How is it that some people accomplish so much more than others? In most cases, those who accomplish the most are just more effective and more efficient than others. Truly efficient people place a high value on their time and do not waste it. Here’s a three-step process to creating higher efficiency in your own schedule. Here are three easy steps to reduce unproductive time in your practice.
1. Track Unproductive Minutes
If your patient schedule regularly has openings (whether they were never filled or are due to cancellations or no-shows), begin a month-long exercise to track how much time you are scheduled to see patients, but end up wasting time due to unplanned short periods of time that are relatively unproductive. Total your unproductive minutes each day and calculate the average number of unproductive minutes per day at the end of the month.
2. Adjust Patient Care Minutes
Next, adjust your schedule to have fewer patient care minutes (reduced by the average number of unproductive minutes per day from your month-long exercise). If many of the openings are due to same day cancellations or no-shows, investigate and address the reasons behind that, but also consider keeping your number of exam slots at or near the same number as before – just over a shorter period of time.
3. Create a Planned Block of Time for Your Office “Chores”
Now that your time dedicated to patient care is less, add a single block of time dedicated to getting something else done that is meaningful, such as working on marketing/ promotional activities to help create a need for more patient care time. Likewise, make a list of tasks your staff can accomplish during this planned block of time without patients such as following up on late deliveries, checking inventory, cleaning equipment, etc.
In addition to getting more done each day and becoming even more successful, you should see these benefits as well:
- Being busy at a consistent, but comfortable pace leads to a rhythm that promotes productivity. When you’re seeing patients, everyone should be consistently busy.
- Being consistently busy reduces the tendency for staff to engage in activities that are not work-related (checking their phone, surfing the internet, etc).
- There’s now a time dedicated to completing those tasks that just never seem to get done for both you and your staff.
- The workday seems to go quicker – everyone in your business will enjoy that.