Top 3 Time Efficiency Hacks for your Clinical & Personal Life

pareto principle parkinson's law provider care provider impact provider support time management Nov 20, 2023

Pregnancy for Professionals was created for providers, by providers. With the rates of physician and allied health team burn-out higher than ever, to be able to provide good care we must first ensure to take care of our own mental and physical health. With that mission in mind, Drs. Power & Lea created Revive Physicians, a community for raising up and empowering female physicians to lead a more balanced life, aligned with their values. On today's episode they share three key tips for improved time management, applicable for both clinical and personal development.


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[00:00:50] Dr. Alicia Power: On today's podcast we have three time management tips for you. We love efficiency hacks. Efficiency hacks that can transform both your clinical and personal life. So grab a pen and paper [00:01:00] because you won't want to miss this. Or, feel free to download our free download at www.

[00:01:09] So our first efficiency hack is the two minute rule. It's a simple, but incredibly effective technique. The rule is straightforward. If a task can be completed in two minutes or less, do it immediately. This might seem like a very small change, but the cumulative effect is tremendous. The two minute rule is based on the premise that many, small, quick tasks can accumulate and become overwhelming if left unattended.

[00:01:34] It encourages individuals to tackle these minor tasks as soon as they preventing them from piling up and creating a mental burden. The rule is rooted in the psychology of productivity and is a key component of time management techniques. When combined with time blocking, this can be even more powerful. If you want more information on how these two techniques can really augment each other, then get our free download on Time Management Guide. We'll put it in the show notes.

[00:01:59] Dr. Sarah Lea: [00:02:00] So Alicia and I both really love learning by examples, so let's explore a couple of ways the two minute rule can play out at work or at home.

[00:02:08] So oftentimes we have a few minutes between seeing patients or clients or waiting for someone to show up. This is a great opportunity to get working on your quick to do list or your inbox. If you open something up and it can be dealt with in two minutes or less, do it then and be done with it. If you've opened it up and you've already spent mental energy thinking about it, if you can quickly complete the task, it'll be off your plate and out of your mind. If you don't deal with it, it will often take you up to one to two minutes the next time you open it, just to reorient yourself to the task. And this is wasted time if you could have already dealt with it when you initially opened it.

[00:02:44] Now, for some of us, we might take this to the extremes. We might quickly dash off an email that we really should think on for a bit. So if this sounds like you, no problem. Just save that email to drafts and come back to it a bit later when you've blocked some time off for it. Get your initial [00:03:00] ideas and thoughts out and then complete it during your time block.

[00:03:04] Dr. Alicia Power: In your personal life, if you need to pay a bill, do it right away. If you're at home, you can quickly clean up a small mess or respond to a text from a friend. Over time, this approach clears up your mental bandwidth and minimizes procrastination. If you're cooking dinner and there is some laundry to fold, do a few pieces and put them away in those two minutes.

[00:03:22] You can also feel free to stare off in space or have a little dance party if that's what your brain needs. No pressure. You do not have to be going all of the time. But if you want to get a few things done, then take those small tasks and get them done. We don't always need to be doing something. But sometimes...

[00:03:38] It's important to get what we know needs to be done and you're already in the middle of cooking dinner so put the dishwasher away. I'm trying to teach my husband to do that.

[00:03:47] Dr. Sarah Lea: How's that going?

[00:03:48] Dr. Alicia Power: He just sits there and watch the dinner cook.

[00:03:49] Dr. Sarah Lea: Oh my gosh, me too.

[00:03:51] Dr. Alicia Power: Just put the dishes away while you're at it.

[00:03:52] Dr. Sarah Lea: I know.

[00:03:53] Dr. Alicia Power: Anyways, that's maybe that's just me.

[00:03:55] Dr. Sarah Lea: Yes. Anyways. Me too.

[00:03:57] Dr. Alicia Power: But sometimes you can apply that two minute rule to rest [00:04:00] and renewal. So take a couple of good belly breaths, for example, to calm your parasympathetic nervous system down. And and if you're a bit riled up from something like your husband not putting away the dishes when he's cooking dinner.

[00:04:12] Dr. Sarah Lea: So something we're going to talk about is called the Pareto Principle. So this is actually named after Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian economist who observed that roughly 80 percent of Italy's land was owned by 20 percent of the population. You've probably heard of this, in different areas of life because this principle has been adapted and applied to various fields, including healthcare.

