Time, Time, Time Is [Can Be] on Your Side!

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Apr 04, 2019
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Does there ever seem to be enough time in the day? Time management is critical to our enjoying life, in general, and in being an effective practitioner. Think about it—do you know of a really good pharmacist who is poor at managing time? Probably not, or at least not many of them. An competent time manager is one who has the organizational skills necessary to complete all tasks EFFECTIVELY. Those poor in time management will likely not only raise their own stress levels, but those of their peers, supervisors, and support staff. With medication orders/prescriptions coming in rapidly, physician offices/nurses on the phone, supply orders coming in, problems with insurance coverage/red tape, it would appear nearly impossible for someone with poor time management skills to be an effective practitioner. Additionally, some of us are tempted to take on too many things at once. This can be the case for pharmacy students, as well.

Malkoc and Tonietto distinguish between activities maximization and outcomes maximization, wherein people attempt to maximize their outcomes for both work and leisure activities.1 For work activities they recommend prioritizing, completing one task at a time, and to space deadlines evenly. For leisure activities they recommend scheduling more loosely, avoiding hard stops, and focusing on the now.

Pharmacists (and pharmacy students) can sometimes be prone to biting off more than they can chew and also are under the false impression that they can do a number of things at once without comprising patient safety. Even some of those who are actually handling things one-at-a-time might try and look busier than they really are in order to impress or seek sympathy from someone else. An effective pharmacist knows how to prioritize, particularly when dealing with issues like potential drug interactions, inappropriate drug therapy, patient drug misadventures, and sometimes less-than-professional peers and colleagues. If handled well, they can even more so enjoy their time away from work.

Additional information about Time Management/Organizational Skills can be found in Pharmacy Management: Essentials for All Practice Settings, 4e. If you or your institution subscribes to AccessPharmacy, use or create your MyAccess Profile to sign-in to Pharmacy Management: Essentials for All Practice Settings, 4e. If your institution does not provide access, ask your medical librarian about subscribing.

1Malkoc SA, Tonietto GN. Activity versus outcome maximization in time management. Curr Opin Psychol. 2018;26:49-53.

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Shane Desselle

Professor of Social and Behavioral Pharmacy, Touro University California

2 Comments

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Shane Desselle 4 months ago

Have you seen a pharmacist poor at time mgmt thst toubwouls call a “good” pharmacy? Let us know!

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Shane Desselle 4 months ago

What are some lessons you’ve learned in time mgmt, and what are some areas in which you could still improve?