We all have a finite amount of time. The majority of us feel we could do with more of it.
This is certainly true in my experience for Dental Practice Managers. If you are a Practice Manager, you’ll recognise there has been a good deal of change in your role of late. You’ll know how demands and expectations have increased.
So allow me to offer 7 time management tips especially for you…
1. Cut down the firefighting
Chances are you find yourself ‘firefighting’ some of the time – dealing with issues brought to your door by members of your team. For some Practice Managers this takes up most of their time.
Chances are also, some of these issues can really be resolved by your team members without your involvement.
The key is to make sure as little of your time as possible is taken up firefighting.
Create a planner on your wall or computer which captures the regular tasks you need to complete. Adopt a regular time of day, week or month for these tasks as appropriate, and block this time out on your planner.
Allocate regular periods of time on your planner for project work.
Then explain your planner schedule to your team, highlighting when you are ‘open’ for interruptions. This is where displaying your planner on your wall pays dividends…you’ll be amazed how many issues will be resolved without your intervention when your team know you are busy.
And if the same issues keep cropping up in your business, it indicates a project or system is required to alleviate these issues once and for all.
2.Keep an up-to-date project plan
There is a lot which lands ‘on your plate’. Plus you have to manage the projects and tasks going on around the practice.
So bring together all the projects, actions and tasks in one place. There is specialist software or you can simply set up a spreadsheet. Just make sure you can clearly see who is taking a particular action, by when, and what progress has been made.
Keep your plan updated and you will be clear on your own priorities and the work you have delegated to others. This will save you time working out what is currently being worked on and confirming the status of particular projects.
I promise you your project plan will become your bible and you’ll wonder how you ever did without it.
3. Insist on regular communication with the Practice Principal
Regular communication between you and your Practice Principal is vital.
It’s a two-way communication line which your dental business cannot operate effectively without.
Your Principal needs to understand the status of the projects on your project plan, and what you and the team are working on in these areas.
Plus you need to check in with your Principal regularly to discuss any issues on which you need their input and be able to keep your team working effectively.
Spending quality time between the two of you will save you time going back and forth on an ad hoc basis.
4. Delegate effectively
When you delegate effectively you save time for yourself as you avoid having to go over tasks again. You also prevent wasting team time.
So make sure you provide full ‘training’ on a task, communicating your expectations in terms of timescale for completion and then checking in with the team member periodically.
Let them know you are around if they have any queries on the task, without watching their every move.
You also delegate more effectively when you create a system for team members to follow.
Use it to specify how you wish a particular task to be done and you can delegate with confidence.
You can also refer them back to the system, should an error be made or system step missed.
5. Get help from specialists where appropriate
Don’t try and become a master of everything. You’ll spend unnecessary time trying to get your head around new concepts and skills which others can quite simply provide for you.
Make use of specialists when you can. Marketing, sales, legal, financial, operational. They are there to support you.
6. Keep team communication lines open
You need to communicate regularly and effectively with everyone in your practice to work efficiently as a Practice Manager.
So establish and keep to appropriate communication structures, agreeing time to meet regularly not only with your Principal(s), but also with your reception team, your nursing team and associates/hygienists.
It is time well spent as it will subsequently save you time trying to convene ad hoc meetings and get-togethers.
Plus you’ll have formal time to share and gain information efficiently, so you stand a much better chance of achieving what you need to achieve.
7. Keep in touch with your fellow PMs
Why include this as a time management tip? Because life as a Practice Manager can feel isolated and chances are there will be a Manager out there who has gone through the issue or challenge you are currently experiencing and can help you overcome it. More quickly. More effectively.
So do stay in contact with the Managers you meet.
Keep an eye on the events for Managers offered by associations such as ADAM.
Get along to Practice Manager Mastery Events when they crop up.
Clear Vision’s new report ‘The Modern Dental Practice Manager’ will be available shortly on our download reports page. Be sure to bookmark the page to get your hands on a copy.
Do get in contact if you would like to discuss the Practice Manager role or if you are a Manager with a query. I’m always happy to speak to you. Alternatively, you are welcome to leave your comments and questions below and I will reply swiftly.