The Clinic Coach: Time Management Part 1

Clinic Coach, Time is Important

As The Clinic Coach I’m always reading, a recent article I read said that office workers, because of the array of social media available, including Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google Plus, and YouTube – to name just a few – plus texts, phone calls, and people popping in or asking questions, are interrupted once every 11 minutes! This is shocking enough, but when you consider that getting focused on what you’re doing can take around 25 minutes before you’re ‘in the zone’, many office workers can spend their entire day without ever really being able to focus on anything that they’re doing.

Can you imagine how that can impact on any clinic’s output? While the treatments themselves are uninterrupted, when engaged with all the other important tasks to grow your clinic your productivity is being destroyed. Plus, I’m pleased to say that the idea of being able to multi-task and switch between jobs has been debunked, with recent studies showing that your IQ drops by ten points each time you try, compared to smoking marijuana which only sees it drop by five points. That’s right, you’re better off smoking a joint at work than trying to multi-task.

If you still don’t believe me, try this next exercise. I want you to write out, “multi-tasking is a lie”, and then number each of the letters. In the first exercise I want you to write the letter M then the number 1 underneath, then the U with the number 2 below, and so on. I want you to write it as fast as you possibly can, timing yourself as you do it. It should look like the example below.

M U  L  T I  T A S K  I   N   G    I    S   A   L    I   E

1   2  3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Then I’d like you to do the same thing again, but this time, simply write out the statement “multi-tasking is a lie” first, and then write 1 to 18 under each of the letters afterwards. Seriously give it a try now.

The second time you were probably a third quicker than the first, which demonstrates how impractical multi-tasking is.

So, why have we focused on all this up front? I deliberately chose to include it early because if we can simply squeeze an additional 30 minutes out of your day, that would give you around an extra 15 working days a year. And that’s about a month that you don’t currently have! I really believe that if you nail this, you’ll be far more efficient and have a lot more time to play with than that.

As The Clinic Coach I Always Remind People That If They Say Yes to One Thing, They’re Saying No to Something

Remember that if you’re saying yes to something you’re saying no to a lot more other things. Yet it’s an easy thing to do. Someone asks if they can sit down with you for five minutes and pick your brains (when is it ever five minutes?) and you think ‘yeah no problem’ I’m a nice person so you say yes, but what are you ultimately saying no to? A lot of the time it’s the really important actions that get pushed back.

You need to focus on the important things, and don’t multi-task; in fact in Gary Keller and Jay Papasan’s book The One Thing, they talk about the importance of niching down and concentrating on one thing that is ultimately most important to you in achieving success, rather than trying to achieve everything. You may have heard the saying “If you’re chasing two rabbits, you won’t catch either one.”

‘One thing’ is in reference to an idea. Everyone should pick their own one thing and focus completely on it with no exceptions. Michael Phelps is used as an example in the book as he chose to practice for six hours every day, including Sundays, because he saw that that would give him a 52 day advantage a year over his competitors who were only swimming six days a week. And he became the most successful swimmer and most decorated Olympian of all time with 22 medals.

Steve Jobs was famously ousted from Apple by the then board of directors, before going on to completely revolutionise how Pixar worked, turning it into a company worth £billions. When Apple was in trouble the board of directors knew Steve was the man to turn them around, but insisted that he sell Pixar because they also recognised that he needed to concentrate solely on the one company. And what was one of the first things he did when he re-joined Apple? Dramatically reduce the number of Apple’s products.

The Clinic Coach Gets You To Focus On The One Thing

So, the one thing means extreme focus and a lot of work – one important thing at a time. The authors suggest that you should use the focusing question: “What is the one thing I can do, such that by doing it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary?” Answering this question and following through will cause a domino effect which will bring you success.

After you have picked your one thing, your first priority should be protecting the time you use to work with it. The authors suggest you should reserve four hours of non-interrupted time from your day only to work with your one thing. I’d say that four hours is a big ask for most clinic owners, but I would advocate at least 90 minutes a day, preferably first thing before you do anything else.

Clinic Coach: Focus On One Thing

And that is the key to productivity. Uninterrupted focus. It’s about blocking your time, staying focused on the task at hand, and making sure that all potential distractions have been managed so that they’re less likely to interrupt you or distract you. It’s also about understanding what’s really important to your clinic at that point of its growth.

Nigel Botterill is a true entrepreneur in every sense of the word, and has built eight separate £million businesses. He uses this technique and he’s so protective of his first 90 minutes in the morning that he has a “Do Not Disturb Unless There’s A Fire” sign on his door. His team know that interrupting Nigel during this time is potentially a disciplinary issue, because those 90 minutes of being able to work on his business each day are so precious, and he knows they’re absolutely critical to his future success. He’s such an advocate of the 90 minute principle that he’s just written a book called Build Your Business in 90 Minutes a Day, and talks about how you step closer to your ultimate goals in that daily time.

 The Clinic Coach Has Learnt A Lot From Successful Business Owners

I met another super-successful guy a few years ago – Darren Hardy. His book, The Compound Effect, focuses on the little things you do every day, and how these small actions and choices can compound to have a huge impact on your life and business in five years’ time. That may be negative, such as a few biscuits a day leading to a big weight gain over time, or positive in terms of reading a few pages of a book leading to significant learning and development. I think that Nigel’s 90 minute habit is a brilliant demonstration of the power of this principle. Small actions, done consistently, every day, absolutely compound into hugely impactful outcomes.

This topic is typically referred to as ‘time management’, which when you think about it is a bit of a strange title. Everyone knows what you mean by time management, and you may have even paid to go on a time management course – I’ve run them myself – but let me share a secret… There’s actually no such thing as managing time. (I usually save that nugget for my delegates after they’ve shown up… And paid!)

By Alan Adams The Clinic Coach

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