EMS Tips

Prioritizing Work Tasks

52 days until the end of 2010! Last week as I looked at my ever expanding work to-do list I wanted to prioritize what I could realistically get done between now and the end of the year. While keeping in mind three holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years).

1. List tasks. I made a list of tasks in a Word document.

2. Important or Not Important. My next step was to re-order the list into two lists. Important and Not Important. I want to focus on what is important.

3. Urgent or Non-Urgent. This time I sub-divided the important list into Urgent and Non-Urgent. Urgent items are tasks that will help retain, grow, or acquire business. They are also items people are counting on me to complete.

In a matter of minutes I had narrowed a list of nearly 40 possible tasks into less than 10 Important and Urgent tasks. Suddenly a road map of the remainder of 2010 unfolded in front of me.

The concept of Important/Not Important and Urgent/Not Urgent is one of the underlying concepts in the book [amazon-product text=”7 Habits of Highly Effective People” type=”text”]0743269519[/amazon-product]. The same concept can be applied to patient medical problems. I am planning a couple of posts where I will ask you to help me determine when a patient’s problem is Important and Urgent. This is a general concept that is taught to Wilderness Medicine providers in Wilderness Medical Associates courses. When resources are limited, and the environment potentially severe, it is a helpful scheme to prioritize tasks.

By Greg Friese

Greg Friese, Stevens Point, Wisconsin, is an author, educator, paramedic, and marathon runner.

Greg was the co-host of the award winning EMSEduCast podcast, the only podcast by and for EMS educators. Greg has written for,, Wilderness Medical Associates, JEMS Magazine, and EMS World Magazine, and the NAEMSE Educator Newsletter.