Beat the Clock:
8 Time Management Best Practices for Nurses

Written by Asim Qureshi
By Asim Qureshi, CEO Jibble

Hi, I’m Asim Qureshi, the CEO, and co-founder of Jibble, a cloud-based time and attendance software. I have several years of experience building and scaling software products and teams across various industries and markets. Before I founded Jibble, I worked as a VP at Morgan Stanley for six years. I’m passionate about helping businesses improve their productivity and performance through smart time management practices.


Nursing careers are exciting and rewarding, but they can also be stressful. In places where healthcare operates 24/7, 12-hour shifts are usually the norm. These shifts may require working on weekends and during nighttime. Given this demanding and fast-paced work environment, nurses must manage their time effectively. Effective time management for nurses isn’t only crucial in staying organized and efficient in daily tasks but also plays a vital role in ensuring quality patient care and reducing burnout.

In this article, I will share eight time management practices that can greatly help optimize your productivity while achieving a better work-life balance. Whether you’re a seasoned nurse or just starting your career in healthcare, incorporating these time management strategies into your routine can make a significant difference in your professional life.

Time management for nurses. Photo by Thirdman:

8 Time Management Best Practices for Nurses

Tip #1: Arrive early.

The early bird gets the worm, or in this case, a head start into reading patient reports and mapping out your shift!

One of the best ways to start your day is by arriving early. This might mean getting to work a few minutes before your shift starts. Doing so gives you a buffer to settle in, organize your thoughts, and prepare for the day ahead. Plus, arriving early can help you avoid the stress of rushing and feeling behind schedule right from the get-go.

Tip #2: Break down large tasks into smaller, manageable steps.

We all know how overwhelming it can be to face those enormous tasks that seem to consume all our time and energy. The key here is to break them down into smaller, more manageable steps. Take a moment to assess the task at hand and identify its components.

For example, if you have to assist in an essential surgery during the day, you can divide this task into smaller steps. You can start by reviewing the surgical procedure, verifying patient information, coordinating pre-operative tests, and so on. Make sure to arrange steps in order of priority and importance.

Breaking down large tasks will help you maintain focus, stay motivated, and make progress without feeling overwhelmed.

Tip #3: Create a routine and stick with it.

Establishing a consistent routine helps you stay organized and reduces decision fatigue. Plan your day, including specific time slots for activities like patient care, documentation, and breaks.

Of course, flexibility is essential in the healthcare industry, but having a routine as a general guide can help you navigate unexpected challenges more effectively. Plus, once you get into the groove of your routine, it becomes second nature, making your days run smoother.

A nurse wearing full lab gear while working on the computer. Photo by Irwan @blogcious on Unsplash

Tip #4: Stop multitasking.

While it may seem counterintuitive, research has shown that multitasking actually hampers productivity by up to 40% and can lead to more errors and decreased efficiency. Instead of attempting to juggle multiple tasks simultaneously, focus on one task at a time and give it your undivided attention. Concentrating on a single task can make you complete it more efficiently and effectively, ultimately saving time in the long run.

Tip #5: Delegate where and when you can.

As a nurse, you often have a lot on your plate. It’s essential to recognize that you can’t do everything on your own. Delegation is key!

Identify tasks that can be passed on to other healthcare team members, such as nursing assistants or support staff. This doesn’t mean dumping all the dirty work on your nursing assistant or intern. Delegation should be a thoughtful and strategic process.

Delegate tasks that align with their expertise and allow them to grow professionally. By assigning appropriate tasks, you lighten your load and empower your colleagues to contribute meaningfully to patient care.


Tip #6: Leverage the power of time tracking apps.

Time tracking apps can be powerful tools for managing your schedule and prioritizing tasks. These apps allow you to track and analyze how you spend your time, helping you identify areas where you can improve.

You can set reminders for shifts or breaks, create to-do lists, and schedule specific activities. Some apps like the Jibble time tracking app even offer features like Paid Time Off Management, Calendar Management, and Automated Timesheets to eliminate time entry errors. Apps like these aren’t only beneficial for individual time management but also for managing entire hospital teams.

Tip #7: Identify and eliminate time-wasting activities or processes.

Look at the data you’ve collected from time-tracking apps and take some time to evaluate your daily routine, and identify any activities or processes that are not adding value or are taking up unnecessary time.

It could be excessive paperwork, redundant documentation, or inefficient communication methods. Streamlining or eliminating these time-wasting activities can free up valuable time for more critical patient care tasks. Regularly reassess your workflow and look for opportunities to improve efficiency and eliminate unnecessary steps.

Tip #8: Take time to rest.

Nursing is demanding, both physically and mentally. So, it’s crucial to carve out some time for yourself to rest and recharge. Schedule short breaks throughout your shift to clear your mind, stretch, and grab a snack.

And when you do get a day off, make the most of them. Prioritize self-care, spend quality time with loved ones, and engage in activities that recharge your soul. This dedicated time away from work allows you to decompress, destress, and return to your nursing duties with a fresh perspective.

Are You Ready to Manage Your Time More Efficiently?

Taking control of your time requires commitment and practice, but the rewards are well worth it. By managing your time efficiently, you can reduce stress, improve patient care, and find more time for yourself. Embrace these best practices and start enhancing your productivity while improving the quality of care you provide your patients.