Time-Saving Life Hacks for Busy Nurse Practitioners
Yesterday morning I was frantically getting ready to leave for church. The decision to spend time curling my hair for the occasion was clearly a bad one. My husband read my 'I'm running behind' face and offered to make me a to-go cup of coffee for the drive. I took him up on the offer, of course, however my control freak self couldn't help but hawk over him as he splashed a dash of cream into my steaming hot cup. "I usually add the milk while the coffee is brewing", I offered.
As a look of confusion crossed his face so I clarified my reason for the technique - walking to the fridge for milk while the K-cup machine works its magic rather than standing idle watching as the coffee cup fills saves at least 10 seconds of my morning. My husband jokingly declared me neurotic, so I defended my position calculating that I will save 5 hours of my precious time this year with my coffee creamer time-saving technique.
While I don't recommend being quite as vigilant of efficiency as I (it will drive you crazy), my life of pulling all-nighters as a nurse practitioner in the emergency department and contributing to the MidlevelU blog has forced me to prioritize. I've developed a few totally sane time-saving hacks over my career years that help me balance work, life, friends and family. Here are a few I recommend:
1. Hire a 'Family Manager'
Working mothers, fathers, wives, husbands and just plain busy people are familiar with the concept of hiring babysitters, handyman services and cleaning services to keep up with things around the house. As a nurse practitioner you may very well be able to afford these 'extras'. But, what about those random errands that incessantly add up?
Consider posting a job descriptions on Care.com for a 'family manager'. For $15/hour, you may very well save your errand ridden Saturday afternoon by finding someone else to run to the grocery store, post office and take your car to get serviced while you work. The time savings is incredible.
2. Divide and Conquer
Statistics show that women end up footing most of the load when it comes to household chores and childcare. If you're a gal working full-time as a nurse practitioner meanwhile pulling most of the weight at home, divvy up household responsibilities. This is best done with a plan in place rather than a casual, once-off ask. Make a weekly chore calendar getting your family involved. Or, have each member be in charge of a certain duty. My husband is all hands on deck when it comes to dishes, bed making and trash take out while I cover laundry and cooking.
Running errands can eat up a significant amount of your free time if you let it. So, get out and about before the rest of the world. Making my weekly trip to the grocery store at 5:30am where I can navigate the aisles free of competition and drive home without facing traffic saves a significant amount of time. Many businesses open early, particularly those you find yourself visiting on a weekly basis. Plan ahead and get as much done as possible during off-hours to maximize your time.
4. Order Everything Online
I'm a serial online orderer which attributes to most of my daily efficiency. Need a new black pair of pumps? Order 3 or 4 pairs online, and returning all but your favorite. Most popular shopping sites offer free delivery and free returns making it easy to have clothing and household items sent right to your front door. There's no bigger time suck than facing crowds at the mall looking for that perfect new coat only to find they're sold out of your size. If you don't have an Amazon Prime membership, now's the time to start. Make online ordering your first stop for shopping needs.
5. Try a Make-Your-Own Meal Delivery Service
Like making home cooked meals but lack the time to peruse Pinterest for the latest recipes let alone make last minute grocery store runs? Meal delivery services are quite affordable and deliver ingredients and corresponding recipes needed to cook a fresh dinner directly to your doorstep. You can check out upcoming menus online to see what's coming your way opting to skip a week if you're out of town or aren't a fan of the coming week's dinner picks. I have used Blue Apron and was a fan of their services.
How do you save time amidst a busy nurse practitioner schedule?
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