Keys to Your Practice: October 2013
By Angelo Santin
Do you feel like there isn’t enough time in your day to get things accomplished?
Do you feel like there isn’t enough time in your day to get things accomplished? Do you feel like you are juggling multiple tasks in order to get things done? If there was a way you could get more done in less time and be more productive, would you want to know about it?
Browsing through short articles on Flipboard (a mobile app I love that brings all the news into one place), I’ve come across a number of titles encouraging multitasking and proper time management. I’m sure you have heard these words thrown around before and may have even implemented some of them as well. I can now strongly say that I have disdain for both of these subjects, and I will argue that to get more done we should not multitask but monotask (do one thing well). Let’s take a look at some of the things that chew up your time and focus throughout the day.
Yes that’s right, you. You are your own worst enemy when it comes to sabotaging your plan to get things done. Without a clear goal for the day you will do things that fill up your time that seem productive but are really just time wasters. Here are a few examples: answering e-mails, surfing the web, tedious conversations and meetings, and being on your phone excessively.
Being a micromanager is another way to waste time. This can and will take up more time than you can imagine. Not empowering your staff to do more leaves all the smaller decisions and tasks with you, which will take you off focus and waste your time.
Lack of focus
If you do not start your day with a clear goal on what you want to accomplish, it will lead you to do other non-productive activities. How can you stay on target? One way is to write on a small piece of paper (no bigger than a Post-it note) the top two things that you need to get done and focus on those things. I would recommend that you do this at the beginning of your day, and even share it with your team at the start of the workday, so they know what you are doing.
Starting and stopping activities can waste time and affect your concentration. Mentally and physically, it takes time to set up tasks. It is, therefore, imperative that you continue the task through to its completion. Research has proven that it can take up to 45 minutes to mentally resume a task that has been interrupted. Upwards of 28 per cent of a regular nine-to-five workday is consumed by such interruptions. Take a moment to reflect on some of the interruptions you encounter in the office on a regular basis. Some examples may include constant, minor conversations either during treatment or paperwork times, or having to switch back and forth between adjustment visits and other office visits (new patients, reports and re-exams). This can be mentally exhausting and inefficient. It would be a good idea to cluster or batch certain types of office visits. For example, set aside a particular time to see new patients, and complete reports and re-examinations, and allocate a separate time for adjustment visits only. This will keep your focus tuned for a certain task and allow you to be more effective.
Step away from your phone
Perhaps most distracting are the constant interruptions from technology. Consider answering your e-mails only twice a day (e.g., 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.). Try leaving a message at the bottom of your e-mails to let everyone know you are not glued to your computer or phone all the time. Turn off your e-mail notifications and other notifications that cause your smartphone to make an alert sound, as this can be a distraction.
Don’t forget another great strategy is to have your staff manage most of your e-mails as this can completely remove the minutiae of answering e-mails right off your plate.
These suggestions can be timesavers and practice builders. They will free up time for you to keep focused and accomplish more. It’s time to stop being efficient – which by definition means doing lots of things economically – and in turn start to be more effective. Being effective means only doing things that get you closer to your goals – you know, the ones you are now going to have on that sticky in front of you.
Remember, when it comes to your practice, work from the inside out.
Angelo Santin, DC, operates a busy subluxation-based family practice in Thunder Bay, Ont., and is president of the Thunder Bay Chiropractic Society. Dr. Santin is also a Carter Universal proficiency-rated chiropractic coach. He can be reached at email@example.com or 807-344-4606.