Whether you are the practice owner, associate or just an employee, working in an eye care practice means that you will have a lot vying for your attention. It’s either patients, vendors, paperwork, phone calls, emails, other employees, etc. How in the world can you focus on what needs to be done when you are pulled in a million directions?
How indeed? It seems like the distractions outnumber the work tasks and the fact that anything gets done is a miracle. It isn’t hopeless. It just takes some awareness and purposeful action. Things you can do include:
Stop glancing at your smartphone
Your smartphone isn’t an appendage. You don’t need to check it 2, 3, 4 times a day. Either put it at silent or keep it in a place that isn’t within arm’s reach. While the chimes alerting you that you just received an email or someone posted something on social media don’t last long, the interruptions add up over the course of a day. So, either turn off the notifications or put the phone in a drawer in your desk and only look at it at set times during the day.
Write a To Do List
Having a To Do List helps enormously in keeping yourself on task and minimizing the distractions. Itemizing all the tasks that need to be done will help you to be more productive. The shiny things, such as social media posts or chit chat about a particular television show won’t seem so appealing when you wrote down that you have to see X patients and complete a continuing education course before meeting friends for dinner.
What do you mean limit goals? You might be saying now. Isn’t the mind limitless? Yes, but there is only one you and only so many hours in the day. It will be easier to accomplish two goals as opposed to five goals. Also, you won’t end up burned out because you only accomplished two out of five goals. Of course, once you accomplish one goal, you can move on to the next one.
Think you can answer emails while talking on the phone? Think again. While it is possible to do multitask simple tasks, like going through your snail mail while listening to voicemail message. The more complex the task, the more your full attention is needed. When you give tasks your full attention, they are completed more quickly and with fewer errors. Take the time to do something right the first time.
The next time an email or social media alert catches your eye, pause and ask yourself if this will help you to do your daily tasks. If they answer is no, ignore it and get back to the task at hand. This isn’t just for emails that come in. Say that you learn of an office space that is for rent. Before even making an appointment to see the space, ask yourself if you really need the space and if you can afford the new space. Not every opportunity will lead to success, so looking before you leap (or signing that check) will help to both avoid things that don’t work and to be more open to things that will work.
If you really want to accomplish something, don’t do everything that comes up. Pick and choose your tasks and then you’ll get things done.