Of course you are. The ever-growing pile of admin is part of the vet life. Everyone gets overwhelmed – but if you’re overwhelmed all the time, you’ll eventually burn out and become disillusioned or sick.
To survive as a vet, you have to find ways to manage your time more efficiently. Here are three.
1. Eat a frog.
Don’t worry – not literally. You may have heard the Mark Twain quote, “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” But there’s a bit more to this productivity hack than just doing the nastiest tasks.
When you first wake up, work out what your two or three most important tasks are for the day. Focus on doing them first. Your actions reveal your priorities, so don’t let chaos at work take over your day and leave you no time or energy to fit them in.
2. Learn to say no
Vets care. It’s what you do and why you do it. That can make it very difficult to say no – but by learning to say no, you can focus on your most important commitments and avoid taking on more than you have time for.
Before you start your day, think objectively and realistically about how long you’ll need for each task. Think worst-case scenario, not what you can hopefully manage if everything goes well. Keep that in mind when deciding what to say yes or no to.
3. Let go of perfectionism
Holding yourself to high standards is great – up to a point. But letting go of the pressure to be perfect can actually help you perform better. Are there tasks you’re putting off completing because you don’t have time to do them “properly”? Imagine how much freedom you could gain by letting your standard be “good enough”.
For example, If you don’t have time to email a pre-purchase report of copies of lab reports to a client, drop them a phone call, or delegate the task if you can.
In short: get clear on your priorities, get good at saying no, and get comfortable with doing a “good enough” job.