Time Management Skills For Your Nursing Assistants

Do your CNAs know what their time at work is worth? Here’s an example: Mary makes $12.00 an hour as a nursing assistant. She works eight hours every day. So what is Mary’s time at work worth? Every day is worth 96 dollars. Every hour is worth 12 dollars. Every minute is worth 20 cents. When you do the math for your CNAs, how much money do you think is wasted at your workplace? Here is some information about time management that you can share with your nursing assistants.

What’s Your Time Worth?

Studies have shown that the average American actually works only 6 hours of each 8 hour day. The rest of the time is wasted! Why? Those same studies say that people waste time because:

  • They are too tired to get through their work.
  • They get involved with personal matters at work.
  • They aren’t organized.
  • Or, they spend too much time socializing.

Mary makes $12.00 an hour as a CNA. If Mary actually worked only 6 out of 8 hours every day, that would mean that in a year, she would waste $6,240.00. Let’s say that Mary has 25 coworkers who also make $12.00/hour. If those coworkers also waste two hours every day, Mary’s workplace will lose nearly $156,000.00 every year in wasted time!

Some people might say, “So what? My workplace makes lots of money. They won’t miss $156,000.” But that would be wrong. The more money a workplace loses, the less it has for employee raises or for improving working conditions! So, people who waste time at work are hurting themselves in the long run.

Time: Spend It Wisely

Have you ever heard the expression, “You have to spend money to make money”? Well, the same is true with time. You have to spend time to make time. In other words, if you spend a little bit of time every day to get yourself organized by making a “to-do” list with priorities and goals, you will actually save yourself time throughout the day. And, if you spend time focusing on each task as you do it, you will avoid mistakes… and the time it takes to fix those mistakes! By planning ahead, you give yourself the BIG PICTURE of what your day looks like. You can make decisions about what actually needs to get done and what can wait.

We live such complicated, hectic lives. Our “to-do” lists seem to get longer every day. And, with all these commitments and obligations comes an increased level of STRESS! Understanding the principles of time management will help you simplify your busy life. You can get a handle on all the tasks you want to do and all the tasks you have to do throughout the day. You’ll be left feeling calmer and less stressed at the end of the day! By planning a bit, eliminating time wasters, and giving your full attention to the task at hand, you with find more time in your day to do the things that are important to you!

The Problem with Procrastination

Procrastination is when people put things off-especially things they don’t like to do. Many people procrastinate until the very last minute and then end up with a huge job on their hands. For example, have you ever put off doing required paperwork and ended up having a huge pile to finish? Or, have you ever waited to wash dishes until there were no more clean dishes at all? There is a saying: Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today. This is good advice, since procrastination is a real time waster-and a bad habit. Here are some ways that people procrastinate:

1. Too Much Planning, Not Enough Action!

Example: Susan spends so much time cutting out recipes and planning what she wants to cook that she never has time to cook. She ends up going out to eat instead-even though she can’t really afford it.

Solution: Susan could set a time limit for her menu planning. She could schedule an hour every weekend to look through recipes and plan meals for the week. Then, she should buy the ingredients so that she has no excuse not to cook.

2. Avoiding Boring Tasks.

Example: Tom finds it really boring to fold his client’s laundry. He tends to put off the job, leaving the laundry in a heap until it gets wrinkled. Family members have started to complain, so now his supervisor is unhappy with him-all because of some laundry!

Solution: Tom could alternate boring tasks with ones that are more interesting. The interesting tasks can be like a “reward” for completing the boring ones.

3. Putting Off the Unpleasant.

Example: Lydia finds it hard to get along with one of her clients, an elderly woman named Mrs. Jones. She puts off taking care of Mrs. Jones until late in the day. But by then, both Lydia and her client are tired. This means that it takes longer than it should to finish Mrs. Jones’ personal care and the client is even grumpier than usual.

Solution: Lydia could ask Mrs. Jones what time of day she would like her personal care-and then do it at that time. This might make Mrs. Jones easier to get along with. Or, Lydia can plan to do Mrs. Jones’ care first thing in the morning. This way, Lydia’s least favorite task is finished early and she doesn’t have to worry about it all day.

4. Unrealistic Deadlines.

Example: Bill tends to work slowly every morning, taking several breaks and taking time out to talk to coworkers. After lunch, when Bill feels that time is running out, he speeds up, rushing through his work to get it all done by the end of the day.

Solution: Bill can set up “mini” deadlines for himself. He can divide his work into fourths and tell himself that he needs to finish one fourth by 10:00, another fourth by 12:00 and so on. Until this new way of working becomes a habit, Bill could ask his supervisor or a coworker to check if he’s meeting his mini deadlines.

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