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AUA course to discuss time management for urologists

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"When we put this course together, we didn't want it to be a course about working more; it was really about working more efficiently, so that you can gain more time outside of work," says Angela B. Smith, MD, MS.

In this interview, Angela B. Smith, MD, MS, discusses the course “Time efficiency and productivity hacks for the busy urologist,” which she will deliver at the 2023 American Urological Association (AUA) meeting alongside 3 other physicians. Smith is a professor of urology and the associate dean for faculty affairs and leadership development at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Angela B. Smith, MD, MS

Angela B. Smith, MD, MS

What is the background of this course?

The course title is "Time efficiency and productivity hacks for the busy urologist.” The background for this course is a realization that time management is incredibly important, no matter who you are. I think that when you manage time well, it leads to satisfaction in your work and your personal life, and when you manage it poorly, that can lead to a lot of issues. Realizing that this is something that everyone universally struggles with, including myself, we wanted to put something together that would provide a primer on how to think about productivity, how you can incorporate different strategies in your life at work, importantly, to enable you to have time in your personal life. I think that's really important. When we put this course together, we didn't want it to be a course about working more; it was really about working more efficiently, so that you can gain more time outside of work. I think that time outside of work, if you have enough of it, actually fills your cup, and you really enjoy going to work. So, that's the background of why this course was developed.

What topics will be covered in the course?

There are going to be several individuals teaching the course. We have David Canes [, MD], Rena Malik [, MD], and Jennifer Miles-Thomas [, MD]. We are all teaching a variety of different topics. One is about email management, because digital management is the bane of our existence. Dr. Canes will be looking at the electronic health record and optimizing that for your work life. Dr. Malik is going to be talking about self-care routines, which I think are incredibly important. And then Dr. Miles-Thomas is going to be talking about how to set priorities [and] how to manage your time when you have so many competing priorities from the day-to-day.

Could you touch on some specifics of the course, such as the learning objectives or how it might be structured?

Absolutely. We’re doing a more interactive approach, sometimes called “flipped classroom.” We provided a free course worksheet. It's very brief, but it allows the participant to think a little bit about their current life, their current habits, [and] their current issues that they face in their work life and their home life with regard to self-care and bring that to our work. We also recommended a couple books to get a better sense. None of this is required, but it allows participants to come a little more prepared and with a little more forethought about what they might want to get out of the course itself.

In terms of learning objectives, I talked already about digital management, but one of them is applying management strategies for email to reduce all the technologic burden we face every day. You're also hopefully going to get out a way to design daily and weekly planning schedules that are more intentional; they align with your actual priorities and goals. We're going to discuss and hopefully participants come away with strategies to optimize their electronic health record efficiency. There are a variety of ways to do that. And then finally, identifying ways to create and maintain habits that not only improve time efficiency and improve productivity, but incorporate a routine of self-care which, in my opinion, are part and parcel of time management and managing it in a way that both recognizes the need to be productive at work, but also the need to have restorative practices, whether it's in your home life, personal life, or [with] your family.

In general, what are you hoping that urologists will take away from this course?

I hope that they [gain] a couple of things from the course. Some new strategies they may not have known about in the past, [and] I would hope that they also leave with an open mind about the way that they manage their time. I think many of our days, we just go through the day. We don't think about what we're doing and why we're doing it. My hope is that the course instills or fosters a thought process about how we manage time every day, so [they have] more awareness of that. If you're aware, then you may know what you need to change. It's a little bit about the awareness of how we manage our time, and then tools in which you can apply to areas you want to change about how you may be mismanage your time or where you may want to put time from work into personal life or vice versa. My hope is that there are strategies that they'll be able to try, and then an open mind to actually try them and incorporate them into their lives.

Is there anything else that you’d like to add?

This will be on Sunday, April 30. It's going to be 8am to 10am Central time. Of course, this will be in Chicago at McCormick Place. We really welcome anyone and everyone; we're hoping we have good attendance since time management and productivity are such hot topics these days. We look forward to having this be a very engaging session. I want to highlight that with the flipped classroom approach, we're going to have breakout sessions so people come away with actual tools that they can apply directly and immediately following the session. So we hope to see you bright and early on that morning, and we look forward to the course.

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