5 productivity tools that every pharmacist should use

5 productivity tools that every pharmacist should use

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Time is the scarcest resource we have. How you direct your time tells a lot about you. At the end of life, all wasted time will take its toll, whether in health, in professional success, or even in happiness. Time is the most important ingredient of productivity.

I’m always impressed with the statistics of productivity. The American have an higher ratio of production. It’s depressing. The causes are complex , but part of the problem is in the way you work.

Being more productive at work does not mean working more, it means working better. It is getting the most out of time, directing energy to what is most important and urgent. And it is always possible to improve. The way to be more productive is long and never ends. 

  • Online calendar

Yes, I know it’s obvious, but I know many professionals who do not use any online calendar / calendar to keep their appointments organized. So this is the first thing to do.

I do not use the online directory only for appointments such as face-to-face meetings, travel, or skype calls. I also use to mark important deadlines , schedule appointments outside of work and even to mark “meetings with myself.” That is, blocks of time that I need to save for activities such as reading, online courses, or planning.

The tip is to use an online calendar, such as Google Calendar or iCal, and integrate it into your cell phone and computer calendar. This way, you can enter appointments anywhere and everything stays in sync. I also learned that I can integrate the calendar with other tools, like Trello, for example, and this helps me a lot not to lose sight of what needs to be done.

  • To do list

It’s also very basic, but a lot of people do not. Maintain a to-do list where you simply mark everything that needs to be done, from the most mundane to the most important, and check  the tasks already done.

A lot of people do that on paper. I prefer to use the cell phone reminder list because it syncs with the computer and everything stays in the same place. One tip is to put a deadline for things by creating alerts for yourself. A lot of people send email to themselves, to remember things they need to do, I think that’s terrible.

If you have an up-to-date list of tasks, in those days or times when you feel a little lost, not knowing what you need to do, you open your to-do list and attack one point at a time. And it does, from beginning to end, one point at a time. Without procrastinating.

3. Trello

The Trello is a little more elaborate tool. It is a project management software, with a free version, that allows you to organize frames of each project in progress. I have already used a lot in the University to manage master’s and doctoral research, and I continue to use it until today for almost all the projects in which I participate.

In each of Trello’s frames, you create columns where you place tasks to do, tasks in progress, deliveries under review or completed, etc. The system is very versatile and allows application of various methodologies. The one I use the most is this, based on the Kanban system of project management.

I do not use Trello to control day-to-day schedules or tasks, I’ll book for more important projects that involve more people. I would say that the tool is most useful when you need to manage a team, in a project that involves deadlines and deliveries. It has mobile app too.

The free version is very good and sufficient for most situations. In the paid version, you have more features. One of them allows you to integrate tasks that are in Trello with your online agenda, so you do not miss deadlines. I use this integration and it has worked well.

In  Clinicarx  we do not use Trello, we use Jira , which is a much more professional tool, from the same manufacturer, but it’s too much for projects that are not software. At Abrafarma, I use Trello to manage several internal processes within the Advanced Pharmacy Assistance Program.

  • Mailchimp

Everyone knows Mailchimp more as a Digital Marketing tool. But I also use for emails and communications to the contact lists that are involved in projects with me. The tool is free for up to 2,000 contacts on your list.

This tool helps productivity because it allows you to automate the sending of emails or create scheduled submissions. So if you need to send out deadlines, for example, at the beginning of a project you can put everyone involved in a list and schedule all those emails at once. The system does the rest and each email will be sent on the exact date. It’s more productive than remembering to send every email on the right date.

Also, with Mailchimp you know exactly who opened your email, when it opened, who clicked the link you sent, those things. This also helps in communication and avoids that famous phrase “please send the email again, because I did not receive it”. From my experience, the overwhelming majority of the time this is not true and mailchimp proves! Mailchimp saves time.

At a slightly more professional level, the tool helps you create emails with super cute looks as well and allows you to create landing pages for collecting emails from interested parties, in case you are promoting or selling something. You can also integrate Mailchimp with Trello, so you have your emails sent managed within the tasks of your project. Furthermore, this tool can also be simply used to run a customer survey or a feedback poll as well. Positive and negative feedbacks both are important to excel your business to the next well and MailChimp can play an important part in that

  • Rescue Time

I’m very fan of this tool, so I leave it last. It is software that you install on your computer, free of charge, and it monitors everything you do and for how long. All the sites you visit, software you use, everything. And it turns that into a productivity report!

You discover many truths with Rescue Time. Find out what parts of your work are consuming your time and how much time you are actually being productive by doing the things you need (and want) to do.

Even if you do not spend much time in front of the computer, I still advise you to use this tool to make your computer time more productive.

If you enter the tool a bit more, you’ll be able to configure what types of activities the system should consider more productive or less, and what productivity goals you’d like to achieve. The tool will still distinguish working times from times when you are accessing the computer at home for example, so as not to contaminate the statistics. 

I use this tool and I advise everyone who works with me to use it as well. I have had honest and very productive meetings, discussing the results of Rescue Time with co-workers and looking for ways to be (more) more productive.

Finally, the jabuticabas …

More efficient work means more free time to take care of other things like leisure, exercise, good food, friends or family. It’s as they say: “… the illusion is that people believe they have enough time.” In fact, our time here is very short. Rubem Alves wrote the history of time and the jabuticabas . I never forgot. I recommend reading. Hugs.


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