Tune out the social media and online distractions
Social media, email, and having the whole online world at our fingertips via our phones and devices can be really fun – and a really huge time drain. IN fact, most people check their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or other social media accounts every 5-10 minutes on average, accounting for 1-3 hours per day! Add to that incessant pinging from texts, responding to every email the moment it hits your inbox, and phone calls, and you’re looking at a time Black Hole. The Institute of Psychiatry at the University of London found that a person’s IQ actually falls 10 points when they’re overly stimulated by emails, texts, and phone calls – which is bad for time management, and therefore the enemy of productivity.
Assign times slots to things
When people try to get more efficient by organizing their calendar, they usually do a terrific job writing down start dates and times for their work tasks, including meetings with staff, trainings, marketing time, and patient/client/customer interactions. But have you noticed that we rarely schedule an END time to those appointments? It’s just assumed that the time you have for that tasks is open ended until your next appointment, but expert time managers track how long things realistically take and set specific end times, too, keeping them focused and efficient throughout their day.
Take time to plan and prepare
You don’t begin a race at the start line, you begin with months and years of training and practice and improvement. The same should be true of your chiropractic practice, as a little time planning and preparing for your business will yield huge fruit when it comes time to actually implement it. Some people call this working ON your business, not working IN your business, but either way, every ten minutes you spend getting organized, prepared, and planning will probably save you twenty minutes during execution.
Schedule down time
Run, run, run, go, go, go, do, do, do…then repeat. Does that sound familiar – like maybe your weekly schedule as long as you can remember? But the most successful, wealthy, and accomplished people always make sure to schedule time to do absolutely nothing but have fun, do whatever they feel like, follow their passions, and recharge their batteries.
Schedule important activities for your peak time of day
Are you a morning person, with the highest energy and clear focus in the early AM working hours? Or do you get your best work done at night, when everyone else is winding down? There is no right answer because every person is different, so it’s important to schedule your calendar and tasks according to your high-energy, clear-headed periods of the day or night. BY doing so you’ll see a bump in production and time efficiency.
If you really want to manage your time well, you’ll stop thinking that you ARE your practice and instead running it like a well-oiled machine where you are the major contributor, but not the only contributor. Investing time and energy into finding and hiring the right CAs, office and admin staff and even vetting for the right vendors and support services always pays off in multiples with time saved once they are all integrated into your practice.
Of course, finding the right people is great, but you should always allocate sufficient time to train them, and then advance their education and training on a regular basis. And guess what? This includes you, who should be a voracious consumer of education, training, self-help and development, and even positive thinking resources. Schedule these things instead of treating them as an after-thought and you’ll see productivity rise while your time investment stays level or even declines.
And now that you have all of these wonderful CAs, admins and staff in place, why not utilize them to their potential? Everyone should have a clearly defined role and tasks, and like any good system, it will create symmetry when that is clear – and save everyone time. A good way to approach this is to determine your own realistic dollar-per-hour value doing what you do best – seeing patients. Let’s say that number is $250 an hour, just to throw out a number (your value is probably much higher!). Any and all tasks that fall well short of $250 an hour should be delegated to your staff!
But wont you have a mutiny on your hands as your staff becomes more loaded with responsibility? Not at all, as they will actually appreciate you trusting them with more important tasks and keeping their schedule tight, especially considering that research by Microsoft has found that most workers used only about 60% of their available work time. (That means for a typical five-day workweek, employees are only productive three of those days!)
Stick to the 80/20 rule for even better time management
Have you ever heard of the Pareto Principle? Basically, it says that 80% of our results come from just 20% of our activities or effort, and conversely, 80% of our time is spent on things that only generate 20% of our results. Once you realize this and start tracking where your best results (80%) come from (20% of your activities and effort), then it’s fairly simple to prioritize and load up your day with the those things and downgrade the rest, improving your time efficiency – and profits – dramatically.