A client recently told me, “That sounds like a great idea, and I’m sure it will help my practice become more profitable. But, I’m just too busy to do it.”
I said in reply, “So, let me get this straight. You started this phone call by telling me that you were concerned about your low bank account. And, we’re both in agreement that what we just talked about is a good fit for your practice and that it will make you more money. But, you’re too busy to do it. Is that what you’re saying? You’re too busy to make more money?”
This practitioner’s enigma isn’t unique. We all feel like, “If there were just a few more hours in the day, I could finally tackle my practice-building to-do list.” It’s human nature. It’s also a law of nature that there are, and always will be, only 24 hours in the day. Given that, one of the tenets of practice building must center on, “how will you maximize your time, given that it’s finite?” always will be, only 24 hours in a day. Given that, one of the tenets of practice building must center on the following question: “How will you maximize your time, given that it’s finite?”
Learn to Devote Time to Building Your Practice
First, you need to realize that carving out time from your current schedule to do productive (key word here) practice-building work will not result in a loss of revenue, but only a minor—and I do mean very minor—delay in revenue. If you block out one hour per week to tackle your to-do list, patients who might have scheduled an appointment during that time will come, on average, one hour later. More importantly, as you work through your productive to-do list, which invariably has profit-generating items on it, you’ll eventually increase profitability as a result of getting things done.
Here are four other things that you can do in addition to dedicating devoted time to practice building.
- Create a “do-not-do list.” Every time you find yourself doing something that you either genuinely don’t like doing (which means you’ve probably procrastinated in getting it done) or worse, started-stopped a few times, wasting even more time, put it on this list.
If the task is essential and must be done, teach someone else how to do it. As the practice CEO, don’t be afraid to delegate. Yes, you are adding more work for other employees, but remember that there’s only one of you; and, if your role really is CEO, your time is better spent doing CEO-type activities.
- Check email only during certain pre-determined times during the day. Constantly checking email between patients is a surefire way to disrupt productivity. Instead, set aside one or two time periods during the day. If you find that an email string is more than three or four replies long, pick up the phone and wrap up the topic.
- Realize that every second you spend on “fun,” personal social media is one second less that you spend building your practice. While you don’t have to be “on the clock” every second you’re in the practice, social media can be a huge time hog that drains precious time from your finite 24-hour budget.
- Learn to say “no,” and learn to say it fast. “No, we won’t be open the day after Christmas,” or “No, we are going to stay with our current website provider for the rest of this year” might not always be the best answer. But, spending hours contemplating the hundreds of decisions you’ll have to make isn’t time well spent. As long as you get more right than wrong, your time clock will be ahead of the game.
Of course, you shouldn’t shoot from the hip for more important, bigger-picture decisions, but don’t make every decision a big-picture one. CLS