What We Can Learn From An ER Doctor About Working Effectively

Hospitals are busy places.   Your finance or other department is probably busy too.

It can feel like there’s so much to do.

And so little time to get things done.

I was watching a TED Talk where an ER Doctor was taking about how they triage patients.

It got me thinking.

How can the principle of triage change your approach to work effectively?

Know your Reds

In ER they talk about things that are critical.

You may have things in your schedule that are critical.

Do you know what’s really critical?

Not the things that because of lack of planning and focus become critical.

Create your list of your critical activities.

Design for Busy

You know that those peaks will come, especially if you work in area like Finance.

Budgets, year end accounts, forecasts, requests for scenarios or systems that go down.

Look for ways of planning for those peaks.

Look to eliminate the non adding value activities.

Look for ways of automating the routine.

Make sure that there are checklists that you can use or procedures your follow.

Recognise Your Areas of Strength and Strengths of Others

You are great in some areas. You have a working knowledge of others.

There are areas where others have strengths.  They too have areas where they have a working knowledge.

If you can start to recognise your areas of strength and others areas of strength it’s a win-win all round.

Is this always easy?

Of course it’s not. 

But think about it.

You are going to do your best work when you are playing to your strengths.

Rather than trying to be great at everything (which is not realistic) focus on what you do best.

And allow others to help you deal with those areas that are not in your sweet spot.

The Bottom Line:  Things happen.  Demands can sometimes feel like they are never ending.  Triage and designing for busy and playing to your strengths might just be what helps you work more effectively.