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I Don’t Have Time to Write

What do the words today, tomorrow, and later have in common? They are all time-related terms that we use to describe things we will do. Listen, I get it. We are busy people. With all the responsibilities of our full-time central sterile demands, when can we really find time for anything? We just don’t have the time to become industry writers.

But what if that wasn’t the case? Time is just a construct, right? Yeah, no. Time is a very real restriction on a lot of the efforts we want to place into our writing; however, I suggest the radical idea that we have the time, but we don’t prioritize writing.

How do we determine what to prioritize and spend our time on? We are doing it every day, unbeknownst to us. When we choose to do one thing over another, we are prioritizing the end result. When we end up binge-watching a Netflix series when we originally intended to only watch one episode, we have prioritized that. When we choose to stay late at work to help out the next shift instead of heading home, we have prioritized that. Prioritization is not a good or bad thing; it is the way we feel about ourselves after the prioritization that makes it so. I don’t see anything bad about either of the examples given. What did you determine? What made you decide that?

The best way to prioritize industry writing is to determine if and when we have the capacity for it. First, consider the three time restrictions:

  • Musts are a prior obligation to which we have dedicated our time
  • Shoulds include the actions we feel drawn to complete for one reason or another, usually some form of self-imposed obligation
  • Coulds are all the ways we would like to spend our time, if we had plenty of it

Write these three words across the top of a piece of paper, then list all your physical time restrictions under each. Musts may include work, school, family time, etc. Shoulds may include cleaning, exercise, homework, etc. Coulds may include writing, reading, watching television, etc. What did you list under each column? Becoming an industry writer may have fallen under a could or should, depending on how you view its demand in priority. There is no right or wrong answer.

Now determine what we can move to make space for industry writing. Notice how I said move and not remove. It would be silly for me to suggest that we remove work from our must column, but we do not work every day. I would never go so far as to suggest that we write instead of exercise, but we do not work out every moment of the day. Please ignore me if I tell you to not binge-watch that Netflix series, but what are we doing at the end of each season? There is opportunity to make time for industry writing in the choices we make.

Prioritize industry writing by taking hold of time. By evaluating what we can temporarily move from the various time columns, we have revealed that time is, indeed, in our hands. The act of writing does not have to comply with any restricted preexisting ideas you may have of how it should be done. We do not need a fancy laptop, the best spelling, or even a topic to begin writing. But we will never know what information we can give to our fellow CS colleagues until we get it out of our heads and into written words. The only thing we have to put firmly in place is when we will write.

What little step can we take to give our professional development the spotlight? Maybe it’s the 20 minutes before our kids get finished with virtual school. What if we shut off the autostart feature on Netflix and write for five minutes at the end of each episode? Imagine all the different things we could write about if we give ourselves the time. We need to give ourselves permission to use our time the way we must, should, and could to achieve writing goals.

Prioritization is key. Know that the want and desire behind an intention does not make it easier to apply. If anything, it can make it more difficult. Shame, guilt, and frustration are typical expressions of any unfulfilled demand we place on ourselves. I want to tell everyone who is feeling this that it is totally normal. The ability to prioritize, learn, and apply new practices, is a learned habit. No common sense here.

“I don’t have time” is a phrase every central sterile technician is all too familiar with. Remember that it is your time. If we want to prioritize and make the time for industry writing, it will help us develop professionally. We owe that to ourselves and our professional practice. We will be the voices that define our industry among the healthcare hum.

Sarah B. Cruz, CSPDT, CRCST, is a quality education program development coordinator for central sterile. As a CS education coordinator, she creates and institutes an education program in central sterile departments. This includes, but is not limited to, the formation of programs that onboard new employees, develop competencies, certify staff, develop LEAN process improvements, and implement standards of best practices and professional practices.

Sarah’s dedication to her industry continues as the creator and president of PRETREAT CSS, LLC, a mentorship platform used to educate, motivate, and support CS technicians’ professional development. Through tangible actions and physical indicators of success, Sarah knows central sterile services is an excellent profession to develop in as a career. She vocalizes her passion through published articles, social media, webinars, and public speaking. As an industry expert, she is passionate about her message: put the CSS in SUCCESS!

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