Do You Control Your Schedule Or Does Your Schedule Control You?
6 Ways to Take Control Of Your Goals Through Time Management
Time management is a critical piece to feeling in control. Here are my top six tips to improve your time management.
1. Know Your Goals
In Stephen Covey’s famous book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, he shares with us that we should begin each day, task, or project with a clear vision of the desired outcome. If you don’t have goals outlined, you can’t prioritize. Know your goals, write them down in SMART format (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound), review them often, and use them to determine what you want to spend your time doing. Audigy can help map your personal, professional, and financial goals to your business transformational goals with milestones, timelines, and actionable tasks to achieve those goals. Achieving greatness doesn’t happen by luck; it is the small decisions you make every day that make an impact. Know your goals.
2. Prioritize And Say No
Review your to-do list and schedule for the week, and ask yourself, “Is there anything I’m doing that doesn’t align with my goals?” If it doesn’t need to be done this week, then move it, say no, or delegate it.
- Move it. Ask yourself, “Is someone else depending on me to complete this so they can complete an important task that is helping them achieve their goal?” Ask the people who are depending on you if the task is urgent or can be moved to another time.
- Say no. Your time is your most valuable resource — use it wisely. If something doesn’t benefit your goals or the goals of the people who depend on you, just say no. You can do it in a kind way; for example, “Thank you for including me, I am going to pass at this time,” or “I am unable to commit to supporting this project at this time.”
- Ask these three questions: (1) Do you have to be the one to do this? (2) Is there someone else at home or in the office, or is there a service you can hire, that would have a better return on investment than you doing it yourself? (3) Are you the most efficient and least expensive option? Audigy can help do a time analysis for you and give direction on hiring, contracting, or moving around tasks and assignments to maximize the efficiency in your office. Sometimes delegation takes more time on the front end, but it pays dividends in the long run.
3. Throw Away Your To-Do List
What isn’t scheduled doesn’t get done. Do you love lists? I love crossing things off a list; I used to add items to my to-do list that I had already completed just so I could cross them off. So when I was told to throw away my to-do list, I had a visceral reaction. But this ended up being one of the greatest pieces of advice I have ever received around maximizing efficiency. Anything worth doing should be scheduled. If it isn’t important enough to put in your schedule, don’t do it. Everything worth doing is worth putting on your calendar.
4. Do The Hard Stuff First
Do you ever feel like your day gets away from you and you don’t get around to sending out 4+ patient letters, or grocery shopping, or [insert task you don’t love doing here]? Do you find yourself saying, “I just ran out of time.” Well, time to call yourself out. If you start your day with your least favorite task, you get it done much quicker. Block out time to answer emails and work on projects, so you can stay focused during team and patient appointments. I block 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. 5 p.m. for admin time to ensure I start and end the day feeling organized. Whatever that item is — the one that, once completed, will help you move to the next level and achieve your goals — schedule it first thing in the morning. Do the hard stuff first.
5. Leverage Your Technology To Be More Efficient
Being good at time management means being organized. Keeping one calendar with everything on it eliminates opportunities to make mistakes. Leverage technology to work for you. Instead of adding milk to the grocery list, add it in your grocery store app (or, even better, if you have a pickup service at your grocery store, use it — saves time and money). This functions the same at work: Invest in learning tips and tricks for your office management system, and walk through the patient process from A to Z. Are you doing things as efficiently as possible? Is there a way to increase the patient experience and the experience of your team? Shadow another practice to learn more about the patient experience and time-saving efficiencies. Leverage your technology to be more efficient.
6. Take Time For You
Most importantly, if you aren’t feeling organized and in control of your schedule, you can’t be your best self for patients, team, and family. Have you heard the airplane safety announcement, “Should a drop in cabin pressure occur, put your own mask on first”? The direction to help yourself first exists because if you’re so busy helping others put their masks on and you pass out in the meantime, you aren’t helping anyone. You shouldn’t feel guilty about scheduling time for yourself, whether it is reading, working out, seeing friends, sleeping, or watching your favorite show. Taking time for yourself is critical to feeling your best self.
Engage your Audigy team to support you through setting goals, prioritizing, scheduling the most important to-dos, doing the hard stuff first, leveraging technology, and taking time for yourself. Your schedule will no longer control you.