As a travel nurse, you know the value of time management. But in our mile-a-minute days, it can sometimes be difficult to find the time to accomplish everything we need to.
With that in mind, we created this list of 9 ways to create a little bit more time in your day.
1. Keep your things in order — or make it impossible to lose them
Some of us can keep a desk messy and still know where to find every bill or roll of tape. For the rest of us, we’re wondering if we left our cell phone in the car … or the refrigerator. The amount of time wasted searching for lost stuff can feel deeply frustrating.
Make organization easier by following the old adage of “a place for everything, and everything in its place.” Consider keeping your phone, wallet, and keys in a bucket or cubby by your door. Promptly return items to their homes and invest in storage bins or drawer dividers.
Create a mental map if necessary. If there’s an item you’re searching for frequently, place it where it belongs and focus on it for a full minute. If you still find yourself often misplacing devices, keys, or other essential items, consider buying a locating device, like a key finder, to track them down remotely.
2. Know what’s for dinner . . .
If you’re like most people, you probably spend a great deal of time deciding what to eat. Remove this time drain by planning your meals and grocery lists for the week in one sitting. You’ll save money, produce less waste, and avoid the hassle of multiple store runs. (Bonus: see if your local grocery store offers pick-up services.)
3. . . . and make extra.
Once you’ve got meal planning under your belt, see if you can incorporate a few freezer-friendly recipes into your mix. Start cooking double portions. For each extra meal you freeze this week, that’s one less meal to cook next week. You can save hours of meal preparation this way!
To take it a step further — and keep your dinners exciting — see if you can get a group of nurses together for a regular meal swap. Have each person sign up for a day to provide dinner for everyone, and work out a rotating schedule.
4. Keep snacks on hand
When hunger hits, avoid the trouble of searching for the nearest vending machine or gas station to find a snack. Keep a piece of fruit or a protein bar in your bag to tide you over between meals.
Commuting is a major time drain, especially in cities, where unpredictable traffic can really slow you down. See if any of your co-workers live nearby and would like to share driving time. As a big plus, you’ll save on gas, tolls, and parking costs.
6. Reduce distractions
This is a big one. Turn off automatic notifications on your phone and make it a practice to schedule phone-free time every day. Need to keep your phone close in case of important calls? Increase your ringer volume and stow it out of reach, ideally across the room or in a desk drawer.
7. Minimize decisions
Decision fatigue is a real phenomenon. As a day goes on, the more choices we face, the harder (and more time-consuming) it is to make decisions. Help yourself out by reducing the number of choices you face in a given day. One good example is getting dressed in the morning. Reduce your wardrobe to a few outfits you enjoy wearing on repeat.
8. Maintain boundaries.
Boundaries are emotional, mental, and physical limits we set with others. Setting boundaries is a way to guard our emotional resources — and our time.
For many people in caregiving professions, our first instinct is to help anyone who approaches us with a request. That can lead to a lot of unwanted commitments and lost time. Practice saying “no” politely and without guilt.
9. Aim for good enough.
You work in a career that demands accuracy and precise attention to detail. When you’re off the clock, encourage yourself to relax your expectations. There’s no such thing as perfect. Work hard for the things you care about, and settle for good enough on the rest.
Looking for more tips on how to improve your life as a travel nurse? Check out these 23 summer self-care tips for travel nurses to help you relax before summer ends!