Post by Tricia Capone, OMS II

Ever felt so buried in work that you forget why you’re doing it in the first place? Andy and Drew got a chance to sit down with Dr. Ali Raja, MD at ACEP 2019 to discuss some tips for how we can be most efficient with our time so we can get deep work done but avoid getting in too deep.

Here are some of their tips on the topic: 

Double Dip: The art of overlapping in order to accomplish two tasks at one time. Dr. Raja used a great example of working out with his significant other. This allows him and his wife to both get their workout in, while also allowing them to spend time together.

Prioritize: We’ve all heard the word before, but Dr. Raja puts a very interesting spin on it. He recommends that we say yes to opportunities that come our way until we get far enough along in our careers that we can afford to start saying no to opportunities that are less interesting to us, in an effort to be more selective about how we spend our time. When deciding whether or not to commit to something, ask yourself if it is something you would want to do tomorrow. If the answer is yes, go ahead and commit. If the answer is no or not really, feel empowered to pass on the commitment and if applicable, maybe try to find someone who might be more interested in the opportunity.

Attainable Goals: While some people prefer hyper-scheduling each day, Dr. Raja suggests making a short list of three or four things that you would like to accomplish each day outside of your regularly scheduled meetings. This will help to eliminate overestimating the amount of work you are able to accomplish in a day. 

Off-load: When it comes to whether or not a task should make it on the to do list in the first place, ask yourself if it can be done in 2 minutes or less. If the answer is yes, just do it now. It will take longer to schedule it than to just do it. Additionally, if you can find someone else to help you with the task, don’t be afraid to offload it. Dr. Raja used the example of paying someone to mow his lawn so that he could spend that time with his family. 

Share: You spent so much time researching and working on something you are passionate about. Why not share it in as many platforms as possible? By sharing the product of your hard work in multiple places, you get the most mileage out of the time you spent on that particular thing.

Be Forgiving: As we all know, life happens. Kids get sick. Work gets busy. Cars break down. Every day is not going to be perfect and we are not always going to accomplish those three or four things that we planned to do that day. By far one of the most important elements of deep work is being forgiving of yourself and finding a way to fit the task that didn’t get done today into the schedule for later in the week.

About our Guest: Dr. Ali S. Raja, MD, MBA, MPH, is Executive Vice Chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. He is also a member of the faculty of the Center for Evidence-Based Imaging at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and an Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Raja’s work focuses on the appropriate use of resources in emergency medicine. Dr. Raja is Editor-in-Chief of NEJM Journal Watch Emergency Medicine and co-host of the Emergency Medicine News Live podcast.

You can follow Dr. Raja on twitter @AliRaja_MD

Now, check out this awesome episode for more details on these great strategies.

Music Credit:  Intro – Hey by Ben Sounds / Exit – Manic Monday by slurricanerob

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Deep Work with Ali Raja – Episode 84
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