How to optimize your practice with time management

March 29th, 2021 by Jennie Moore 5 minutes read

How often do you find yourself saying there isn’t enough time in the day?

Chances are you can relate to the 95% of attendees who joined our webinar discussing how to optimize your practice with time management that wish they had more time!

With so many practice owners struggling with this topic, we wanted to share our top time-management tips in a short and actionable blog.

"If you don’t pay appropriate attention to what has your attention it will take more of your attention than it deserves." - David Allen

Speaking of time management, let’s get straight to the point and discuss the three important steps to help you focus, produce results and increase your overall happiness.

Step 1 - Setting Expectations

Managing your time bank requires you to set expectations to master your minutes. Micah Pratt, the Director of Business.org, says it best in her 5 tips to setting expectations:

  • Know your limits

  • Don’t over promise

  • Explain potential obstacles

  • Choose flexible deadlines

  • Maintain open communication

At this point some of you might be giving this blog an eye roll. Maybe you are thinking that it's impossible to set realistic expectations because so many individuals expect so much of you.

Here’s the secret. You can learn to say No! to protect your time bank.

Saying a flat out No! can feel awkward. But here’s the trick, it’s all in the delivery of your response and your ability to be confident and compassionate. These scripted responses have worked effectively for me as I’ve run my practice over the years. It's time I shared them with you.

Five Effective ways to say No!

1- That’s a great idea, but not a fit for our organization

2- Your idea sounds interesting. It would be better suited for…

3- Thanks for connecting with me with your offer. At the present time we don't’ have a need for such but will keep you in mind

4- I really admire your cause. Right now I’m already committed to another initiative

5- Have you thought about using this approach to solve your problem?

Step 2 - Effective Time Blocking

Time isn’t a renewable resource. Once time is spent, it is gone! You can always make more money, but you can’t create more time!

Treat time like money and with a time bank of only 24 hours a day, you are on a budget! Consciously exchange time for moments that matter. Your power to choose is how you will accomplish your goals, feel productive and discover peace and happiness.

"If you want to be more productive you need to become master of your minutes." - Crystal Paine

How are you going to use your time budget today?

Before you start spending, it helps to have a time-strategy in place. I’m big on goal setting, it helps me to determine what I am going to focus on and who gets part of my time budget.

Screen Shot 2021 03 29 at 11 15 12 am

If you are new to goal setting I recommend establishing three short term SMART goals to get started.

Some examples of a SMART goals are:

  • Acquire 10 new clients in the next six months with recurring revenue of $500 per month

  • Block four hours in my calendar to implement Practice Ignition by March 31st

  • Develop a client workflow template by April 30th to implement Karbon by May 31st

When it comes to time blocking I use a proactive rather than reactive approach to my caseload. For example, when client emergencies do pop up I have buffer time in my calendar to handle them. Beyond my calendar, I set expectations with my clients that their electronic communications will be responded to in 24-48 hours, Monday through Friday during a normal work week. Any requests that require further review are scheduled for completion the following week.

Five steps I take to when blocking time in my calendar:

  1. Create short term goals every 3 months using the Best Self journaling system

  2. Create actionable tasks to work towards accomplishing my goals and workflow tasks in Karbon

  3. Document, train and delegate work to employees when a task doesn’t align with my goal or workflow.

  4. Block non-negotiable time in my calendar to focus on my goals. Create a calendar meeting with myself for workflow items and big thinking projects such as software conversions or onboarding a new client.

  5. Celebrate your wins! For example, book a self care day in your calendar and let your team, clients and family know in advance so you can sit back and enjoy your accomplishment.

Step 3 - Use Technology

Learn to leverage technology to manage your time with these effective tips from NCVO/Knowhow, a knowledge bank dedicated to sharing good advice:

  1. Use a meeting scheduler to magically book your meetings like Calendly.

  2. Keep everyone on the same page by using a communication tool like Slack

  3. Use a project management app that is easy to use. For us we love Karbon!

  4. Leverage your mobile device to finalize tasks and effectively communicate.

For my firm, technology plays an important role. We use it to collaborate virtually with our employees and clients. We focus on data flow instead of paper. The more we strive to eliminate chaos the more we succeed and deliver a pleasant experience for our customers. I still struggle with time management, however, now I’m better equipped to feel less out of control, produce better results and spend more time where it matters.

As you embark on your journey to mastery of time management, know that perfection is unattainable. Working on your time management skills each day will support your efforts to achieve your life goals. The end results of prioritizing your time will leave you with a sense of accomplishment and purpose in life while allowing you to spend your most valuable asset on the moments that matter to you.

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