I recently attended a leadership development seminar created by the Student Programs Office, part of a series called BC Leaders for Others, aimed toward developing better student leaders on campus. This specific session was aimed at prioritizing and scheduling time, running efficient meetings, and creating timelines for events.

It can be difficult to manage meetings, academics, sleep, and a social life simultaneously; therefore, the first portion of the session was geared toward scheduling and prioritizing. They gave the group a list of activities, social and academic, that we had to put on a calendar followed by additional unexpected tasks that had to be incorporated into our busy schedule. This was helpful because it taught us how to prioritize what we had to do over what we wanted to do at times, combine certain activities, and put it all together on one schedule.

Next we covered how to run an efficient meeting through simple steps. An effective meeting is defined as one that: a) achieves its objectiv; b) takes up a minimum amount of time; and c) leaves participants feeling that a process has been followed. To achieve the objective, a meeting must have at least one goal. To minimize time, and agenda must be prepared and distributed before the meeting so that participants can be prepared ahead of time. Also, in the case of there being a limited amount of time for a meeting, addressing the points that are of higher priority at the beginning is a better strategy than leaving them toward the end. To satisfy the participants, the mediator of the meeting should try to ensure that no one person is dominating the conversation; summarize people’s contributions through active listening; and make certain that participants stay on topic.

The final point we covered was creating timelines for events. Student programs throw different events and each event requires planning  different aspects such as budget, supplies, and publicity. They also gave us a time line and planning guide to help us in preparation for our events, which included deadlines and contact information for people in charge of different aspects of events.

As a leader, this was helpful because it forced me to think about what was important to me and therefore prioritize better. It taught me to be more efficient with my time so that I can enjoy academic and social life, while also getting enough sleep. A professor at Cornell gave us four rules on sleep: 1) Determine your own sleep need and meet it; 2) Establish a regular sleep-wake schedule; 3) Get continuous sleep; 4) Make up for lost sleep. According to this professor, we need 9.25 hours while on average we get 6.1 hours.

As nurses, we need our sleep to be able to work at our highest potential. Also, we have many patients for whom we must give direct care.  Organizing schedules that helps us prioritize our patient care obligations is an essential responsibility of a nurse. Making a daily timeline for each patient would be effective, and it would also be important to coordinate timelines with the other nurses on the shift.