Management and staff must remember that they alone cannot perform all of the practice’s duties on their own, and such duties cannot be performed at once.
Therefore management must use efficient time management skills and must also teach such skills to staff.
It is common that employees feel a sense of urgency to complete their tasks. This can be caused by the fear of reprimand or generating the perception of poor performance by having uncompleted tasks. Some employees experience significant anxiety knowing they have multiple tasks waiting to be completed.
Management and staff gain satisfaction by completing their tasks urgently as it helps them feel useful. This reinforces the need to work in an urgent manner. Although this provides employees with a temporary relief of stress, the perception of urgency creates more stress than what is relieved after quickly completing many tasks.
Employees should always keep a work-list of tasks that need to be done. During the day, tasks can manifest during the busiest of times and the employee may easily forget about it if they do not write it down. Employees would benefit from carrying around a notebook so that they can make notes and reminders as the day progresses.
A work-list should also be prioritized.
Management and staff should know the difference between what is important and what is urgent, and should prioritize accordingly. Organizing this way reduces stress as and relieves anxiety as employees will feel more confident that duties will be completed when they need to be and that nothing will fall through the cracks.
Employees should prioritize urgent matters but must ensure that important issues are addressed as well, as important issues that are not taken care of will later become urgent.
To manage time on a broader perspective, managers should plan about 30 days in advance to ensure that they are prepared for tasks or events in the future. Management should make use of a calendar and refer to such while planning.
Specific times should be set for certain tasks. i.e. Nurses should choose a time each day to return phone calls when they are the least busy and can avoid interruption.
Staff should communicate to each other at times when they cannot be disturbed.
For managers, the most effective time management skill is delegation. Although some may like too, managers CANNOT control everything. Some managers are reluctant to delegate duties because they feel that by passing their responsibilities onto others, they are threatening their own jobs. However, if the employees that a manager manages do well, it is reflective of their leaders. A good leader not only has a goal and a vision for the practice, but shares such goals with the staff and the challenges in the way of reaching its goals.
Delegation also empowers staff and involves them in the challenges of the practice. Therefore, they take more responsibility and pride in their work and become stronger employees.
When delegating responsibilities to employees, management should provide specific instructions on what is to be done and should monitor the employee’s progress on the task. Management should not micromanage the employee on tasks that were delegated as it defeats the purpose for the manager as it would not free up any time for them.
Management should conduct a morning meeting each day. This ensures that all staff is sharing the same vision and goal for the day. The daily schedule should be reviewed for anything that may cause an issue or delay. Management should lay out a “game plan” to staff of what needs to be done that particular day. Most of all, management should provide encouragement to staff to boost morale before they begin their work day.
In regards to help the physicians manage their schedule, management should ensure that the provider’s schedules are reviewed and that there is a consistent and smooth patient flow.
If the physician is running behind, notify patients that there is a delay, and if the wait is exceptionally long, give the patient the option to reschedule. If the patient waits too long, they will become very dissatisfied with the physician’s and practice’s service.
At the end of each day, patient’s charts, who are being seen the next day, should be pulled and checked to ensure that all records and documentation that the physician will need for the appointment are present. This helps prevent delays.