You say to yourself as you head toward the practice, “It’s going to be a great day today.” You are trying to pump yourself up to survive another day.
You walk into reception and the first thing you are hit with is that one of the staff is ill and not there. A patient or client is early and waiting already. There are a stack of new messages on your desk that need a return call. You remember that you forgot to make a payment at the bank yesterday so you have to fit that into your schedule today. And you hear from your staff that there are already 3 cancellations for the day. Oh joy.
You are already stressed and you haven’t even started your production for the day. And you think to yourself, if I just work really hard and buckle down and go faster, I can get everything done. But, as someone texted me recently, “I meant to call you yesterday … and then it was night.” And so you start your next day behind the eight ball with yesterday’s “not dones” stacked up in front of today’s work.
This is called cope. And you can feel exhausted and drive yourself down to apathy through continually coping and feeling like you are not making any progress.
What is the answer?
It consists of coping (which you are already doing magnificently) but also organizing at the same time little by little. This means working out systems and structure to properly handle the traffic that is hitting your plate so eventually it won’t happen.
- The reason you have a team is that they are there to take the overload off you so you can get on with being the provider of the service. Therefore, having the right amount of staff is the first consideration.
- Next is training each one to know their job inside out. Every time something hits your plate that could or should have been handled by your staff, take a couple of minutes to train the person on it so that it never floats up to you again. This may seem like it is slowing you down and it is, but only this time and then it should never happen again.
- Cross training your staff and/or having substitute staff you can call in when there is an absentee staff member is part of organizing so you don’t have days where you are short handed.
- Putting in systems bit by bit for handling various situations, such as what to do when there are cancellations or emergencies, will prevent staff from having to bother you with that small stuff. Instead of being presented with a problem like, “There are 3 cancellations, what do we do?” you probably won’t hear about those at all because they know how to use a short list and fill in those openings.
- You also may need to get better at delegating, training and trusting your team to do more for you. Fear that they will make a mistake if you let them do certain important tasks can be overcome by proper training and apprenticeship on those tasks.
- Some professionals have reached a very high level of production and have earned themselves a personal assistant who can take a million personal and business matters off their plate. You should see the stress go down from that simple solution. It allows the doctor to produce more (with less stress) and so the salary of a personal assistant is more than covered.
- Having a very thorough policy manual and up-to-date job descriptions can help create a very smoothly running practice as well and make it easy for new staff to grab the reins and integrate quickly.
Stress Free Zone
Working on the points above will eventually turn your practice into a Stress Free Zone where you and your team can enjoy a high level of production without stress and drama.
For systems and structure to make your life easier
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