Read our tips below which we hope will help you to get into ‘purpose, planning and getting important stuff done’ mode!
Stop “I’ll just quickly do it’
Firefighting often happens because the person who was supposed to carry out the task has made a mistake and the manager or practice owner says ‘I’ll just quickly do it’ and drops everything to resolve the problem. You need to catch yourself doing this and get to the root of the cause so that you can fix it for the long-term. If you keep doing ‘I’ll just quickly do it’ you may as well add that task onto your job board forever.
Why did the mistake occur?
Did the person not know what was expected? (Do you have a process in place?)
Did the person not know they were doing it incorrectly? (Have you explained the process and checked understanding?)
Is the person not able to carry out the process? (Have you provided sufficient training?)
Take time to put processes in place, explain the processes and provide any training required. If you have done all this (properly) and things are still going wrong, then you might need to face the fact that you have the wrong person and take action QUICKLY.
Stop being the hero
If you are mostly in the reactive zone, you probably gain ‘hero status’ quite frequently! You’re the hero who put the fire out! This can be satisfying but it takes you away from the proactive zone you need to be in to develop your business and have the life you want. The exhilaration of putting the fire out is short-lived because when you get to the end of the day you realise all your important projects are still untouched.
Try the following to reduce firefighting:
New technology. How much time are your slow computer systems costing you to resolve glitches, reboot etc? Does your practice management software system still serve your needs? (Or if you don’t have one, would that solve some of your firefighting issues?) Would having a dictaphone or tablets in every room help everyone keep up with notes? What technology do you need to introduce or replace?
Better processes. Review your processes for things that are not working. As an example you might need to put better payment systems in place; get invoices to insurers on time and in the right way; get accounts done monthly rather than firefighting at the end of the tax year; have an induction programme for new starters; regular 1-2-1s and team meetings; a marketing plan in place to avoid feast and famine; better communication system for patients to reduce cancellations / drop offs… What processes do you need to change or implement?
Better people. Get the right team around you. You are not the right person to be doing absolutely everything. You do not need to do it all yourself. It is costing time, energy and money by not reaching out for help. You might think you can’t afford it but the better question is ‘can you afford not to?’. Who do you need around you?
Get out of your own way
Challenge your beliefs – why do you think you have to do everything?
Think about all the time you spend on admin tasks, the majority of which you could probably get someone else to do, saving you time. The cost of an administrator or virtual assistant ranges between around £10 and £35 per hour – what would you generate seeing patients in an hour rather than doing admin? Or how could you use the saved time more productively? That productivity could even be just relaxing! How often do you find yourself working into the night? I am guessing you don’t do that for pleasure!
Ring-fence time ruthlessly
Make sure you schedule time into your diary to do the not urgent but important things and be ruthless about it. Time to work on the business is usually the first to be squeezed when something else crops up. Treat your business like your most important patient. You wouldn’t cancel a patient unless you had an extremely good reason, respect time to work on your business in the same way.
You need to be at your best to give your best so be ruthless about the time for self-care too.