In a world where she practices dermatology, conducts research, and is a super mom, Alina Bridges, DO has nailed down a strategy to not let emails stress her out.
More than half of US physicians revealed in a recent American Medical Association (AMA) study that they have experienced burnout, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic.1 Increasing productivity, administrative, and regulative demands has made establishing a work-life balance nearly impossible and unrealistic for clinicians in all fields. While the AMA and several other advocacy groups are working toward reform at a national level to address the issue, Alina Bridges DO, FAAD and Director of Dermapathology at the Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell shared tips to downsize digital clutter and other distractions alongside peers during the session “Making the Most of Your Time: Optimizing Productivity in 2023” at the 2023 American Academy of Dermatology Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana.2 Bridges shared her strategies to manage an influx of emails with Dermatology Times®.
Alina Bridges, DO, FAAD: I mean, I wanted to be part of that session, because that's what my life is like is, is trying to juggle a 2 physician household. My husband works 4 days a week, but I work 5 days a week we have, we manage 3 children, two of which have disabilities. My oldest is very high functioning, but he's on the autistic spectrum spectrum. My youngest was born completely deaf and had cochlear implants when he was 6 months of age. My daughter is in a pre-professional ballet program. My deaf son with the cochlear implants is a hockey player. He's been playing hockey since he's been 3-years old. So we try to juggle work and life. We shouldn't call it work life balance because it's just learning how to get through the chaos and organize the chaos.
My particular piece in this session is email and a little bit of how to schedule your day, how to manage the emails, which are horrific. During the pandemic, more people were emailing because you weren't seeing people. If you're like most people, you have a work email. I do research. So, I have a research email, I have two personal emails. And then I have I get emails about each of my kids about their activities plus their school emails you. My advice is that I try to answer the emails when I can during the day and I flag the ones that I really need to answer. Most of the other ones can wait until later in the day. Then, you have to really try to manage them on a daily basis, and you're more likely to manage them if you answer them right away. If it's any email that takes a long time to answer, then I'm probably going to talk to the person rather than answer the email because it's just going to take too long. So pick up the phone or have people text rather than message. The other thing is sometimes creating folders because some of the emails are or are about certain things that are going to take place so kind of getting those put into your calendar, then you can delete them. And the most important thing is that if you're getting certain emails, and because a lot of it can be junk, unsubscribe to any emails that you're not going to need.
Transcript edited for clarity.
1. American Medical Association. Measuring and addressing physician burnout. Published February 15, 2023. Accessed March 20, 2023. https://www.ama-assn.org/practice-management/physician-health/measuring-and-addressing-physician-burnout.
2. Bridges A, Nambudiri V, Shinohara M, et al. Making the most of your time: Optimizing productivity in 2023. Presented at American Academy of Dermatology 2023 Annual Meeting; March 17-21, 2023; New Orleans, LA.