I was one of those practitioners that had no routine or specific plan. I had no structure. I woke up, got my work done, then went home.
As a healthcare practitioner, this was ok for the first couple of years. But eventually, my productivity and satisfaction started to wane.
Why was I spending so much of my time doing admin work rather than with my clients?
That's when I invested in establishing a new routine, focusing on creating daily habits, and effectively changing my work life.
Albert Einstein said it best, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Instead of looking at the success of your favorite clinicians, take a look at their habits. What did their daily routine look like? How do they remain focus on the work that matters?
If you look closely at their routine, are there patterns that can be emulated?
Excellent Practices Start With Productivity
Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss highlights the daily patterns which successful people share.
Routines themselves change from clinician to clinician. The most successful practitioners in the world often share these three habits:
They have a plan. Every day, great healthcare professionals wake up with a clear mission for what they want to achieve. They have a plan for the day, typically a mixture of tasks and appointments.
Those who are most disciplined are the ones who get ahead in private practice. These clinicians are at the top of their game, the people who are truly changing their patients' lives.
If you wake up each day without a clear mission for what you want to achieve, you create a more cognitive load, more stress, and more issues.
Build this habit today. You will find yourself more productive, more effective, and happier.
Wake up EARLY. "The early bird gets the worm" still holds true today. Those who wake early are the ones that are ahead in healthcare. These are the practitioners that get more done every day.
Try waking up at 5.30 am and do 60 mins of focused practice work. Try this for 5 days. See for yourself how much more you got done and how you feel on top of things.
They use technology to optimize their time. The most productive clinicians understand that their time is finite. In fact, time is the one true equalizer. Contrary to what many people think, people who get more done do not have a unique talent or extraordinary capability. They are just more effective at using systems to automate or optimize their workflow. If you don't believe me, next time you're speaking with a clinician who gets loads done, ask them what systems they use! You will find they use a great practice management system, one with power features that automate or optimize as much of their healthcare work as possible.
This isn't rocket science. It's just simply observing how successful healthcare professionals get more done. It all starts with maximizing productivity.
In my mornings, I meditate for about twenty minutes.
Meditation and mindfulness are habits in nearly all of the most impactful of clinicians. The irony is that many of us advocate it with our clients but don't eat our own cooking. Even meditating for 5 or 10 minutes a day can significantly impact our productivity and well-being.
Aside from an increase in mental capability and clarity, meditation is also super efficient in reducing stress and creating more joy in our work.
A Harvard research team found that it only takes 8 weeks of meditation to create a measurable increase in brain activity and capacity.
Are you unsure of where to start? Here's an excellent article and video which will help.
I started meditation after watching this video two years ago. I can honestly say the video planted a seed of interest. Once combining this with meditation books, these resources have changed my life.
I found meditation to be a simple way to reset my mind to think more clearly, purposefully, and enjoy the present moment despite all its imperfection.
It has gifted me with a new appreciation of work, with all of the opportunities and challenges.
Do the easy things first!
When you're changing the way you deliver healthcare. Start with the easy thing, the quick wins, as they say. Getting the ball rolling with things that offer benefits quickly is a great way to get immediate satisfaction from some good wins. This positive feedback cycle will help you to change the more challenging aspects of your workflow.
Get more sleep
For many practitioners, this is one of the most challenging things to do. Life is busy; once we get our work done, many of us need to get home to family and kids.
Then by 9.30 pm, we have the chance to sit down and have some time to ourselves. The last thing we feel like is taking ourselves to bed.
But we should. Because it's essential!
According to a recent Harvard study, our sleeping habits and routines impact every part of our lives. Running on a low volume of sleep leads to poor judgment, problem-solving. It impedes our ability to nurture relationships and those around us.
Just as you have created a set wake-up time. Put in place a strict bedtime routine, so you can get the sleep you need to win tomorrow.
Prioritize time with clients
Excellent healthcare is about spending more time with your clients or time with more clients. Sometimes I think we really lose sight of this.
After starting in private practice, I found myself spending 3 hours more day scheduling, emailing, managing billing, and writing reports. I am not sure about you, but this is not why I studied and work so hard to get here.
I want to spend 80% of my time with clients, 20% of my time doing the operational work required to make that possible.
The way I go this is using software to automate 2 hours per day of my operational work.
Simply automate or optimize the following tasks!
- Use a digital calendar with recurring bookings. Where possible, see clients regularly at the same time.
- Online payments. No terminals or wasting time with cards.
- Type your reports with your voice
- Interact with your clients online
Start implementing these habits tomorrow
You won't get better clinical outcomes if you don't change your habits. Your behaviors could be holding you back from delivering the patient outcomes, so work so hard to achieve.
Stick with it. Rome wasn't built in a day, as they say. Your habits have been created over your lifetime. It could take a few weeks until you see the benefits. Stick with it. I promise your life will change.
The most amazing practitioners in this world were not born great. They had to train themselves to be extraordinary. It all starts with daily habits.