Every year the Daylight Savings Time “spring forward” catches me off guard and steals an hour of my day. When everyone’s days seem so short already, with Monday’s to-do list spilling over into Tuesday’s and beyond, that lost hour seems to come at a great cost. The quickest, shortest path to completing a task looks even more appealing than usual these days.
When I take a step back though, I am reminded of the importance of making the space in my schedule to take the right path—to dedicate time when it is needed, and not choose a plan of action based on how quick it is.
My work with the Colorado Network of Health Alliances involves working with groups all around the state of Colorado; mountains and many miles separate me and some of my closest colleagues. The quick fix would be to have all of my communication through email and phone calls, and to build virtual relationships. However, putting in the travel time to meet in-person with our statewide partners is always worth it. Investing the hours and miles to develop trust, show commitment, and form meaningful, real-world relationships makes our work—and theirs—far better in the long run.
Effective, collaborative partnerships cannot be built overnight. Every alliance that participates in the Network is made up of a committed group of individuals whose day jobs range from hospital CEO to public health director. They must each find time beyond their usual workday to build the relational and systemic infrastructure that holds these groups together as an alliance. It’s time intensive, but their many accomplishments (PDF) speak for themselves—the time commitment is worth it.
Last week, I helped facilitate a transitions of care retreat for South Metro Transitions, a project that has formed from members of the South Metro Health Alliance. The group is collaborating to help vulnerable patients maintain their health and prevent unnecessary Emergency Department visits. The group has been meeting for some time, and is nearing the next phase of work: implementation. With this highly anticipated phase so close on the horizon, they could’ve decided to launch into action; instead, they took the time to convene the entire group and engage in one more thorough discussion. They invited another group that had gone through a similar process, Bridges to Care, to share lessons from their own experiences. Retreat attendees reflected on the well-developed aspects of the project and reinforced their mutual trust and individual preparation. The strengthened bonds between group members will be key as they move forward confidently into implementation.
I have no doubt that my to-do lists will continue to spill over from one day to the next. However, it makes it a lot easier knowing that the time I commit to this important work always pays off. And soon enough, we will be “falling back” for Daylight Savings and I’ll get my precious hour back.