Managing Your Biggest Patient – Time
“Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and the only one you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.”
You’re a professional, and time matters. You charge for it as a physician, you battle for more of it, and just having a little more at the right time can make all the difference in a healing, in having a social life, de-stressing, and being around the ones you love.
To be the master of your own life and spend the “coin of time” wisely, it’s important to master a few things:
- Invest in your vision
- Deal with obstacles
- Develop new habits
Investing in Your Vision
Statistically, people spend more time planning a 2-week vacation than they do for their life or business. What about you? Is it easier to plan for escape than it is to make a change in the way your practice operates?
You have to start with a clear picture of your future. If you don’t know where you are driving your bus, it’s very hard to know when you take a wrong turn in the area of spending your time. Start with some personal dreams – listing 50 is a good start. Look at your list of 50 dreams; I’ll bet close to 60% of them could happen within the next 3 years.
Now ask, what will my business have to accomplish to make those personal dreams a reality? Build a vision, on paper or screen and in graphic detail, of where you want your practice to be, to do, to bring in, to win, and to look like 3 years from today.
This now becomes your guiding star for time use. Ask yourself with every decision, with every opportunity, with every choice to spend time: Does this thing I am about to do bring me closer to my vision and personal dreams? It’s amazing how much clarity it brings when you know where you are going. There are a lot of great things that don’t help you get where you are going. If your vision is Sedona – as nice as Cabo is – it’s worlds away from your vision.
Deal With Obstacles
Here’s a fun fact that makes my distracted clients ill. Every interruption from focused activity will require a minimum of 20 minutes to get back to focused work. Have you ever met a naturopathic physician who wasn’t distracted? How many interruptions do you have a day? How many hours are lost? How much do you charge? Anyone feeling ill?
Here are some of the biggest obstacles to watch out for:
- Procrastination – This is a fear-based habit. What might you be afraid of? That you aren’t prepared? That you aren’t qualified? Do you need more information?
- Worry – This is a big one. But, an easy place to start is to ask yourself: What is the worst case scenario here? Can I live with that? Take action. Action starves worry, and inaction feeds it. Don’t be one of those fear-based NDs.
- Excuses – Excuses can’t be a part of your life if you are going to succeed. This may show up as small compromises in life. You told yourself you were getting up at 5 AM and you hit snooze and started your day compromising with yourself; all of a sudden, hitting snooze the rest of the day on projects is easy.
Add to this list. What are your biggest obstacles to wise time-use?
Develop These Habits and Stay Organized and Efficient
- Plan for meetings – Enough said. Plan for meetings, even the small ones.
- Handle small tasks now – If a task takes less than 2 minutes, do it now. Touch everything only once and give it away or file it.
- Organize your entire life – Car? Is your office a motivational work space? Home? Files?
- Find 30 minutes of work-free, alone time – every day, with no exceptions. This time supplies your inner world with the room you need for creativity and sanity.
- Learn to say NO – We want to help others, but boards, volunteerism, and off-vision activity can take you away from your vision in record speed.
- Hustle while you wait – Find yourself waiting? Use it to get busy.
- Develop a routine – Routines for morning, work, lunch, and systems keep life efficient and flowing.
- Delegate – If it doesn’t absolutely have to be you, let it be someone else. Train and trust your staff to make this effective. Don’t clean your own house or mow your lawn unless you find it therapeutic.
Every minute, tick by tick, is your life! You can be an actor in someone else’s play, or the author of your own life. Which one will you choose?
Jon Bohm is a personal and corporate coach, national speaker, and president of the company, Driven Coaching. Jon helps naturopathic physicians and leaders not only be more efficient, but build the plan and the business that gets them to their personal dreams faster. Jon has worked with “Fortune 100″ companies and leaders in over 80 different industries, helping them to make more money and improve their personal lives at the same time. Jon can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.