Time: The Extinct Species

I read a recent thought of the day from Franklin Covey that suggested we take a day and see how much time we spend engaged in activities we can label “unimportant.”

One of the many time management challenges in the front office is everything seems important.  Fill the holes in the schedule.  Prepare a financial estimate.  Follow-up on insurance.  Make recall calls.  The list seems endless.

I once worked in the front, and I know how difficult it is to prioritize activities.  Most days are a race against the clock to keep the to-do stack from getting any bigger, and it reminds me of a quote by Napoleon:

“You can ask me for anything you like, except time.”

Since we can’t ask for more time in the day, managing time effectively is the key.  One of the challenges with improving time management in the front is to teach the team that some tasks are “unimportant” in the context of the day’s priorities, and as the Franklin Covey thought suggests, too much time is spent on those lower priority items.

What I’ve observed through the years is that using time efficiently is about using the minutes as wisely as the hours.  We need to teach the front team how to find pockets of opportunity during the day to get things accomplished.

What I’ve seen work effectively is to have your front team synchronize their workflow with the practice schedule.  Bigger procedures in the back offer an ideal time to work on bigger tasks in the front.  Smaller blocks of time are perfect for smaller tasks such as confirming appointments and filing charts.

I’ve also helped teams increase productivity by breaking the day down in quarters and identifying what needs to be done by mid and late morning and mid and late afternoon.  Again, it’s about managing the minutes.

When we teach our team to stop swimming upstream against time, they will find it’s a little more abundant than they thought.

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