Do you ever reach the end of a day and realize you didn’t get done any of the things you had on your list? Does your lunch hour get stolen to deal with emergencies? Do you have to stay after production hours to try and catch up things, and then miss out on seeing your kids before bed? Do you usually have to add the undone or half-done tasks from today’s to-do-list to tomorrow’s to do list?
If yes to any of the above, maybe you have a few Time Vampires in your practice stressing you. These can be systems and structure that are missing, or it can be a person. Let’s go over these and see how to regain control over your time and reduce your stress levels.
Dracula the Vampire
Maybe their name isn’t Dracula in your practice, but you may have someone who chews up your time and pulls you into their vortex of confusions and they need constant attention and sorting out. You also may have the urge or need to double check everything they do because you just KNOW they are going to forget to do something (big or small) or do something they weren’t supposed to.
Systems, structure and protocols
Don’t despair, Dracula may be able to be straightened out as it often a situation of lack of training and apprenticeship until you are certain that they always do the correct actions. Throwing a new staff member onto the job and expecting things to run smoothly is not a good business move. Even if they have 20 years experience when you hire them, they have not worked in YOUR practice and are not grooved in on the way YOU want things done.
Having fully documented Mission Statements, job descriptions, policy manual and protocols for your practice so your team can be trained on doing things in the correct and same way for consistency can be a Vampire Slayer.
Whenever possible, have an overlap of the person leaving the job and the person taking over to allow for apprenticeships to ensure that the new person knows EXACTLY how things are done in your practice. Where it is just not possible, having a very complete job description is super valuable.
By getting your staff trained on written materials and then fully apprenticed, you can save time when they interrupt you to ask a question by referring them to the protocols. If you do this a few times, you will find that they stop coming to you and just look it up. This will give you a stress-free zone to get your own work done in.
What About You
Do you ever start going in one direction or start working on something and then abandon that and go off onto something else? This is a classic time vampire. For instance, you are writing a job description and you suddenly start to wonder where Dracula put the inventory list. Do not let that thought pull you off what you are doing to go and look. Just jot down a note to check later, and then finish the job description. You need to complete each action that you start. Having a bunch of incomplete actions sucking up your time will stress you and slow you down.
This is one of the biggest time vampires there is. You are apparently working on one thing but your mind is on another and so neither one gets your undivided attention and therefore neither gets done perfectly and sometimes things need to be redone. You can start to feel like you have too many things on your plate because of all the incomplete tasks and this will slow you down.
If you fully confront and focus on the task at hand and get it fully completed before taking the next task on, you will move faster and feel more in control. Write down a list of these tasks that need to be done, and then do them in order of priority; and do one at a time till completely 100% finished. THEN, take on the next task. You will find yourself gaining speed and feeling more competent and proud of yourself for what you are accomplishing.