How can nurses find more time?


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It wouldn’t surprise me if the time bandit often has you frustrated at how quickly the hours, days, months and even years seem to disappear, and how difficult it seems to get anything done in the time you want it done. You’re under so much pressure that it often feels like it’s impossible to get everything accomplished. This thought can then make you feel not only less productive, but also less effective and less happy.

I have some good news and some bad news for you. The bad news: You will never finish everything you have to do, and the only time you will ever be “done” with everything is when you’re six feet under. But the good news is that you can redefine time, allowing you to potentially change everything!

Whether you’re in the ER, palliative care or the recovery room…whether you’re trying to get out the door for soccer practice or attempting to squeeze in a workout…whether it’s getting out of the house early in the morning or winding the house down and crawling into bed, each moment holds the capacity to deliver a feeling of either stress or peace.

Choose peace. Here’s how:

  • Consider time your friend, not your nemesis. Shift the way you look at time and it will be much easier to “find” time.
  • Watch your words. Eliminate “I’m late,” “I’ll never finish,” “I’m always rushing” and “I don’t have time” from your speech. All of those phrases feed your subconscious mind with the information No time!
  • Program new thoughts. There is exactly enough time to do what I have to do. Believe it and go!
  • Set a deadline. I will work on this project until 11:30. I will go to bed at 10:30 three nights per week. I will do my charting until 15 minutes past the hour. Remarkably, our work expands to fit the amount of time we give it. Set a limit and stick to it. This also will help with procrastination!
  • Relax. When it seems time is getting the best of you, “take 2”: 2 minutes to breathe consciously, 2 minutes to close your eyes, 2 minutes to stretch or move your body, 2 minutes to reframe the present situation and change the way you’re thinking about time. You ultimately will change the way you feel about time.

In the end, we all have the same 1,440 minutes in our day. Those minutes will never be enough time to do everything we think we should do, but they are exactly the right number of minutes to do what we choose to do. Those minutes are just enough time to do the most valued and pressing things on our agendas.

Each of us is one person with one minute at a time to “spend”—we won’t get that time back and we can’t negotiate for any more. So let’s work on updating our relationship with time: It is on our side, it is our friend, it is a gift and it is like a grain of sand passing through the hourglass. Do one thing at a time and know that everything else will be there for another day.

Stephanie Staples is a motivational speaker, life coach and the author of When Enlightening Strikes—Creating a Mindset for Uncommon Success. She helps audiences and clients across North America find more time, energy and motivation in their life and livelihood. Staples has a special interest in working with nurses and healthcare providers. You can get complimentary resources and find out more about her services at

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