Updated: Oct 10, 2018
STREAMLINE YOUR WORKLOAD USING THE 5 D’S: DO, DELETE, DELAY, DIMINISH, DISTRIBUTE
Do: Work that is of high priority and needs to be done immediately or you potentially risk negative effects.
Delay: Delay does not mean procrastinate. Procrastination is about indefinite postponement; delaying is about consciously rescheduling something for a time when you can get it done more efficiently. Some tasks are better saved for a time when you have the right resources, information and focus to get the job done right.
Distribute: Work that can be done as a shared service e.g. a group assignment, as some work is best done by someone other than you.
Diminish: Work that does not need to be at the “gold” standard. Work that you can afford to reduce the effort required e.g: reducing the frequency, shortening, or consolidating the time you spend on that particular task, without losing the essential elements that are adding value
Delete: Work that does not add value and is not constructive therefore you can delete them with no negative effect.
“Deciding what not to do is just as important as deciding what to do”.
WRITE DOWN ALL OF THE DEADLINES/ KEY DATES IN YOUR CURRENT SEMESTER
I believe that this is the best way for you to prioritise, consciously keep in mind what is to come and encourages you to get started early. By doing this it also means that you will no excuse for not being prepared. For example: I have a Clinical Skills Examination coming up at the end of March. Since January, I’ve had the date written down and put it in a place where I can see it and continually be reminded of it; so every week since January I go over 1 clinical examination in detail and gradually increase the intensity as I draw closer to the exam.
KNOW WHAT IS EXPECTED
One of the most difficult aspects of Medicine that I struggled to come to terms with was the fact that there was so much content to learn but I soon came to realise that there is no such thing as a perfect student and there will be stuff that I do not know. However, It is important to be able to identify what your Medical School or organisation expects you to know and prioritise this. The worst thing is working aimlessly and spending a large amount of time learning about things you aren’t required to know. Recognise what is required and establish whether or not you are meeting those requirements and if you are not meeting them, then how are you not meeting them. This helps you establish a plan of action and makes sure you cover all bases.
I can boldly say that organisation changed my life! This year I made being organised a priority and realised how much I struggle without structure. I bought myself a diary which if I’m honest I don’t really use but what I use the most to stay organised is the Calendar on my phone which is synced to my Medical School Timetable and my To Do List Notebook. I also organise my notes using colour coded binders and have very specific folders on my laptop to keep my lecture notes, this makes it easier to access during exam/ stressful periods. It’s so important to find a system that works for you. If you haven’t already, check out our blog post on Note-Taking in Medical School.
MAKE GOOD USE OF YOUR WEEKEND
I recognise the fact that I do need to rest so I normally try not to schedule work for the weekends but I use the weekends to tie up loose ends on topics I h