It is truly depressing when I hear “my to-do list” is two pages long.
That is normally followed by the statement “I haven’t stopped all day but haven’t achieved anything”
A couple of observations.
There are approximately 8 working hours in the day. In my case, there are not 8 hours; there eight 45-minute time slots.
The first port of call is to ask how many of those hours were you ACTUALLY working?
Actually working does not include chatting to a colleague or speaking on the telephone to a friend about a movie.
The reason I mention this is I took a call last Thursday from the manager of a private practice. She was complaining bitterly about there not being enough hours in the day.
In reality of course, unless she wants to work over every single evening, she can’t increase the actual number of hours available to much more than eight.
In my humble opinion, she doesn’t need to anyway.
She called because she wanted to know, how I could manage to blog twice a day? She wanted to do the same. Where did I find the time to write two blogs each day.
Well, firstly I don’t “find” the time. I allocate one hour each morning – between 8 am and 9 am- to write two blogs.
This has ZERO to do with each blog taking 30 minutes. Some actually take less. Others more.
It has everything to do with working when I should be working.
What is important is my insistence on doing NOTHING during that hour other than to write blogs ie working.
I don’t check emails. Nor do I stand around chatting to others about their weekend, the new TV series on last evening or today’s weather forecast.
Which brings us neatly to the all-powerful “to-do” list.
Mine (actually an ICAL calendar) is compiled the night before.
It lists all the items I want to complete the next day starting with 7 am – make coffee (important!!) check bank, clear overnight emails. The to-do list continues until 7.45 am with a 15-minute slot for yet more coffee.
8 am – 60-minute writing blogs.
During those 60 minutes, I will literally do NOTHING other than write blogs.
No distractions. No chatting with colleagues. No doing something other than writing.
In other words, I work when I should be working.
Now compare that with my practice manager friend who freely admits she is “weeks” behind on completing her medical billing.
My immediate reaction was to ask why are you considering writing blogs when you are so far behind on such an important task as raising invoices for the practice.
Secondly, why are you weeks behind?
The cause of her dilemma is not her ability. Nor is it her reluctance to work.
The true reason is she doesn’t quite appreciate, whilst she is working she should be working and only working.
More specifically, she should focus solely and absolutely on the task in hand.
Instead, she allows herself to be distracted by whatever comes across her desk or whoever walks into her office.
When she told me it took her roughly 3 hours to process a clinic list with 15 consultations on it, I nearly fell off my chair!
That should take no more than ONE hour.
But there again, I’m not letting anything distract me.