Perhaps one of the greatest struggles for a busy practice manager is how to manage one’s time effectively. See our top tips below, and let us know your own tricks and tips in the comments box!
Plot Your Day
Whether you use calendar software or good old pen and paper, make sure your day and week has a shape to it and a set of tasks to tick off each day, preferably in chronological order. Roughly plot out the hours of your day and assign time slots to each task, though make sure they’re realistic (see below). Skipping lunch could be mistaken for a smart time management move, but don’t be fooled. Sticking an hour in the middle of your day where you know you’ll be out of the office (ideally) is a great way to make sure morning tasks neatly conclude before the afternoon jobs commence. Plus, you’ll come back refreshed and energised for the second half of the day.
Build Time Buffers
One of the key failings in good time management is overlooking the fact that, in a day, you will be interrupted and taken away from your immediate tasks. Especially as a practice manager! Be realistic about how long each task will take you based on the patterns in your normal work day. If doing a stock take or paying your stationery invoices should take you an hour uninterrupted, allow yourself at least half an hour extra – more if you think it’s appropriate.
Sometimes replying instantly to an email will only pull you into a lengthy exchange that could be sorted swiftly by picking up the phone. We suggest you run your emails through the four D’s test before doing anything with them, and only log into your emails at set times during the day so you stay on track with other jobs.
- Delete: a vast proportion of emails you receive daily can probably be deleted immediately. Unsubscribe from mailing lists if need be, or flag them as junk or spam.
- Do: if it’s an urgent email, you may need to respond there and then.
- Delegate: pass the job on if someone else can action or respond on your behalf.
- Defer: put time aside later in the day or week if this needs attention but can wait. You can flag your emails with alerts to remind you to come back to them at a later date.