How Physicians, Managers Should Handle 'Too Much to Do'

March 27, 2015

Here are some questions that can help physicians and medical practice managers determine if they can safely take on more responsibilities.

The paradox of today's medical practice environment is that the more you can do, the more that's expected of you. Expectations about what you can accomplish arise immediately with the introduction of tools that facilitate accomplishments.

This explains why you frequently feel like a modern Lucille Ball: You're working on an assembly line that you can't keep pace with, but yours is digital, byte-sized, ethereal, and cyber-driven.

What should you do if you find yourself with too many responsibilities but you are being asked to take more on? Here are some questions that can help you determine if you can safely take on more responsibilities:

• Is the task aligned with your priorities and goals?
• Are you likely to be as prone to saying yes to such a request tomorrow or next week?
• What else could you do that would be more rewarding?
• What other pressing tasks and responsibilities are you likely to face?
• Does the other party have other options besides you? Will he/she be crushed?
• Do you like him/her?

What about when you are asked to take on more in the midst of already grappling with a full plate? 

The fastest way to convey your current level of tasks is to show the other party your assignment roster or calendar. When others have a visual depiction of your workload for say, the coming week, they will be less inclined to randomly pile on more.

When faced with “too much to do” recognize that unless you make the right decisions regarding what to do, you might meander and end up working less productively than otherwise.