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Organization Skills


It is amazing how many of the things we do will never be missed... A device that allows someone in another state to pile work on your desk. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Organization Skills

Organization Skills
  • James Adams, MD
  • Professor and Chief
  • Division of Emergency Medicine
  • Northwestern University Medical School

  • Learn techniques for keeping track of activities
  • Learn ways to accomplish goals
  • Learn ways to manage life.

Core lesson of efficiency
  • It is amazing how many of the things we do will
    never be missed…
  • Nothing is less productive than to make more
    efficient what should not be done at all.
  • Peter Drucker

You have to have a goal.
  • Even if you win the rat race, you are still a
  • Lily Tomlin

At the end of your life, what will you wish you
had done?
  • Spent time with family.
  • Contributed to society and the world.
  • Done good deeds.
  • Left a legacy.

Think about your contribution to the world
  • Family, spirituality, yourself first.
  • Nothing else works otherwise.
  • Important, but how urgent?
  • Your intellect, your gifts second.
  • Realize your power, through focus.
  • To focus, we need ambition, organization
  • With focus, ambition, organization, we have power
  • Important, but how urgent?

Important Urgent
Not Important Not Urgent
Not Important Urgent
Important Not Urgent
But I am too busy!!!!!!!!
  • With what?
  • Running around, paying bills, buying groceries,
    taking care of children, finding a mate,
    cleaning the house, getting the car fixed, doing
    shifts, fighting with my neighbor, sitting in
    traffic, writing a compliant note, going to
    meetings, trying to exercise, answering email,
    getting a divorce, taking care of my parents,
    trying to lose weight, trying to make more money,
    trying to sleep, fighting with my boss,
    organizing my life.

Life is short
  • Do you have a vision for your life?
  • Only if you have vision do you have real power.
  • Today, and for at least 1 minute every day from
    now on, make this thought important and urgent.

  • Hard work pays off eventually, laziness pays off

  • What is power?
  • The ability to achieve your objective.
  • Ability to make an enduring contribution
  • If you have power, but never use it, do you
    really have power?
  • Where does power come from?
  • From passion, skill, talent, leadership,
    position, skill, kindness, charisma, societal
  • But these have to point toward a vision

  • We become what we think about every day.

  • Nobody well-rounded ever changed the world.
  • Margaret Meade

We must do it better
  • Or you wont have 20 years of experience, you
    will have 1 year of experience 20 times over.

What defines you?
  • This is what you will become
  • This will be your legacy
  • This is what you will think about every day
  • This is how you will improve the world

Now what?
  • Read/Explore
  • Do literature searches
  • Find like-minded individuals
  • Request that the SAEM program committee hold a
  • Join the interest group

Give up thoughts of perfection
  • Leonardo da Vinci could write with one hand and
    draw with the other at the same time.
  • Dont even try

  • In a game of chess, the number of possible ways
    of playing the first 4 moves, per side, is
  • 318,979,564,000
  • You dont have to know everything to be a master

Dont ignore the details
  • In 1987, American Airlines saved 40,000 by
    eliminating one olive from each salad served in
    first class
  • The little things matter

Effort and Ambition are required
  • Husband Honey, weve been saving since 1979 and
    we are finally able to afford exactly what we
    started saving for.
  • Wife, You mean a brand new Mercedes?
  • Husband, No, a 1979 Mercedes

Dont point out others flaws Focus on yourself
  • Father, to his 9 year old
  • When Abraham Lincoln was your age, he walked 5
    miles to school every day!
  • Son, When Abraham Lincoln was your age, he was

  • Organize your life around your priorities, dont
    organize your priorities around your life.
  • Get the stuff out of the way.
  • How many of the things you do should not be done?
  • Find peace
  • Find focus

  • Urgent
  • Important

Not Urgent Important
Urgent Not Important
Not Urgent Not Important
You MUST do important but not urgent work every
  • Did you ever forget to answer email for a few
  • How many problems just disappeared?

