But with some conscious planning, organization, and honest self-analysis, we can all manage our time better, freeing up more much-needed free time AND getting better results in our practice.
Here are 15 tips to help you better manage your time:
1. Analyze Your Current Time Use
Just like carefully recording every single dollar you spend when you’re trying to budget, take a few weeks to account for and analyze your daily time usage. Carry a small notebook or document your time expenditures on your phone (there are also great free time-usage apps).
2. Classify and analyze
Once you have an accurate picture of how each and every moment is used during your typical day, go through and add up each time, including little things like lunches, errands, driving time, and all of the work tasks you perform, no matter how menial. List them all by total time allocated per week and I guarantee you’ll be shocked!
3. Put a Dollar Value On Your Time
Monetizing the value of your time is an incredibly powerful step in this process. As a chiropractor, how much is each hour of your workday worth? $100? $200? $400? Don’t value your time based on speculation but based on the number of hours you work each week in relation to your net personal income. Once you have this baseline number, you’ll forever view your time as a certain dollar figure – and de-prioritize, delegate, or out-source any tasks that fall below that line.
Now, on a separate spreadsheet or list, write down how much income you’d actually like to earn. Break this number down per day and hour and see how much your time needs to be worth – how much you generate for the practice, then gross and net for you, personally, in order to reach that goal.
4. “Code” your activities and prioritize
Take the list you made of your time per week broken down into chunks (step #2) and then go through and put it in order of priority for generating income for your practice. You’ll probably find that some tasks or actions take up a lot of time but aren’t necessarily income-generating priorities. Circle those in red pen because those are the things we’re going to fix!
You should also assign each of these classifications a dollar value based on the income they generate. (Notice that this is all about results and the bottom line!) If these items fall below the time-value of your hour we determined before (and the value you would like to achieve per hour) then we’re going to reallocate your schedule accordingly.
5. Make wise use of down time
Now that you’re tracking how you spend your time, take note of the wasted “black holes” in your schedule – like in the car during commutes, canceled or late patient appointments, etc. Make great use of that time by having audio books prepared in your car, a call sheet to network (hands-free while driving, please) and other important tasks that can be picked up on the fly.
6. Don’t multitask
In our super busy days, it may be tempting to kill two (or three or four!) birds with one stone, so to speak, by multitasking. However, multitasking has been proven to actually cost you more time in the long run and diminish your effectiveness at completing any task correctly. In fact, the Psychonomic Bulletin and Review showed that only about 2.5% of people are able to effectively multi-task and still function correctly.
Look for part two of this blog, when we cover the next 9 items on our list of 15 time management tips that will completely reenergize your practice – and your life!