Wednesday 13th Feb 2013 - Kate Hodkinson
As the role of the practice manager grows and resources become more scarce, now is the time for everyone to focus on being as efficient and as effective as they can with the time they have available.
People are different – the ways in which they think, respond, work and plan are all unique and with that should go a unique way of managing time and workload. There is not one set of rules but many different things that you can pick and choose from. This article will focus on some suggestions that may work for you but is by no means an exhaustive list of all the techniques available.
You can’t begin to start managing anything any better until you know what is happening now. Every attempt to manage time more effectively needs to start with some baseline analysis:
Start with carrying out a time log to see what you are doing now looking at issues such as how much time you spend on planned activities, your patterns of interruptions and, most crucially, how much of your time are you in control of. There is no point in trying to control the uncontrollable!
A diary can be much more than a mere record of meetings and places to be. A diary, whether paper or electronic, can help you keep control of your day to day workload and help you plan for unexpected and unplanned events by being a constant record of what you have to achieve. Always remember – every task you choose to do takes time, and time can only be used once. Making a phone call can be scheduled into your diary as once that time has been used, it’s gone.
Key tips for diary management:
How many times do we think that everything would be marvellous without other people?
The role of the practice manager incorporates responding to crises and unexpected events. The key lies in remaining in control where possible – especially of other people.
Don’t allow yourself to be interrupted when it is not necessary. A jammed printer is not a crisis that the manager should be resolving! Be wary of people sneaking interruptions upon you – avoid being stopped at the kettle, in the corridor or coming out of the loo. Make an excuse to talk on your terms:
To get more control over your own time consider some of the following points:
One of the biggest time stealers in modern working life is also one of the most vital things available to us. THE INTERNET – available right in front of you, 24 hours a day with more sources of information than you could read in a lifetime. Think carefully about how productively you use it.
All of these and many more tips and hints are covered in the Thornfields workshop Time Management for Practice Managers. If you, and your local groups of managers think you could benefit from a new approach to managing your workload, contact us for details of the programme.