As a private practice owner, your time is valuable and limited. Most practice owners wear many hats: physical therapist, CEO, employer, staff member, spouse, parent, friend…the list is endless. With these many hats comes a variety of responsibilities and expectations that are all critical to the success of your practice and to your achievement of personal and professional goals. How can one person do it all? The answer is planned, effective, and careful time management.
Time management for practice owners is finding a method to prioritize and perform multiple tasks while maintaining a viable work-life balance.
To some, this might sound easy. But to most, successful time management is a challenge to execute on good day let alone tough ones. True time management requires a set of plans and schedules that are both rigid and flexible and feasible. If you can’t follow your plans then your time is not well managed right? Let’s take a look at some simple strategies to manage your time and to restore balance to your daily life.
5 Time Management Guidelines
List your top three priorities in life
Your family, your business, and your career are probably at the top of the list. Now be more specific and think about what it means to prioritize these three things. Do you want to be a loving spouse and engaged parent, a successful business owner, and a caring PT? Breaking things down to a smaller scale can help put things in perspective.
Outline what you need to do to support those priorities
Keep it simple with choosing 3 actions that will continuously sustain your efforts. For your business, these can be: ensure adequate patient volumes, maintain a balanced budget, and invest in staff training and operational updates.
Figure out how much time you need to complete these actions each week
Look at parts of a day, not hours or minutes. To ensure adequate patient volumes you might need to do daily reviews of the PT appointment schedules, monitor analytics, and work on your marketing. Altogether, these three tasks might take you 1/3 of each day of the week or maybe 1 day per week.
Time box yourself
If you need 1 day per week to ensure adequate patient volumes, then block a day from seeing patients. This will allow you to have 1 whole day (that’s 8 hours) to work on your business and be uninterrupted. You can leave the PT hat off that day and only where your practice owner hat. This boxed time will allow you to really focus on the tasks and be productive.
Know your peak performance times
Just like some people hit the gym in the morning and others after work, you too have a peak performance time to get stuff done. Maybe you like to tackle the business tasks in the morning when you are refreshed and see patients in the afternoons. Or maybe you want to be home when your kids get off the bus and should treat patients in the mornings and work from the home office later in the day. Figure out your peak times and align these with your time boxes.
These time management guidelines might seem simple, but they do work. You can do the same amount of work that you are doing today in less time (giving you more “fun time” with family and friends) by working effectively. Start small, maybe with time managing your budget and financial tasks, and work your way up to a well-managed schedule that suits your needs and preferences. Let’s get started!