Do you find there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done? Emma Sillars, regional support manager at Practice Plan, shares her top time-management tips to help you squeeze the most out of your day.
A common complaint that I hear when I am out and about visiting my customers is that they simply don’t have enough time in their days to get everything done. So I use my own experience of organising my time to help practices find effective solutions for managing theirs. Here’s the best of tried and tested methods to top-notch time management.
Make sure your work area is tidy and that you have everything you need to work effectively. Gather together any stationery you will need, as well as your phone, diary, etc.
Make a ‘to-do’ list
Take the first five-10 minutes of your day to make a plan. This takes the pressure off you to remember everything and having a plan of action makes you feel calmer and in control. Your list could be a fancy electronic spreadsheet or even a good old written one – just be sure to pick whichever method works best for you.
Once you have your list, prioritise the tasks. This method is said to have been used by Dwight D Eisenhower, so if it is good enough for an American president, it’s good enough for us. Divide your tasks into four categories, which you then tackle in order:
- Urgent and important
- Urgent and not important
- Not urgent and important
- Not urgent and not important.
Set aside several chunks of time during the day to deal with emails. To help you decide which ones require your action, and when, categorise them into the four Ds:
- Delete: remove anything straight away that does not need to be kept
- Do: action any emails that are urgent or quick to complete
- Delegate: pass on any emails that can be better handled by someone else
- Defer: add it to your ‘to-do’ list in the appropriate category.
Don’t be afraid to protect your time by asking colleagues not to disturb you and keep distractions to a minimum. Remember, you don’t have to answer the phone every time it rings or respond instantly to every email that lands in your inbox.
Take a break
Having a lunch break when you are up to your eyeballs in work may seem counterproductive, but time away from your desk can help you to re-energise, re-focus and improve your overall productivity.
Your personality can affect your time management. Procrastination and perfectionism can both be time wasters. If you are a procrastinator, try to work out the times when you are most productive and tackle the most demanding jobs during these times. If you are a perfectionist, remember that the ‘best is the enemy of the good’ – try and identify where ‘good’ is good enough.
Practice Plan is a specialist provider of practice-branded patient membership plans and an increasingly significant source of wider business support services for dentistry. So, whether you’re planning a conversion from the NHS, introducing a dental plan into an established practice or looking to change from another plan provider, Practice Plan can help you take your practice where you want it to go.
To find out more about how Practice Plan could help you make a greater success of your practice, visit www.practiceplan.co.uk or call 01691 684120.