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Michigan Medicine

A Minute with Marschall

Managing Our Time and Work to Reduce Stress

December 3rd, 2020

Working in a complex academic medical center such as ours can, unfortunately, breed stress, burnout and work-life imbalance. Now more than ever, we must be constantly diligent to preserve some time for ourselves and our families, keeping our own wellness, both physically and mentally, in mind. Also, while working alongside each other, a kind word of support or an extra helping hand when needed can also be very welcoming when a colleague feels overwhelmed.

Often it is the little things that can relieve some of the daily stressors. Many of you told us, via surveys and conversations, that too many emails and meetings were adding to the noise, rather than serving as a productive way to get things done. To respond to this feedback, I worked with the Stress + Burnout Task Team to develop a set of tools to better manage the constant flow of emails and meetings. 

While we will continue to address other causes of stress and burnout, we believe these tools can support you and your co-workers find some immediate relief to these daily stressors.

While I understand this is only one piece of the puzzle, I myself can attest it can yield some positive results. I often struggle with a far too heavy schedule of meetings, cluttered email box and too little time. However, when I put some of these practices into place, it did help me accomplish more in my working hours and to feel less stressed.  This was based on two good time management rules that made sense to me and fit well within my day to day schedule.

These tools are full of helpful tips. For example, I like to block off two (at least) hours of desk time per week and only read my emails at specific times per day. Keeping to this schedule reduces distractions and keeps me focused on more critical tasks.

Another good tip from the tool kit is to start every meeting with a planned agenda which should be shared with all attendees in advance. There are some great agenda templates provided in the toolkit that can get you started. 

In addition to managing your time more effectively to relieve stress, don’t forget to reach out, if needed, to our other wellness resources:

We all know we have a long winter ahead of us, but together, and with the support of all the resources our organization provides us, we can get through this.

Do you have a time management suggestion that can help us reclaim some of our precious “me” time? Share it below. 


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