Something I (very) often hear people who work in healthcare businesses complain of, is the amount of time it takes to do everything, and that they just don’t seem to have the time needed to get everything done.
Sound familiar?If you work on the administrative team, you are so busy you barely have time to answer the phones and do your accounts receivables. If you're the clinic owner, you’re with patients 30 hours a week and only left with 10 hours a week to work on your business and pick up all the other pieces in the clinic as well.
Trust me, I KNOW busy!
On the business side:
- I run CSC, an eCommerce business that is growing 70% annually
- I own 2 physiotherapy clinics in Alberta
- I help clinic owners with the Canadian Physiotherapy Association
- I have a consulting business where I help clinic owners with marketing
- I own a software business that helps businesses answer more calls
On the personal side:
- I just recently moved back to Victoria
- We had a baby, well, Kylie, our baby girl is now 18 months old and still isn't sleeping through the night!
Like I said, I KNOW busy!
In this post, I’m going to show you:
- Exactly how I organize my day to get so much done
- How to focus business to the right places
- Effective time saving hacks to help you get more done in less time
Ready? Let’s go.
Start with the Thinking StuffI'm a big fan of the book The Magic of Thinking Big because it teaches us this lesson: Capacity is a state of mind.
How much we can do depends on how much we think we can do. When you really believe you can do more, your mind thinks creatively and shows you the way.
Think about it for a minute: Does one clinic owner or receptionist have more time than another?
Last time I checked we all have the same 24 hours in a day where sleep and work related things make up 75% of our day.
What makes one clinic owner more successful than another? It's definitely not because one has more time. That clinic owner over there who is more successful than you has the same 24 hours in the day.
What makes one employee get the promotion to be an office manager compared to someone else? It's also not because she/he has more time.
The reality is: we all have the same amount of time.
Really, what we’re faced with here is, people who are more successful ask: HOW CAN I DO MORE?
The answer could be any number of things - better planning and organization of your present work, taking shortcuts with routine activities, or possibly dropping nonessential activities altogether.
The author of The Magic of Thinking Big says this:
"If you want it done, give it to a busy man. I refuse to work on important projects with persons who have lots of free time. I have learned from painful, expensive experience that the fellow who has plenty of time makes an ineffective work partner.
All the successful, competent people I know are busy. When I start something, some project, with them, I know it will be satisfactorily completed. I have learned in dozens of instances that I can count on a busy man to deliver. Progressive business management constantly asks, "What can we do to expand output?" Why not ask yourself, 'What can I do to expand my output?’"If you ask the question, your mind will creatively show you how to do it.
Think about this. If you want that promotion, the higher income, or that second location. What can you do to expand your output if you have only 24 hours in a day?
7 Time Saving Hacks to Elevate your Healthcare Career
1) Batch your work.
Our brains are not good at multi tasking. They are designed to do one thing, at one time, with optimum focus.
Instead of trying to multitask, which is less efficient and lowers your work quality, try batching your work.
Don’t fill your work day with small tasks all mixed together, try to group similar tasks together and do them at once. As ZenHabits says, “instead of responding to emails throughout the day, batch them and do all your emails once (or twice) a day. Do all your paperwork at once. Make all phone calls in one batch. Do all errands at once. This grouping of tasks saves a lot of time and allows you to focus better on the important tasks.”This includes not checking email constantly, which inevitably leaves you dealing with manufactured emergencies or firefighting activities. Usually people can wait for email. If it’s really that important, they will call or text you. These types of nonsensical habits, among others, are just a waste of your valuable time.
I especially like batching and block time to do the BIG ROCKS first. The big rocks are the activities that will grow your clinic or the bigger tasks that get pushed back from week to week because we never have time to do it. It's usually these BIG ROCKS that make the biggest difference, that is when we make the time to get them done.
2) Embrace technology and tools.Obviously I love technology and tools. Why?
Because they save time, and enhance productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness.
For example, a headset at every healthcare clinic is a MUST.
Imagine this. What is every missed call or unbooked new patient opportunity worth to you? In my experience of owning physiotherapy or chiropractic clinics, every new patient is worth at least $500 and over a lifetime they are worth at least $2000.
A headset is a more productive way to ensure the phone is always answered. It’s a piece of technology that improves your business and helps you answer more calls. I recommend this headset and it has great reviews.
Here are some of my favorite tools and technologies that I personally use to save tons of time.
Fivver - I use this for small projects. They do everything including logos, websites, letters, graphics, audio, advertising materials, you name it, Fivver probably does it. And all at the low cost of $5.
99designs - I use it for big projects. For example, the service is great for launching a website or creating a design that you want to be 100% satisfied with.
Evernote - I use this to keep track of notes, meetings and thoughts. I have a built in labeling system so I can always find my notes. The beautiful thing is it syncs across all platforms like your phones, desktop, laptops, and tablets. You can also use this with teams to keep track of projects or ideas.
Boomerang Mail - an app for Gmail that helps you take control of sending and receiving messages - write and schedule emails, get a reminder if you don’t hear back, and more. For example, say I have a great idea on Saturday night but I don't want to email my team, I can use boomerang to send it to my team on Tuesday. I don’t have to think about it again. I can get it done while it’s hot on my mind, then it’s already dealt with so doesn’t consume any more of my mental capacity (or time).
Google docs and Google sheets - this is my favorite tool and best of all Google tools are free to use. They allow you to share with your teams and collaborate more effectively. Not to mention being able to store all your important documents in the cloud where they are easily accessible from any device. Yep, say goodbye to big spreadsheets or word documents being sent by email. Write them all in Google docs and share the link with people instead.
