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#1 Sunday 18th of September 2016 12:29

oliviamaeh
Member

OT Time Management Skills

Hi everyone,

I am a 4th year OT student who is currently looking into how important time management skills are within the OT profession. I have always been someone that hates to run late and likes to get things done by the due date, however, I always catch myself procrastinating with assignments and leaving them until the last minute (this is something I have been working on improving), hence why I am interested in time management. Recently, I have made a habit of using a diary to record due dates, work schedules, appointments etc., as well as using to-do lists. Are there any strategies that you have implemented into your own life/career that have helped with time management or any links/articles that I may find useful?

Having recently completed a placement in a private practice hand therapy clinic, I am aware of the importance of sticking to strict schedules. At my placement agency, a client was seen every 30-45 minutes depending on their condition/injury and whether they were a new client or not. During each session with a client, time management skills played an important role in ensuring that all information was gathered and all relevant treatment and client education was completed within the allocated time frame. When I am pressured by time I can become quite stressed and particularly as a student who is still learning, I feel that this sometimes impacted on my performance. On placement, I noticed that I was always looking at the clock to ensure that I didn't run overtime when with a client, but are there any other techniques that can be used when with a client (regardless of which area of OT you work in)?

I was wondering how time management skills are used/are necessary in other areas of OT - I am particularly interested in paediatrics, mental health and acute rehab. I am also interested in finding out how OT's have developed their time management skills across their career or how OT students view their current skills in this area.

I'd love to hear thoughts and ideas from OT's and students as well!

Thanks,
Olivia

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#2 Thursday 22nd of September 2016 17:20

esc501
Member

Re: OT Time Management Skills

Hello :-)

I am an O.T student so don't have much to offer in terms of practice yet. However, I used to be a school teacher which was also a very busy job with lots of things to do. I found that having lists was good, but also categorising things into urgent and not, and writing down when things were due was good, so I could prioritise my work. I would also try to calculate how long things would take, and would get some small jobs done here and there when I got the opportunity, to make good use of time. At the end of very day I would make a plan of what to do the next day - this rarely when exactly to plan (!) - but it meant I knew what I needed to take to work and could get straight on with things. I also tried to sort tasks so that I did the harder ones when i was less tired, saving other ones for Friday after school!

I think also not being afraid to ask for help on something, so you don't waste time trying to find things or work things out (like the photocopier!).

Hope this helps :-)

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#3 Friday 23rd of September 2016 10:52

oliviamaeh
Member

Re: OT Time Management Skills

esc501 wrote:

Hello :-)

I am an O.T student so don't have much to offer in terms of practice yet. However, I used to be a school teacher which was also a very busy job with lots of things to do. I found that having lists was good, but also categorising things into urgent and not, and writing down when things were due was good, so I could prioritise my work. I would also try to calculate how long things would take, and would get some small jobs done here and there when I got the opportunity, to make good use of time. At the end of very day I would make a plan of what to do the next day - this rarely when exactly to plan (!) - but it meant I knew what I needed to take to work and could get straight on with things. I also tried to sort tasks so that I did the harder ones when i was less tired, saving other ones for Friday after school!

I think also not being afraid to ask for help on something, so you don't waste time trying to find things or work things out (like the photocopier!).

Hope this helps :-)

Hi!

Thanks so much for replying! It's great hearing how others use their time wisely - especially coming from a former teacher, I can imagine that managing time is a very important part of that job and having strategies in place to help with this would be important. I have been trying to prioritise tasks, however estimating how long each task may take is a great idea! Or maybe dedicating time as to how long you spend working on each task per day might be another approach?

Thanks again for your thoughts! Very helpful :)

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#4 Wednesday 28th of September 2016 18:40

esc501
Member

Re: OT Time Management Skills

You are very welcome, glad it was useful!

Yes that's another idea, to decide how long you have to spend on something and stick to that as best you can, good idea :-) Maybe a mixture of approaches is best, depending on the circumstances!?

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#5 Saturday 26th of November 2016 15:08

AnnaOT
Member

Re: OT Time Management Skills

Hello Olivia and esc501,

As a newly qualified OT (Sept. 2016) in a complex older adult rehab hospital setting, prioritisation is a huge learning area for myself. At university I would procrastinate and put off essays until the last minute, not because I didn't enjoy it or want to tackle it but because I doubted myself and I'm a perfectionist. The pressure from looming deadlines would motivate me to work quickly but I would not recommend this method of using fear tactics to work efficiently to anyone!!

After some reflection and self analysis I identified that external pressure/fear is not a good motivator (Kielhofner's MOHO is a great resource btw). It also helped me identify that positive internal motivators, such as curiousity of the topic, wanting to develop my skills and enjoying guilt free relaxation time once it was complete lead to better quality work in "flow" and a balanced lifestyle. It's good to learn these skills as a student and your post is encouraging because I think it is not emphasised enough in the learning phase. These skills will save you from becoming a workaholic or an inefficient member of the team once you are practicing. They will help you maintain occupational balance in your own life and potentially save you from burn out.

Recently I have been looking into mindfulness at work and have found that it is really helping me to get into "flow" in a busy environment. This page has been an excellent help for me:
http://www.mindful.org/10-ways-mindful-work/

Looking forward to reading more tips from others, those mentioned so far are excellent ideas smile


____________________________________
"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing." - Helen Keller

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#6 Wednesday 1st of August 2018 16:58

ElinWidmark
Member

Re: OT Time Management Skills

Hi!

I'm working in peadiatric habilitation, and for me it's a great help to "set the agenda" when the meeting starts. I inform the family what I've planned to do, check if they have other questions or was expecting something else. If we don't have time for it all, we prioritize together. Then I inform them about where I think we are at the end of the meeting - for example, will the wheelchair be ready to take home, or is one additional meeting needed? I also inform about the time limit, so that they also know how much time we have. This helps in more than one way: no one is nervously checking the clock and wondering if the parking ticket needs to be changed, no one is dissapointed when we did'nt do all the things they wanted, no one is stressed and needs to go halfway into the meeting and everybody is involved in the decision making. Especially the child.

For small children or children/adolescents that has a hard time following verbal instructions or has limited memory, I use picture schedule and time aids to visualize what we're gonna do and for how long.

Hope this helps!

Best regards

Elin Widmark
Occupational Therapist, MSc

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