Academy of Chiropractic
MD Referral Progam
#7 Marketing, Branding and Entrepreneurship
#21 – Plan Your Day
STOP and PLAN YOUR DAY
Disorganization is the death blow to any family, organization or your personal life. There is a time when we are not so busy and therefore we can juggle everything. Most of the time we can keep track of it in our heads, rarely writing things down and we can survive. We wont forget stuff, it is easy and hard to imagine why professionals have online planning software and personal assistants. If you are building your professional life and building it right, your time will come if it isn’t here already. Here are the basic phases and why it is CRITICALLY important for you to STOP and PLAN YOUR DAY. It is one of the main reasons most DCs never reach the place to put associate doctors in their practice and enjoy the fruits of their labor.
Phase I – I WILL REMEMBER
In this phase you are starting out or simply can handle all that is coming at you. You can keep everything straight in your head, occasionally/randomly you make a To Do List. Appointments are easy to create and manage on the business side and your flow through the office is simple and stress free. You have staff and they are easy to work with, you have time to discuss and teach them what to do. The tasks and responsibilities of business rarely flow over to your personal life, they are separate. Remember his is a phase and is not based on how log you have been in practice, I have been there and I have clients that are in practice 1 year all the way up to 15-20 years that are in this phase. It is a volume thing not necessarily a money thing either.
Phase II – STAGNATION – I AM FEELING PRESSURE
This is the phase of our business lives that we are generally and mostly unprepared to confront. This is where you either GROW or SHRINK, there is no “maintain” in this Phase. Winston Churchill once said “When your going through HELL, keep going”. That is true at this Phase. I would say that personally 90% of all the motivational, self-help and organizational books that I read and studied were in this Phase. Audio books, e-books and paper books were all part of my library. Everyone from Steven Covey, Michael Gerber, Robert Kiyosaki, Napoleon Hill, Dale Carnegie, Zig Ziggler, you get the point. If you need that help, I would start with The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People [Covey] and the e-Myth Series [Gerber].
This is where the pressure of working IN the business and the pressure of working ON the business intersect. The danger here is moving into Phase IV BEFORE you get to Phase III. I see this all the time and the first sign this is happening is your staff start to become unhappy because the office is disorganized and you are making decisions ON-THE-FLY. You have no office manuals, no training manuals and no plan. Everything because a reactionary process and staff have no internal administrative stability. Your patients start to feel that you are not really paying attention and you start to miss stuff, hopefully not the big stuff. At this Phase you start start to avoid opportunities and begin pushing new business relationships away in order to take control of what you currently have going on. You increase “management” time in favor of “business growth” time. The time you spend on “results producing activities” is reduced each month.
Phase III – PERSONAL ORGANIZATION
This Phase is generally done while you are still in Phase II and that is actually the best time to do it. This is where you need to start learning to plan your days and tasks as well as condense your patient schedules. The busier you get the shorter your patient contact hours should be. The first person you after your front desk is someone to room and manage patient flow for you, that way all you are doing is adjusting. Your daily tasks during the week should be focused on either treating patients or meeting with MDs or Lawyers. You can have one small meeting for staff each week, but the more you get automated the shorter those meetings should be, don’t “meeting” people to death. You staff should have ONE email with a list of NON-URGENT questions that get sent to you each day, they should not be interrupting you during treatment times or times that you can be meeting with MD or Lawyers. Pay your bills and complete administrative duties after hours, at home and on the weekends. To avoid cutting into family time, do them before everyone gets up or late at night, those are tasks that do not require attention during business hours. It is CRITICAL at this point to identify WHY you are doing what you are doing, that puts it all into perspective. There is NO reason why you should be playing fantasy football when you are behind at work, there are sacrifices to be made, choose wisely. Take the task of getting organized seriously, you will need it for Phase IV.
Phase IV – DELEGATION AND PLANNING
This phase is the complete 180 and you are back to Phase I but you have a real organization making REALY money. Your focus is on the big picture stuff and you are the rudder not the ship, simply steering the vesicle. You cannot delegate what you did not do or create yourself and it is a death sentence to assume that an employee is prepared to “handle it” without you setting ground rules. It is YOUR job to create an environment in which they can succeed, remember good employees want to do well and be recognized. Don’t be the boss that takes that away from them, your practice is only as good as your worst employee. Create a culture of growth and success. To do that you will need to spend as much time as needed in Phase III, that is your blueprint.