🔠 A Mnemonic to Elevate Your Productivity


This week during rounds, I want to share a mnemonic📖.

As we've alluded to for the past several weeks, these summer months are a very transformative time for many in medicine☀️.

New interns are starting residency🩺. Some medical students are starting audition rotations on their road to residency🛣️. And even more students are matriculating into medical school🥼!

With all of these changes and transitions comes new challenges and larger workloads😅. So what's the mnemonic that will help us prioritize and keep our ducks in a row?🦆


RTL stands for Run The List. I was first introduced to the idea of RTL during my trauma surgery rotation as an emergency medicine intern, when every day at 5:00am and multiple times per day, we would run the list of all of our active patients and what tests were pending📃.

The trauma surgery team would gather, go through each patient on our physical list, revise and re-prioritize, and then disperse to get things done🫡.

As tiring and annoying as this was at first, within a few weeks I began to see the value in it🧐.

Often times when we are assigned a task, whether it's one that is particularly interesting or challenging to us, we can get caught up in minutia or lose sight of other tasks or the overall goal👎🏻. By setting aside time to run the list, we can get a 20,000 foot view of what needs to be accomplished, why and when it needs to happen, and get back on track to achieve it🛤️.

For a medical student, this might mean running the list of assignments that are due or exams to study for and organizing them in order of what is coming up earliest on the schedule📆.

For a newly minted first-year resident, this could be running through my pre-residency checklist to make sure they have everything set up before diving into intern year🏥.

As we step into a new chapter in our education or career, the tasks we have to complete can seem daunting😨. However, by being mindful of the big picture and running the list, we can ensure that our tasks are always completed sensibly, efficiently, and at a high quality☑️.

🪛 My favorite productivity tool: I run the list daily with my Rico Bello weekly planner. It keeps me on track and has taken my productivity to a whole other level.

💡A blank canvas: Sometimes I need to see all of my tasks on a big list in front of me, and this Post-it Easel Pad is always hanging in my closet waiting to make it happen.

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