found this valuable, please share it on social media. If you have questions or just want to connect, find me on Twitter. That's where I can be reached most of the time. Just tell me you found me on my blog. To ALL my subscribers, YOU ARE ALL AWESOME! Thanks so much for sticking with me. I've got some pretty cool stuff planned. You'll find out about it first of course. 

 

-NurseMike

 

 

 

 

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