Do You Have Inbox Overwhelm?

Many physicians (and other professionals!) find their inboxes and charting/documentation to be the bane of their existence …

A huge, never-ending pile of uncompensated work.

But smart strategies can make your inboxes manageable.

So this week I’m sharing tips focused on helping you manage your inboxes.

First, when I say “inboxes” I’m not just talking about your email inbox, but also any messages or requests that come to you during your workday that you need to manage.

Inbox Management: Handling Emails, Messages, And Requests

1. The first step is to create your inbox management system or protocol. If you missed last week’s emails on creating boundaries, we discussed creating protocols in more detail there.

  • You’ll want to create your protocol defining how often, how long and what times you will manage emails, messages, and other admin tasks.
  • I recommend creating a separate protocol for each one, as they typically require different actions.
  • Your patient message protocol may involve delegating any research needed from the medical record or pharmacy or from connecting with the patient themselves, collating all the data for you to make your clinical decision.

2. Schedule the time in your calendar based on the protocols you designed. Decide how much time to allot to each.

  • For example, your email protocol may be to check and respond to emails twice daily for 15 minutes, and you may decide to check labs or pharmacy requests once daily for 30 minutes.

3. Use support staff to help triage requests whenever possible so you complete any time-sensitive tasks first.

4. Limit inbox work to the time allotted to inbox management, even if you don’t “finish”. Because most of us mere mortals don’t get to “inbox zero” on a daily basis.

5. IMPORTANT: Avoid the urge to check emails outside of your scheduled time. This can take you quickly down a rabbit hole and get you off-track for the rest of your day.
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That’s plenty for you to chew on for now. Next time we’ll cover the remaining concepts around successful inbox management systems.

I encourage you to start practicing some of these processes and figuring out what works for you.

Putting in the time upfront to deploy these strategies and hone the related skills will pay you dividends.

This is the secret sauce to getting your work done on time so you can have a life outside of work and really enjoy your personal time.

Decide to invest the time needed to develop these effective processes and skills.

You’re worth it!

Your future self will thank you.

Want help getting your inboxes under control, getting your work done at work, and having the time and energy to enjoy your life outside of work? I can help you with that!

I help busy physician moms get their work done faster so they create more personal and family time, and better work-life balance.
You CAN feel successful at both doctoring and momming!

Here’s to getting over inbox overwhelm,