Audible - big for time saving. I'm big on books and learning but I don't have time to actually sit down and read. With audible, I can access audio books and listen to my favorite leadership or business books while I run, drive, or do household chores.
3) Embrace the 80/20 rule.
Brian Tracy says ask yourself this question: “Is this task in the top 20% of my activities or in the bottom 80%?”
The 80/20 rule suggests that just 20% of your activity accounts for 80% of your results. So what is your 20%?
Brian Tracy also says: “The most valuable tasks you can do each day are often the hardest and most complex.” Those BIG ROCKS I mentioned back at #1. The tasks that you keep avoiding because of their time and complexity. But, the ones that will make the biggest difference.
What are those handful of things you need to do (the 20%) that will give you 80% of the results?
Brian Tracy’s 80/20 Action Exercise:
“Make a list of all the key goals, activities, projects and responsibilities in your life today. Which of them are, or could be, in the top 10% or 20% of tasks that represent, or could represent, 80% or 90% of your results?
Resolve today that you are going to spend more and more of your time working in those few areas that can really make a difference in your life and career, and less and less time on lower value activities.”
4) Simplify your workflows.
What can you do to automate your business workflows so everything is more efficient and takes less time and manual effort to do it?
A good example is how you buy your monthly clinic supplies.Most healthcare clinics spend an average of 5 hours or more each month ordering supplies. Sure, you can save a bit of money if you spend the time to research and look for the lowest prices from various suppliers. But at the end of the day, are the cost savings really worth the extra time and effort? Time that could be better spent elsewhere.
Let’s look at an example:
- The average monthly spend for supplies is $528.
- The average number of suppliers is 5.
- The average monthly time spent on orders is 6 hours.
- The average estimated cost of doing those orders is $450.
As you can see, the numbers don’t really add up.
Maybe you’re thinking, I'm not spending 5 hours each month on ordering supplies?
I bet you (or your team) are. Do this exercise.
Add up the hours you or your admin team spend on the following:
- Flipping catalogues
- Doing online price comparisons
- Visiting big box retailers
- Writing cheques for multiple invoices or checking out multiple places with visa
- Adding accounting entries for multiple suppliers
- Placing orders at 5 different places
- Tracking the orders from 5 different places
- Learning and dealing with return and exchanges policies from different places
If you're on the admin team, you could be spending your time far more productively, on activities that grow the clinics revenue - answering more phone calls, patient follow up, winback calls and so forth. These activities are much more important than the long list of time wasting activities listed above.
As the clinic owner, if you're the one doing the ordering yourself, what is your time worth? If your billable hourly rate is $180/hr, will saving 10% on your $500 supplies be worth your time?
Do the math and you will probably see that your time is not worth the supposed cost savings.
Instead, let's talk about how you can simplify your ordering workflow.
Instead of ordering from all those different suppliers, you consolidate your supplies and buy from one vendor who supplies everything - a vendor like Clinic Supplies Canada.
Buy all the supplies your clinic needs from one place: office supplies, physio supplies, massage supplies, chiro supplies, all brands of braces (bauerfeind, donjoy, medspec, bioskin, etc), resale products and even laundry detergent that costs less then 10 cents per load.
Consolidate all your ordering with Clinic Supplies Canada. Order everything from the one place. And you instantly simplify one workflow and free up tons of time and resources for you and your team.
That's just one example of simplifying a workflow to free up time.
5) Scrap Your TO DO List.
I stopped using a TO DO list because it just got so long that I couldn't prioritize what to do. I felt overwhelmed by it and it just demotivated me, stopped me doing anything at all.
I scrapped my TO DO list and embraced using my calendar instead. Now, I schedule my TO DO tasks and activities directly in my calendar in batches of time. If it’s important enough, I will schedule it on my calendar and I will make sure it gets done. If it doesn't get done, I just update my calendar and move it to another day.
Yes, this means schedule everything - phone calls, lunches, workouts, family time, email time, and so forth.
For example, if you work 30 hours a week in the clinic with patients from 8am to 2pm every day, you would block this off and schedule your TO DO around these times.
So Monday could look like this:
6am to 7am - Exercise
7am to 8am - Getting ready and family time
8am to 2pm - Clinical
2pm to 3pm - Call with Rick Lau on Google Adwords
3pm to 4pm - Review competitor websites and develop lead magnet
4pm to 5pm - Develop onboarding and training process for the front desk team
Using this method, you can schedule your TO DO weeks ahead of time and it helps keep you accountable. You can also use different color codes on your calendar to help separate business, personal, and family life.
6) Do things once and once only.If you set out to do a task, finish it so you don’t have to go back.
Sure, there may be big projects that require ongoing input over a week or more. That’s fine. Write yourself a note on what to work on next so when you sit down you know where to get started.
What I’m talking about here though, is not to leave things unfinished that are going to waste time.
Email is a good example of this. Have you heard of INBOX zero?
I only touch email once. If I read it, I will do something about it - answer, delete, delegate etc.
My inbox is really my only TO DO list. If an email is left unread, it means I need to do something about it. The goal of inbox zero is to have zero emails in your inbox. You don’t want to read an email, then leave it so you have to go back and deal with it later. This is double dipping and it’s a clear waste of time.
There are lots of tasks like this where you can deal with the thing you’re doing properly. And then you only have to deal with it once.
7) Eliminate your negative environment.
Eliminate negative energy. Nothing can drain your energy or ruin your day faster than individuals with negative energy. Dating someone who is negative about everything? Having a friend that dumps his or her sob story on you daily?
It may sound harsh but cut these ties. Don’t let negative individuals take time out of your day.
Going back to where it all begins - with the thinking stuff. Think positive. Think big. And take your career and life to the next level!