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Never be late for your shift again: 5 time management tricks that work

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Learning how to get to work on time isn’t like searching for a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. It really is possible to arrange your life so you aren’t always rushing to be on time—something that’s particularly important in nursing because of the team aspect of the job.

So, whether your shift begins early in the morning, mid-afternoon or late at night, here are five tips that may help you gather yourself—and your things—before report starts.

1. Give yourself the gift of time.
No matter which shift you work, you have to get yourself out of bed and on your way with time to spare.

Be realistic and calculate how long it takes to get up, showered, dressed, fed and out the door, with enough time for a safe commute. If you have children, their needs have to be factored in, too. Now, take that time and add a good 15 minutes or so. Set your alarm to give yourself this calculated time. The extra 15 minutes will give you a head start and provide a cushion for something that could go wrong, such as a lost homework assignment, the dog upsetting his water bowl or burnt toast.

By the way, the snooze button is not your friend. Break up with it if you’ve become too attached. The snooze button is a great time sucker.

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Marijke Durning

Marijke is a professional writer who began her working career as a registered nurse over 25 years ago. After working in clinical areas ranging from rehab to intensive care, as a floor nurse to a supervisor, she found she could combine her extensive health knowledge with her love of writing. Although she has been published in a wide variety of publications for professionals and the general public, her passion is writing for the every day person to promote health literacy.

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9 Responses to Never be late for your shift again: 5 time management tricks that work

  1. Charissa Arroyo

    I have actually improved myself from being late so often at work for 10 years and i am fed up of getting reprimanded always because of it. So what i did is i change my routine. Two hours preparation if i am doing mornin shift because i am a slow-typed person. If morning shift starts at 0700 hours i should be in the ward at 0630 hours. i have maintained it for the past 2 months and to date. So i am rewarding myself for doing so. It’s a matter of desciplining yourself so you can get you work done well and on time.

  2. Steph

    WOW, I could have actually written these tips!! That’s me to a “T”!! And guess what?!? I’m always on time, now if it were up to my husband…well that’s a different story!!

  3. Charlissa – good for you in changing your routines. Sometimes it helps to change slowly but other people benefit from doing the whole big change at once. I’m glad you found something that works for you.

    Steph – that’s so typical, isn’t it? One half of a couple is super-organized and on time, and the other, well, not so much.

  4. Charissa

    Hi Marijke, thanks to you. I just felt dissapointed to find out today that my nurse manager meddled with my time in at work. She tampered my time in from the logbook 2 days ago upon coming to work. I came in exactly 1300 hrs and i could attest on that as i have a witness and she changed it to 1304 hrs which she has no basis. I was doing an afternoon shift and it starts from 1300 hrs to 2130 hrs. Normally the nurse manager would draw a redline on the logbook as for closing.That time when i came in at work it was not closed yet. This time i was not able to get the 30 minutes earlier time in but it’s undeniably i did not come late. I can say that that person is totally undermining me. What do you say about this?

  5. That’s a tough one Charissa. I really don’t know what to say. It could be a case of your boss expecting you to be late because you have been in the past – but that’s just plain wrong.

    If it happens again, what I think I would do is make sure my boss sees me at the appointed time – it could be in a playful manner, but really making sure she sees me. Or, if it happens again, I would likely try to talk to her, to see what she is doing and why.

    good luck – it’s never fun to be caught in a situation like this.

  6. Undermining is not the word for those actions! It is not only wrong for her to have changed you time – it is illegal! Write it (if you write it) in PEN, so anyone can tell that it has been changed. Then, if it gets changed again, go to the person who changed it and get them to INITIAL the change.

    If that doesn’t fix the problem – report it to your STATE labor board.

    PS: You may be able to see a work/hours attorney.

    My question is this…Why would she change it to 1304 – that technically does not make you late in most circumstances.

    I might take the book back to her, tell her it was changed ‘in error’, and give her the chance to ‘fix it’.

    Being proactive is the best way to handle this problem and to protect yourself from whatever is in the works.

    Good luck,

  7. Susan

    At my hospital, 4 minutes IS late. Watch your superior!

  8. J. A. Dozier

    I set all my clocks 10 min ahead of REAL WORLD TIME. Works all the time learned that from the ARMY

  9. I put my watch 5 minutes forward…