Being a pharmacist working in community pharmacy not only enables us to handle patients, we are also expected to manage inventory of stocks, ordering, documentations, fixing printers, staff rosters, teaching new staff about EVERYTHING, …etc. In set-ups where the owner is not working in-store and there is no retail manager, the pharmacist needs to oversee everything. To think that our main priority is to concentrate on giving out the right medication and making sure that it is safe to take with all the other medications the patients have, we are also being trained to be multi-taskers.
Here are some techniques I use to be an effective multi-tasker:
Prioritize– write down on a paper the list of things you need to be done, and number them according to each one’s deadline. Doing this gives you a goal to aim for the day. Marking down each one that is finished gives a sense of achievement too. I suggest that it is best to have a diary of “list of things to do”, be it hardcopy or softcopy.
Most of the time wherein you are in full concentration of what you are doing, interruptions would come in. We can’t totally avoid them so might as well to embrace it, but handle it one at a time. An example of this is when I am in the middle of dispensing 10 medications for a patient with new ones added and with changes to the strengths, there should be enough focus to make sure I am doing it correctly. Suddenly all the other things would happen at the same time too: another customer wants to speak to a pharmacist, the printer would not work, the cut-off time for the ordering is in 10 minutes. This is how I will prioritize: I will acknowledge the person who needs advice but will let them know I will be with them soon, I’ll do the order quickly, fix the printer as I need it for dispensing, finish the scripts, and then go to do counselling.
Time Management-Act on things straight away. Avoid delaying tasks for the day as it would end up not being done at all.
Delegate– I have learnt to appoint other people to do tasks. It is not a team if I would not let other staff learn new things and give them responsibilities as well. It is a way of empowering other people to be able to handle things. When they are able to do things right, acknowledge their effort and praise them for their achievement. There should be constant encouragement and constructive criticisms as well.
In everything that we do, our aim is to be as efficient as possible. Let us use our time and talents to its full potential. Do you know of other ways to be an efficient multi-tasker?