[00:04:36] In essence, the Pareto Principle highlights the unequal distribution of outcomes where a minority of factors or efforts contribute to the majority of the results. In other words, this principle states that roughly 80 percent of effects come from only 20 percent of causes. So when we're thinking about this in the context of time efficiency, this means identifying the most critical tasks that yield the most significant [00:05:00] results.

[00:05:01] So think about in medicine and health care, there are some treatments that produce much more effective results than others. So starting with these 20 percent of treatments before moving on to the next options will manage 80 percent of your patients or clients concerns or issues, leaving only 20 percent who would need to go on to the next step.

[00:05:18] This is not to say don't let your patients know what the next possible steps are, but try the most effective one first. Now let's think of this from an administrative perspective. Another way you might apply this is with administrative tasks that consume valuable time. The Pareto Principle can be used to identify the most critical administrative functions and delegate or streamline the less impactful ones, reducing the burden on you, the healthcare professional.

[00:05:44] Dr. Alicia Power: In your personal life, you can use the Pareto Principle to declutter your space. Identify 20 percent of your possessions that you use 80 percent of the time. By minimizing the rest, you can reduce the time and effort spent on maintenance and create a more organized and efficient living environment. An easy place to apply this is in your [00:06:00] closet. Most of us have too many clothes.

[00:06:02] Dr. Sarah Lea: Guilty!

[00:06:03] Dr. Alicia Power: Those that no longer fit us or out of style, but we keep just in case we lose those 10 pounds or in case neon comes back in style.

[00:06:10] Dr. Sarah Lea: Oh my god, it might.

[00:06:11] Dr. Alicia Power: You never, it will in 20 years, but it won't be in the same fashion. So go through your closet and keep only those things that fit you well, make you feel good about yourself, and you can wear with a few other things in your closet. Not only will this make you feel lighter every time you look in the closet. Your time to get dressed in the morning will also be cut down significantly as you have less choices and regardless of what you wear, you will feel good.

[00:06:34] Dr. Sarah Lea: Okay, so we've talked about... The two minute rule. We've talked about the Pareto sort of 80/20 principle. And so our third and final time efficiency hack is called Parkinson's Law. This law states that work expands to fill the time available for its completion. So in other words, if you allocate more time than is actually necessary to a task, it will still take you longer.

[00:06:59] So think [00:07:00] about your clinical practice. If you set strict time limits for tasks, you'll be more efficient. For example, schedule shorter patient consultations. This will not only make you feel more focused during these appointments, but also free up time for other important responsibilities. If you're doing this, it's important to set the time expectation prior to the visit or at the beginning of the visit with your patient or client so they know how much time they have with you.

[00:07:24] Healthcare professionals are often burdened with various administrative tasks such as paperwork, documentation, and the ever overflowing inbox of emails. So think about Parkinson's Law to streamline these tasks as well by setting strict time limits for completion. For instance, if you as a physician allocate only five minutes to complete documentation for a patient encounter, it can encourage efficiency and discourage procrastination. If you sit down and have no time limit in mind, you may take a lot longer to complete the same documentation.

[00:07:57] Dr. Alicia Power: In your personal life, you can apply Parkinson's Law [00:08:00] to daily chores. If you allocate 30 minutes to clean the kitchen, it'll likely take you 30 minutes. But if you only give yourself 15 minutes, you will be amazed at how much you can actually get done and complete the task, without sacrificing that much quality. Now, let's just keep in mind that good and done is better than perfect and not done. So that also has to be taken into account.

[00:08:20] Dr. Sarah Lea: We're going for B minus grades here.

[00:08:22] Dr. Alicia Power: C plus, B minus. Things do not have to be perfect. We all know that the work at the office and at home are endless and will always be there. So by creating some efficiency and a defined time when you are done, it allows you to actually then take some time for yourself, or your family, rather than the endless amount of administrative tasks or chores around the house.

So there you have it! Three essential time efficiency hacks that can transform both your clinical and personal life. Remember the Two Minute Rule for immediate action, leverage the Pareto Principal to prioritize, and apply Parkinson's Law to set time limits. By incorporating these hacks, [00:09:00] you'll find yourself with more time, less stress, and increased productivity.

[00:09:04] Thanks for tuning in to learn about three of our time management hacks. And don't forget, if you want to learn more great hacks, download our free guide to hacking your time at www. Be sure to subscribe to our email list for more valuable insights. And if you're interested in learning more about this and overall wellness and sustainability, make sure to check out our upcoming course, The Well Calibrated Clinician at We hope to see you in the course.


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