Are you finding it hard to focus when you get to clinic? Not getting basic tasks done each day? Are you coming in to clinic early and leaving late?
In my coaching sessions, time issues and time management come up quite frequently. Fact is, everyone has the same amount of hours in the day, what matters most is how effective you are with your time. Some try to fix a lack of productivity by getting up earlier and earlier, and going to bed later and later. This, as I’m sure you can imagine, is unsustainable and a recipe for burnout. I am a huge advocate for the benefits of sleep and I promise you there is a better way!
I have experimented with a notification-detox over some time to help maximise my productivity and am still finding my happy balance. It’s vital to eliminate these distractions during your working day and here’s how to do it.
Distractions may be costing you hours of valuable time every day, but are you aware of what these distractions are?
Research suggests that even a temporary shift from one task to another like answering a phone call while writing a blog post can decrease your effectiveness by as much as 25%. As a chiro-preneur you need to maintain a high level of consciousness in order to shift your full attention from one patient to the next, and from one task to the next, but is that sustainable or even fair on your brain all day long? What if I told you we could install a system to prevent the majority of these distractions and save you valuable time for other activities that could improve your work/life balance. I invite you to declutter your life, whether that’s digital distractions or physical – take action today and reap the rewards.
Uncover what your main distractions are that are costing you valuable time everyday. Once you’ve uncovered them, take action.
1. Get the notification monkey off your back. Our computers can be a major source of distraction. From email notifications, social media pings, text messages, Instagram, Twitter and so forth, it’s easy to jump back and forth between web pages and end up frittering your time away scanning through cat videos. Stop your computer from sending you push notifications and- my personal favourite- take a few minutes to set up your email so it only scans for new emails once every hour (or, like me, twice a day).
2. Turn off your personal mobile phone for an hour (or if this makes you sweat like you’re in the Sahara desert try for 30 minutes) and notice how you feel, and when you turn it back on whether you missed anything vital. See? Did all hell broke loose?!
If you are really against this – turn your phone onto aeroplane mode whilst you are focusing on a particular project or if you are at home – turn the wifi off so you can continue working on your laptop without the notifications pinging. If you need to find something online – write it in your notebook to check the facts or link later – just use this time to be creative and let the words and ideas flow.
3. Before beginning a new task ask yourself “Does this task help me move towards my goal of X? If the answer is no, save that task for outside of work.
4. One step at a time: Try completing one task at a time and notice whether this helps you complete your task list quicker then you normally would.
5. Write a task list for the day: Put the most important tasks at the top. Tick/cross out tasks once you complete them (whatever makes you happiest). Don’t forget to notice how much and how well you got things done by planning your day.
6. Stop. Admin time! Health care professionals have two professional time categories – patient time and paper time. Schedule regular ‘admin time’ which may include training, marketing, replying to emails, business meetings, updating your policies and procedures, and reviewing your business plan, creative brain storming etc. We recommend scheduling this time during quiet hours in clinic to avoid taking up valuable treatment slots where you could be earning. Remember, time = money.
7. Notice how many times your support/reception team interrupt you in clinic when you don’t have patients in your treatment room. Minimising these distractions by communicating your needs to your team will help with your collective productivity as you won’t constantly be interrupting each other.
8. Do you take a break? It might seem a foreign concept to think of break time as productive time, but it is important to have some time away from your computer or your notes. Scheduling regular breaks throughout the day will help you be more productive during your non-break time.
9. Tidy desk, tidy mind. It’s not called a desktop for nothing- if your physical desktop and your virtual desktop are covered in clutter, your brain is going to be constantly bombarded with visual information and reminders that will likely distract you or pull you away from the task at hand. Top tip: Try creating a “file and sort” folder on your desktop, so instead of dozens of files scattered about, you can neatly pop them away in that folder and sort them out during the admin time you freed up earlier. See how that works?!
It’s time to take action.
Spending a few minutes each day to prioritise your tasks and identify times in which you could complete them will help you retain your focus throughout the day.
Of course we can’t fail to mention the one thing you’re probably thinking- we tend to allow ourselves to get distracted if we don’t enjoy the tasks we have to do. Procrastination is a productivity killer, and we often procrastinate because we fail to appropriately plan and prepare for the tasks we have to do. If you’re looking for a simple guide that will help you break down larger tasks into their component parts and help you identify what you need to do in order complete that project, download our “Practical Goal Setting Matrix” here.
So now that you’ve conquered the distraction demon, all that’s left to ask is- what are you going to do with all your newly-acquired free time?!