Working in Occupational Health (OH) in my experience is a busy job. We all need help to cut down on time spent and to increase our productivity. This is becoming far easier now we are in the technological age. We can now download free apps, pick up information from research-based websites knowing that the information is current. Some say we still have a long way to go – especially for those of us who struggle with understanding the new language which accompanies such advances and the differing operation systems queuing up to provide many free services for us.
This article looks at some programmes or technological advances that I use on a daily basis to enhance my productivity in my work as an occupational health and safety professional.
Here are my Top 10 Productivity Tips
Templates save so much time when writing letters and requests and we write many of these. So to save time it’s best to create a template for each which includes spaces for the address, name, date of birth etc and many standard phrases used frequently. This way I can pull up a template and just add the relevant comments for each situation. Such a great time saver.
Beware, though – the danger is that reports become highly repetitive and the recipient may become bored with the same old format. In one case I saw the standard template letter was four pages long (with many disclaimers and explanations) and only one original sentence.
See a collection of the templates I use and download some for your own use (registration on my site required).
Macros are more complicated and I use these in Microsoft Word programmes which is still my favourite word processing tool for OH work. Use Macros for a specific set of keystrokes. I use a Macro to insert hyperlinks into documents using the bitley free Chrome extension. Sorry, a bit technical there but you will see what I mean if you look at this YouTube video.
This has saved me so much time and effort you wouldn’t believe and can be adapted for many such tasks
Available as a free programme and can be added to most word processing programmes. When activated it sits in the background picking up contextual spelling and grammar mistakes, offering you options on how to correct them and more pleasing synonyms. Easy to use and just as easy to ignore.
Ernest Hemmingway wrote simple sentences and his writing style is the easiest to understand. With complex health issues, it’s easy to fall into the trap of writing long involved sentences that lose their meaning as they dwindle off into the night. Use the Hemingway app to check the comprehension level required to understand. A must in today’s multinational companies.
- Health Information that is evidence-based and easy to digest – NHS Choices
- Government Information – for information about driving requirements and disability etc
- Industry-specific e.g, construction, you can find these through search or from magazines, useful for industry guidelines e.g., electricians, train drivers, seamen, offshore workers etc
- HSE, clear guidance (usually free) on many industries and signposting to other useful sites,
- Google Earth/Maps – useful when checking out external environments and visiting other facilities
My little green elephant is rather wonderful but only when I realised that you really must organise your documents in some sort of folder system otherwise you might never find them again. This is especially true if you have other document saving programmes such as Dropbox, Google Docs or Pocket. I use the Evernote app and programme across all my devices but only for my medical notes and none of my other interests and hobbies. I use the paid professional service, however, the free service is adequate for a trial period.
7. Apps for iPhone (available for other smartphones too)
- Microphone – available on smartphones and as browser extensions – convert speech to text for free
- Notes – reminders and a quick way of recording facts you might forget
- Camera – take pictures of documents, health issues, environments and accident investigations
- Red Cross app for first aid in an emergency
Workflowy is a very simple and easy to use productivity app which lets you quickly add to lists and share with teams across all platforms. One person I know has used Workflowy as a means of publishing a workbook for her followers. A great idea.
Use your calendar app or programme to set aside quiet time. Remember to schedule in time for setting up equipment, lunch and travelling too. Co-ordinate across all your platforms for efficiency and perhaps share with some trusted colleagues. Do not include names of patients but use a blocking system to make the names accessible only to you. I use Google Calendar and synchronise across all my electronics. If you use Google Maps (see number five above) and link them, you will get notifications and warnings about traffic on the way to meetings and when to leave for a journey, so you will arrive in time.
I’m not sure if I could manage without YouTube now! Search for any process, procedure or productivity hints and tips and you really cannot go wrong. The only problem is that you tend to get sidetracked as it is a great time waster too.
If you have other technology and productivity tips and apps you use on a regular basis – let me know in the comments box.