Among the variety of principles inhere to the sphere of nursing management, time management plays one of the most important roles. To succeed in time management, it is necessary to consider the following aspects and make sure these aspects are properly identified:
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- Definition of time management is crucial to understand what is actually required from leaders;
- Identification of benefits helps to realize the importance of the chosen stage;
- Objectives should be set to have a clear plan to follow;
- Possible obstacles should be defined to prevent a leader from making mistakes and be puzzled with the difficulties;
- Steps should be described to have a good and clear guide at hand;
- Several principles in time managements should help to realize the important of leadership steps.
Time Management: Definition
Diane Huber (2006) defines time management as “the accomplishment of specified activities during the time available” as well as “the process of managing the things an individual does with his or her time block” (p. 83).
There are a number of management functions in the chosen sphere of nursing, and the most important are the possibility to plan an appropriate work schedule, to eliminate the barriers of different types, to be able to analyze all time available and divide it accordingly, and finally, to get an idea on how to use various technologies to achieve success in performing the set leadership roles (Marquis & Huston, 2008).
Benefits of Time Management
There are several important reasons of why any leadership has to consider the idea to time managements. The most crucial benefits are:
- Control – time managements helps to define the priorities of your professional life and become an unconditional leader of a situation (Ellis & Hartley, 2004);
- Confidence – this benefit depends considerably on the way of how a person manages to control your activities; time management allows a person to understand when it is time to finish something, and when it is necessary to start;
- Productivity – if a person succeeds in managing time, this person is able to define the best steps to achieve the best results;
- Goals’ meeting – time managements helps to take all steps in time so that all purposes set may be achieved.
- Entertainment – a person organize personal time, he/she gets enough time to do what he/she actually wants to do considering personal interests.
Time Management: Objectives
To succeed in time management, it is very important to remember about the objectives of this process and make sure to meet all of them:
- Promotion of improved time management means that a person has to define what may improve the situation and what steps are the most effective in a particular case;
- Goals have to be set to understand why a step is taken and what outcomes should be expected;
- Techniques should be chosen by a leader not to waste time and take as much as possible from the situation;
- There are two significant balances to be covered by time management – professional and personal, and time management has to take care of both of them;
- Personal skills are developed considerably during the process of time management.
Time Management: Obstacles
There are many obstacles which may prevent from managing time properly, and any successful leader should take all these obstacles into consideration and try to prevent them, avoid, or, at least, solve properly.
- If a leader fails to set correct objectives, it will be hard to manage time properly;
- It is hard to predict all possible situations and think over the results expected;
- Sometimes, it is very difficult to say NO at once, and leaders suffer a lot because of such inabilities to say NO in time;
- Personal stresses, blocks, or family problems may prevent from making correct decisions;
- Working environment is characterized by constant interruptions, and leaders have to understand how to diminish the rate of interruptions.
Steps to Manage Time
First, a person should define the priorities of the activity chosen; then, it is necessary to comprehend what kind of task is the most important and how it is possible to achieve all goals set; and finally, a good leader should consider all background factors which may influence time management process.
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Principles of Time Management
In their book, Cheery and Jacob (2005) offer three main principles according to which time management may be improved (p. 543):
“Nothing changes if nothing changes” – if a person is not willing to take some steps and change the environment around, nothing will change so that person’s demands are met.
“We train people how to treat us” – this principle helps leaders determine their own styles and explain what kind of behavior is expected from nurses.
“Everything you own owns you” – each step taken by a person requires some time to be spent, this is why a person should properly evaluate the necessity of each thing, idea, and step before it is implemented in life.
In general, the following ideas have been identified as those which are crucially important for time management:
- Goals have to set properly to understand what kind of work is expected;
- Priorities should be well defined in order to comprehend the main purposes of the activities in nursing;
- A good leader should rely on personal skills and knowledge to manage time and help other nurses to do the same;
- Evaluation of a situation is an integral part of time management, and leaders have to consider as many aspects as possible.
Cherry, B. (2005). Contemporary Nursing: Issues, Trends, & Management. St. Louis, Missouri: Elsevier Health Sciences.
Ellis, J.R. & Hartley, C.L. (2004). Nursing in Today’s World: Trends, Issues, & Management. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Huber, D. (2006). Leadership and Nursing Care Management. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier.
Marquis, B.L. & Huston, C. J. (2008). Leadership Roles and Management Functions in Nursing: Theory and Application. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.