  • Fax machine
  • A device that allows someone in another state to
    pile work on your desk.
  • Get rid of opportunities for not important work
    to come to you.
  • Create the urgency
  • set deadlines
  • set goals
  • schedule yourself

  • We become what we think about every day
  • Think about family
  • Think about a specific goal
  • The chaos will always be there
  • If you think about the chaos every day, what will
    you become?

  • Our ability to screen out stimuli is the
    foundation of our success as a physical being.
  • Do you feel the sensation of your shirt?
  • Do you feel your bladder filling up right now?
  • It is getting fuller and fuller and fuller.

  • The ability to succeed is the ability to
    selectively focus out stimuli.
  • Why is the image of the absent-minded professor
    so enduring?

  • Be absent minded every now and then
  • Scrutinize your movements.
  • Ask What am I really getting out of this?
  • You should gain something from every meeting.

Have a goal or intent
  • Be generous, be selfish, but dont just be.

  • First thing in the morning.
  • Go to bed with a morning priority.
  • One important thing to that will advance you to
    your goal
  • Make a phone call
  • Look something up
  • Write every day. No need to make it perfect.

Your schedule
  • Schedule key events.
  • Put time in to rest, to think.
  • Your secretary should not have your schedule,
    your spouse should.
  • When are you most efficient?
  • When you are busy! Plan busy times. Put meetings
    back to back.
  • Schedule urgent, not important meetings after
    your evening shifts.

Learn to say NO.
  • Thanks so much, but I would not be able to make
    the commitment this year.
  • I appreciate the offer, but right now I would
    not be able to devote the time to do a great job.
    Maybe later.
  • That is something I would love to do, but it
    just is not going to work at the moment.

Focus. Focus. Focus.
  • What is worth thinking about every day?
  • What interests you?
  • What motivates you?
  • What would you like to leave as your professional
  • Consider this your hobby.

  • How many clinical shifts to the leading
    investigators in EM do each month?

Choose your priorities
  • If you have chosen wisely, you will be
    interested, sometimes excited, by your academic
  • Share your knowledge.
  • Write
  • Generate energy, focus, and time and get it done.

If you have chosen wisely
  • Others will help you
  • They will forward articles, share ideas, speak
    about you as an authority.
  • You will feel rejuvenated by breakthroughs.
  • You will be happy that the topic defines you.

With focus
  • Read, read, read
  • Use Endnotes
  • Collect books and a few key articles
  • Speak to the residents on your topic.
  • Dont do research,
  • advance thinking.

  • You become what you think about every day.
  • I think about my next grant.
  • I think about my next article.
  • I think about my next lecture.
  • I think about my next meal.

  • The icons you need ON THE COMPUTER DESKTOP
  • your curriculum vitae
  • your lectures
  • your writings
  • Your endnotes
  • Your internet searches

Paper files
  • Working files (temporary)
  • Action items
  • Project/ongoing items
  • Reading, informational items
  • Archival (permanent) files
  • Label with nouns, not adjectives
  • Decide on your filing needs

  • Alphabetically
  • great for names, lousy for most other files
  • Subject
  • Good when you need subfolders
  • Tickler
  • Dated, detailed tasks
  • Chronological
  • Good for ongoing projects, monthly back up

  • Move major themes to boxes
  • Eliminate dated items
  • If you dont use it, store it

How do I get the stuff out of the way?
  • Buy less things.
  • Use less technology.
  • The must have technology will be obvious to
    you. Technology takes a long time to manage
  • Make sure it adds huge value to you
  • Endnotes, cell phone, internet/medline
  • Keep your focus.
  • Soccer games can be efficient.

  • A surgery resident from Brigham and Womens
    Hospital in Boston also writes for the New
    Yorker. He also is married, has 2 children, and
    does research. After a recent essay titled, When
    doctors make mistakes, he was interviewed by the
    Boston Globe. How could he do all this?

  • Dont feel guilty about rest. Take it as your
    reward and your right.
  • Make academic work your hobby. It should be
    enjoyable and relaxing.
  • Dont let the interests of random others occupy
    your time.
  • Exert energy, feel empowered, and focus.

  • "Words are, of course, the most powerful drug
    used by mankind."
  • Rudyard Kipling