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Five life hacks for a busy doctor
Everyone enjoys a life hack that saves time. This is especially important for busy healthcare professionals whose time is at a premium. In this blog, Dr Harry Brown lists his top five life hacks to help make life more efficient, easier and effective.
Modern life is tough and stressful for most people. If you are a healthcare professional, current working conditions can make life even more demanding meaning spare time is at a premium.
Therefore, it is always nice to find a shortcut to find a good deal, resolve a complaint, streamline your finances or generally make life easier and more streamlined. This shortcut is often called a ‘Life Hack’.
The following is my personal list of useful life hacks that may help to make life easier and more productive by either saving you money or time.
1. Blue Light Card discounts
I only started using the Blue Light Card discount service recently and it has certainly saved me some decent money. Current and retired NHS staff are eligible for membership for a modest fee. The volume of offers is impressive with a substantial range of common vendors offering decent discounts which easily pays off the membership fee.
The trick is to remember to look up any items you are about to purchase on the app or website to see if you can get a discount first (easier said than done!). Recently, I used a Starbucks offer, got half-price cinema tickets and a chunky discount for a dishwater from an electrical retailer after finding the cheapest deal. I also used it when booking a holiday.
All you need to join, assuming you are eligible, is £4.99 for two years membership, ID or a recent pay slip. You do feel a sense of achievement when you get your discount (I certainly do!), even if it is modest as it still seems like a victory and raises my spirits!
2. CEO email
Ever been frustrated by a consumer problem and you are getting absolutely nowhere, no replies to emails or telephone calls or stuck in a long telephone queue? We have all been there but one shortcut to potentially sort out your problem is to go straight to the top and email the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of an organisation and ask them to sort out your problem.
Of course, you need their email address and I have been using this site for many years and it is brilliant. It is basically a database of contact details for CEOs of most companies in the UK.
Emailing the CEO of a company does not guarantee resolving the problem, but I would say in the majority of times, surprisingly I have got a response and often (but not always) I get a satisfactory and fair resolution of a problem. The database seems constantly updated and although it has a dated looking interface, the content is superb.
I have also recently been recommended another website called Resolver, which can help to resolve a dispute.
At first I thought smart watches were another fad from the tech industry, but I was soon convinced. Having owned an iPhone, it seemed sensible to buy an Apple watch. It is not cheap, but it is a premium product and works seamlessly with my iPhone. You can easily go on online and find all the numerous attributes, but I find a few of its properties very useful.
Probably the most useful is having all my credit cards on my watch. It is safe and with a double click on the watch button, an exact digital replica of my credit cards appears on the watch face. All I need to do is to have a quick scroll through all my cards on the watch face until I get the card I need to use at that moment. It takes seconds and there is no PIN numbers needed, no opening wallets or handbags or rummaging around for your phone.
There is a satisfying buzz as the transaction completes effortlessly on the merchant’s payment machine and usually within seconds the transaction details appear on my watch screen.
I also enjoy seeing incoming text and WhatsApp messages appear on the watch screen as well as newsflashes and other notifications. Calls can be answered on the watch if my phone is close by.
It can also check my heart rate and ECG as well as oxygen saturations, so there is plenty to keep me occupied.
4. The Revolut card
I have only discovered recently how useful the Revolut card can be. It runs in tandem with an associated smartphone app and is essentially a credit card that can be loaded up with money via the app on your phone. It also offers the ability to transfer money to other countries and currencies.
Other features include the option of having a junior card to control and monitor spending patterns in your child and a virtual online card with a disposable number linked to your account.
This card is not for everyone but shows the way forward, merging the skills of modern technology and financial services.
I had to put in at least one medical life hack since being a practicing medic takes up a lot of time. Anything that could make life easier and is free is certainly worth knowing about. This includes accessing reliable and high-quality medical information, effortlessly.
MSD Manuals is the website of the well-known and respected general medical textbook, The Merck Manual (first published 1899) which I think is excellent and is good value.
The website of the book is free online (with no registration or log in required) and there is plenty more to offer than the basic book. With quizzes and videos as well as an app for your smart device, there is plenty to keep you informed. The book and website are editorially independent from the drug company.
However the core of this electronic product is the book which covers all the major medical specialities and it is easy to search the book or app and drill down to the information you require.
I hope you enjoy these life hacks and would love to hear any of your recommendations!
Dr Harry Brown is a retired GP, Leeds and medical editor of GM Journal