As a Practice Management Consultant providing advice to clients, I have had numerous clients complain to me that they have “no time.” They often do not take time off for themselves or never have time to manage the practice while also being the practitioner. Or their spouse complains that they never see them.
Many different factors contribute to this: not having the right staff who are properly trained and can be relied upon to do their work accurately; not managing the schedule efficiently resulting in a lot of waiting (and wasted) time in the schedule; doing jobs they have no business doing and should be delegating; and so on.
While all of these issues can and should be handled with the proper management system in place, there are steps one can take immediately to improve their time management.
Breaking Down the Myth of “No Time”
There are 168 hours in a week. If you deduct the time you spend treating patients or talking to clients, marketing the practice, managing and training staff, meal times and sleep time—you will typically end up with around 10 to 20 hours—minimally—which are unaccounted for.
What you do with this time might be very valuable—time with the kids, church, volunteering—or it might be less important, like watching TV or playing on your mobile device. But there IS time. This is the first thing that can be established.
Now we can carve out some of that time for vital things. This could be some time just for you to do things you like to do to help you relax and be upbeat, or some time with your spouse to do the things you both like to do, or some time with the kids, or even some management time where you work ON the practice, not IN the practice and get it more efficient so it is not “all on your own shoulders.”
How to Profitably Use Your Time
Even if you designate only one hour per week for each of the above, you will find things markedly improving. The tricks are:
- Make it always the same day and at the same time for each function so it doesn’t fall out.
- When you spend time with your spouse or kids, give them your full, undivided attention. Turn off the phone, do not discuss work, do things which are fun, listen and communicate.
- Do not let anything or anyone interfere with these slots and try to put something else there. On the rare occasion when it is unavoidable, immediately schedule an alternate time for the function that had to be preempted.
- Use the management time to get things more organized.
- If you do this, you will end up like many of my clients who are able to work fewer hours, take more time off for vacations while yet maintaining steady growth and an increase in their bottom line.
What if You are Unable to More Efficiently Organize Your Time?
If you find that you are unable to organize your time better, you need the assistance of a practice management specialist. A specialist can provide that “exterior viewpoint” to spot things you may not be able to see. Our Sterling specialists do a detailed analysis to see where the practice can be more efficient and where income and new business are being lost. They then draw up a plan with the practice owner to remedy the points that need fixing.
Moreover, we also train practice owners in organizational basics so they can easily spot where they are deficient in time management and remedy it. So if you want to master time management and create your ideal practice, come to our next workshop or take our free online practice analysis and consultation.
Sterling Senior Practice Management Consultant