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Section 22
Making Time for Alzheimer's & Low-Functioning...
by Power-Packing your Day!

Table of Contents | NCCAP/NCTRC CE Booklet

Power-Packing Your Days
Getting a jump start on your day— and other time enhancers
•   Ever think of getting a jump start on your day by coming into work a half hour or a few minutes early? Many Activity Directors find this gives them much-needed private time to tackle those #1 tasks, like documentations before the phone starts ringing and residents start to stream into your Activity Room.

If I came into work a half an hour or 15 minutes early, what could I do?

•   Pencil in specific “appointments with yourself" on your Daily Task List for demanding tasks. . . and keep them!  For example make an appointment with yourself to reread or view again the materials for the first four volumes of this Series.  Decide what “gem of an idea” you can hardly wait to get started with, to try with your next new admission, or low functioning and Alzheimer’s residents in your facility that are presenting programming challenges for you and your staff.

When can you make an "appointment with yourself?"
What will I do during this time?

•   Scrutinize your must-do, number-one obligations to see where you can borrow time.  If it is not a must-do and is a low level priority, cut it short some how?  Can you slight this low priority task without creating major problems for yourself?  Ask yourself, for example, “Does it really take two activity staff members to conduct the entire Roll Across game described in Volume Four of the Low Functioning and Alzheimer's Activities Series?”  Or can you help your assistant to get started then "duck out" and get some Progress Notes written?  Think for a minute then write the name of something you do or your staff does that really does not need all that attention.

What activity or task can I cut short or decrease in some way?

•   Take a few minutes at the end of the day to get a jump on tomorrow. Something as simple as organizing materials for the first Activity of the morning enables you to gain some free time tomorrow. I am always amazed at the feeling of accomplishment I get when I start a day that was organized at the end of work the day before when priorities are fresh in my mind.

What time should I stop at the end of my day to get organized for tomorrow?

What are some end of the day organizational tasks I can do to get a jump start on tomorrow?


Making Your Contacts Productive…and Crisp
Clearly, contacts with other departments and staff are a necessary and a legitimate part of your day. However, the trick is not getting bogged down with inopportune, unscheduled chats in the hall­ or on the phone. The following suggestions will help you make the most of the time you spend with staff, volunteers, domineering residents—and move on smoothly.  Our course regarding "Domineering Residents" contains detailed information on how to handle this small but challenging segment of your resident population.

The fine art of handling drop-in visitors and spontaneous meetings
•   Meet in other Department Heads' offices. When another Department Head asks to drop in for a few minutes, try saying, “I’ll drop by after lunch.” It’s a lot easier to excuse yourself from someone else’s office than to ease someone out of yours.  Agree?  Or try "cutting them off at the pass," so to speak.  Anticipate the need for a contact and drop by their office first.  That way you can control the meeting length by looking at your watch and saying, "I'm afraid I need to go."  You really don't need to give a reason.

Write the name of another staff member with whom you might intentionally have a meeting in their office or area as a means to cut the meeting short.

•   Set a time contract. When another staff member, for example, asks to see you, is it possible for you to be assertive enough to say, “Sure, I’ve got ten minutes at 4:00”? Or when you find yourself caught in the hall with your facility’s Chatty Charlie or Chatty Charlotte who is telling you how great the previous Activity Director's parties or holiday decorations were and how you could make yours better, try this one:
“I’m behind on my documentation. I've got to get started in five minutes. If you can write that down or e-mail me on the rest, that’d be great.” (Chances are, you’ll never see that note or the e-mail.)  Or sometimes just the mention of the magic-word "documentation," and the other staff member understands and lets you off the hook.

Write who you might make a Time Contract with by stating something like, “Sure, I’ve got ten minutes at 4:00.”  Write what you would say. Then, rehearse it in your mind.


•   Confer standing up. When you want to keep meetings brief, stand rather than sit - standing signals “Don’t get too comfortable.” Then, when you want to close, simply walk your visitor to the door and say goodbye with a cordial, “Thanks for dropping in. I really appreciate the information.”

Write below a seated conversation you had with someone that could have been done standing up.


•   Keep a stack of papers or books on the visitor’s chair next to your desk. This may act to prevent coworkers or all too chatty residents from sitting down and overstaying.  

If you are not feeling highly motivated to implement any of the preceding ideas, think again!.  The Implementation of Culture Change requires cooperation from other departments.  You are requesting schedule changes, transporting, and doing activities.  In order to make these requests and provide training for other staff, the more professional and organized you present yourself, the more likely the other department heads, therapists, CNAs, etc. are to treat you with respect and take your Culture Change requests seriously.  Agree?  So I suggest you strongly consider rereading the preceding section more than once.  Sift through it to find the ideas you need to implement.

Forward to Section 23
Back to Section 21

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