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Effective Time Management

Posted Jun 13 2009 12:17am

    "If only I had more time!"  How many times do you say or think that in any given day?  Many times you have the time you need, it's what you do with your time that may not be working.  People tend to equate busy with productive.  We all know that a busy schedule can still not have a lot of production to show for itself at the end of the day.  That's why it's so important for your scheduler to understand the daily, weekly, monthly and yearly goals for the practice.  Keep in mind that you have to look at the overall days, weeks months and year to really gauge success, but it helps to have scheduling guidelines to help the flow of the day.  It is possible and desirable to work at a relaxed, enjoyable pace and still meet your production goals.  That's the most satisfying way to work and with the dedication and determination of the scheduler, it is achievable. 
    In your personal life does it seem that the weekends and evenings fly by without much fun or relaxation to be remembered?  Do you feel like you never get to read the books that are piling up, exercise like you keep saying you need to, or spend time enjoying your friends and family?  Do you feel like you're just trying to keep up, but getting nowhere fast?  It's all easy to fix if you just change your thinking about managing your time.
    Our staff is reading The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.  We discuss the habits as we go at our staff meetings.  Each person is responsible for leading the discussion on one habit.  We talked about putting first things first yesterday.  The book talks about a time management system which breaks the way we spend our time into 4 different categories.  First there is Urgent and Important.  These are crises, big problems and deadlines.  This category can overwhelm you, trap you and beat you up.  Spend too much time here and you find yourself crisis driven and ineffective in the long run.  The second is Important, but not Urgent.  They focus on building relationships, preventing problems, seeking opportunities, planning and recreation.  This is a healthy way to spend the day.  Spending your time thes way will have a tremendous postive impact on the practice  you work in and on your personal life.  These are people who can prioritize and discern what tasks will serve the best purpose.  The third area is filled with interruptions, mail, phone calls and popular activities.  The fourth is trivia, busy work, time wasters, and pleasant activities.  People who spend a lot of time in either of these areas and basically reacting to things as they happen and have very little control over their time.  They end up looking busy, but actually being the least effective of all the groups.
     Take a look at the way you work in your office, individually and as a team.  Are you efficient, spending most of your time in area 2 or are you getting through each day in areas 1, 3 or 4?  Area 1 will wear you out and areas 3 and 4 are basically irresponsible ways to spend your life.  Take a look at your personal life as well.  Where are you spending it?  Life goes by quickly and we only get one shot at it.  Make the most of it by making yourself aware of what you are doing.  The rewards will make you happy that you did.

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