Time Management and You
How many times have you thought, “Thank God, it’s Friday!” only to realize that you still have a mountain of tasks ahead of you? As an office manager, your job does not end when the doctor leaves the clinic. You continue to supervise operations, making sure that everything works like a well-oiled machine. But how can you do it all without getting stressed out?
The best way is to learn how to better organize your time. Luckily, there are many tools to help you. Try the following time management techniques to reduce your workload and minimize stress.
1. Use the Eisenhower Principle.
The Eisenhower Principle involves classifying tasks as important or urgent. You might think that these two are synonymous, but there is a big difference between them: important activities allow you to move forward and get things done. Meanwhile, urgent activities demand immediate attention, and are often done for someone else. Try sorting your tasks into four categories:
a. Important and urgent: these are tasks that take priority and should be done first.
b. Important but not urgent: these are tasks which you can take more time to complete.
c. Urgent but not important: consider delegating these tasks to best manage your time.
d. Not important, not urgent: make a list of these would-be-nice-to-do-someday tasks. These are filler tasks you can delegate to your staff on slow days.
2. Create daily and weekly plans.
Although it’s fun to be spontaneous, the way to avoid stress is to organize your workload. Planning your schedule can help you focus on the things that you have to do in a given time frame.
Before the week starts, take a few minutes to jot down your goals for the week. Then add the activities you need to do to achieve those goals. Allot realistic blocks of time for each task. Make sure that you incorporate breaks in your schedule. Remember to include some additional time in case something new comes up.
3. Foolproof your routine.
Unless you have impeccable willpower, you are bound to stray off your schedule every now and then. If this happens often, log your activities to see what takes up most of your time. This will enable you to plan accordingly.
For instance, are you being bogged down by too many work emails? Block some time for them in the afternoon after you have finished your more focused tasks. Answering too many phone calls? See which time of day you receive the most number of phone calls and try to schedule your tasks around them.
You can fall into a comfortable routine once you know what is eating up your time. This will cut multitasking and keep distractions at bay.
4. Delegate and outsource.
Remember, as an office manager, delegating is part of your job. Simple tasks, like following up on patient appointments, can be assigned to your staff.
If you are still stretched too thin, think about outsourcing. This is a great way to work smarter, not harder. You can outsource activities like staffing, payroll, billing, claims, accounting, and appointment setting. Outsourcing increases your efficiency and reduces your operational costs. It also allows you to concentrate on important, high-skill responsibilities such as managing.
5. Automate tasks.
In today’s work environment, automation is key to getting everything done while reducing costs. You might think that repetitive tasks are easy to do, but really they are just enormous time-wasters. Consider automating appointment reminders. Nowadays you can send reminders to your patients automatically as you schedule their appointments. You no longer need to call patients one by one. Let our system do that for you and focus your attention on more important tasks on hand.
6. Write Everything down.
Of all the time management techniques here, this is perhaps the simplest one. Yet it is also one of the most important as it has a huge effect on productivity.
For one, writing down your plans and schedule helps you to remember things. The act of writing allows your brain to process information and remember it for a longer period of time. It also allows your brain to unload, letting you concentrate on the task at hand. This does wonders for your productivity.
Not a pen and pencil type of person? Check out some to-do apps, such as Evernote, which allow you to take your task list with you on your smart phone.
Time management is a work in progress for everyone. But once you get the hang of it, you will finally be able to get more done with less stress. You may even have time to spare for the things that truly matter.
What are Some Great Time Management Techniques for Office Managers?
To summarize, here are some tricks to help you handle your busiest weeks:
1. Sort tasks in order of importance or urgency.
2. Plan your week.
3. Identify and avoid things that waste your time.
4. Learn to delegate and automate.
5. Use paper lists or to-do apps.
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