Are you struggling with finding the right balance between your practice and your life? Well, you are not alone. You are in good company!
Many Nurse Practitioner practice owners have difficulty striking a balance when getting starting. And some Nurse Practitioners continue to struggle for years into their practice.
So what’s the problem?
First off, let me acknowledge that owning and operating a healthcare practice is no walk in the park!
Starting your practice is challenging and demanding of your time. And even once your practice is up and running, it takes ongoing toil and dedication to keep it humming along.
That’s even more of a challenge if you work alone or have a small staff to help you get work done.
So what’s the answer? How can you thrive in an environment that often seems to suck the life out of you?
Time To Return…
If you’re finding yourself stuck in overwhelm and stress, with too much to do, it’s time to go back to the basics.
Set aside a block of time, sit down, and answer these questions:
- What are my goals for my practice?
- Am I working toward my goals?
- Do my employees support the goals of the practice?
- Do I have a clear plan of action?
- Is my office well organized?
- Do I have the right systems in place?
- What areas of my practice are working well?
- What areas of my practice need attention?
- How can I improve these areas?
Frequently, practice owners continue to struggle because they overlooked setting up key areas of their business when they first started.
Consequently, they’re busy putting out fires instead of planning what to do next; they run their practices reactive instead of proactive.
When you’re constantly putting out fires, you’ll feel stressed and overwhelmed. Not a good place to be!
So how can you shut the door on reaction and step into pro-action?
… By getting organized, implementing systems that help get the job done, and getting extra help is necessary.
Once you do this, it’ll be easier to keep track of what’s happening in your practice, and you’ll spot problem areas needing your attention.
Organize For Success
This includes both, your work and your personal life. Because if you lack organization and efficiency in your personal life, it will follow you to the office, every day, guaranteed.
Organization starts in the mind. If you’re not clear on what you want or need to do, your environment will reflect it. So get clear on your goals.
What do you need to do to get organized?
Clean up a messy car? Organize your garage? Clean out your closet? Put your home office in order?
Clean up your desk? Finish filing paperwork? Deal with email and correspondence? Organize your hard drive? Get back to weekly staff meetings? Or clean up your AR, so it’ll be easier to track?
Create a list of all the things you need to do to get organized … and get it done!
Also, try to work more efficiently, including:
- Batching up tasks that can get handled all at once, e., phone calls
- Limiting interruptions, e., getting interrupted when doing charts
- Be decisive. Don’t over think, but make a decision.
- Address problem behaviors at once, e., problem behaviors with staff or yourself.
- Always plan ahead: a little planning at the beginning will save you a lot of time in the long run.
Implementing effective systems in your practice may well be the key to lasting success. It will also help reduce your levels of stress and overwhelm.
While it takes time and effort to systematize all repetitive tasks in your practice, it’ll be well worth the time and effort in the long run.
Just think of a company like Starbucks. For the most part, you can get the same cup of Java no matter if you’re in Dallas or Seattle.
How is that possible? … Systems!
Having solid systems in place allow Starbucks to deliver consistent results to their customers. And that’s what you want as well, consistent results.
Unfortunately, many new and small business owners don’t see the benefit of creating systems in their business. After all, they have no intention of branching out into multiple stores or locations.
But that’s just one benefit of creating systems; other benefits include:
- Produce consistent outcomes.
- Train new employees easily and effectively.
- Create clear expectations for employees.
- Create higher levels of customer satisfaction.
- Increase productivity and revenues in your practice.
- Reduce costly mistakes and omissions.
- Reduce wasted time and money.
- Make it easier to track results.
- Improve your practice at all levels of performance
If you find yourself up against something and you just don’t seem to be able to get a handle on it, perhaps it’s time to get some help.
Here are some of your options:
- Hire an additional staff person, e., your office is growing, and you need more help at the front desk.
- Turn to an expert to get help with a project or a problem area, e., setting up your bookkeeping, or updating your website.
- Outsource a task that’s not handled effectively by your office, or you don’t want to handle in-house, e., billing, or sending out a digital newsletter.
Do I think it’s possible to take the stress and overwhelm out of a small healthcare practice? Yes, at least to a certain degree.
However, there’ll always be some low-level of stress … It just comes with the territory. But it doesn’t have to be the type of stress that has you pulling out your hair and losing sleep night after night.
Implementing all or some of the changes discussed can make the difference between a practice that consumes your life and one that nourishes your life.
What are your thoughts? Share them with all of us by leaving your comment below.
By Johanna Hofmann, MBA; regular contributor to the NPBusiness blog and author of “Smart Business Planning for Clinicians.”