Personal productivity is all about working smarter, not harder. It’s about managing time and organising day-to-day tasks in a way that enables us to get the most out of the day. This means applying simple principles to our everyday work that, when incorporated as common practice, make a huge difference in what we are able to accomplish effectively in any given day; allowing us to accomplish our daily goals while also maintaining a healthy work-life balance. As many of our GP Partners can attest, the personal productivity principles shared in our New to Partnership Programme here at Xytal can have a positive impact not only professionally, but also on a personal level when applied to private lives as well.
In designing our New to Partnership Programme, our extensive research has shown what national reports have been saying for quite some time: that one of the biggest stressors for GP Partners is managing their everyday workload, which can feel quite massive. New GP partners are taking on many new roles and responsibilities and so are faced with many new demands on their time. This causes many partners huge amounts of stress and frustration and an inability to manage it all effectively leads some to leave the profession altogether. This is why learning personal productivity skills and strategies is important for new partners. We understand that anything we can do here at Xytal to help our new GP Partners learn to build their workday effectively will make a real difference for them in the long run.
When asking our partners in the programme why personal productivity is important for them, the most common answer from so many is that they just feel overwhelmed, that they want to have a “good day” every day, and that they’d like to be able to leave at a reasonable time at the end of every day. Along with managing patient care, GP Partners are tasked with leading and supporting the staff as well managing the finances and the business itself. So, it’s not hard to understand why so many feel a sense of overwhelm and are eager to learn practical ways to manage themselves and their own working days so that the added workload doesn’t feel quite as daunting.
Work-life balance is an important consideration as well. Many young partners have children and it’s very important to be able go home and be with the family each evening after the working day is done, rather than having to stay in the office working late after hours, night after night. Helping each partner to maximize productivity within the small amount of time they have to get everything done will allow them to complete the tasks of the day and also sustain a fulfilling personal life outside of the practice.
When partners attend our sessions, we start off by asking them what a “good day” looks like for them from start to finish. That way they can begin with specific objectives in mind, such as happy patients, being able to get things done, having time for much needed breaks throughout the day, and being able to leave work on time. The next step is to identify what is getting in the way of having that good day. One of the most common answers to that is the many interruptions and “knocks on the door” that tend to happen at inopportune times throughout the day, interrupting work-flow and hindering timely completion of tasks.
Using the tools and strategies provided during our personal productivity sessions, one of our GP partners in attendance was able to collect some basic data to help identify clearly the type and frequency of interruptions that tend to happen throughout his day. Equipped with a better understanding of why those interruptions continue to happen in such a disruptive way, he was then able to plan dedicated time into his workday during which he makes himself available to practice staff and other members of his team who need him to answer questions, sign urgent prescriptions, etc.
By building time into his day specifically for interruptions, the effect is that they are no longer interruptions but rather a planned part of the day. Now, rather than fielding knocks at the door at every hour, this partner has space to focus on one task at a time. Not only has this reduced his daily stress levels significantly, he is now able to more fully focus on each part of the day that needs his attention and he finds his work is more effective overall. His staff and team members also feel the benefit since they now have more confidence in approaching him knowing there is dedicated time during the day when their needs/concerns will be addressed, rather than being left hovering outside the door waiting for an opportune moment.
During the personal productivity sessions included in Xytal’s New to Partnership Programme, we’re here to help our practice partners improve their personal productivity. We provide the support and the tools to help them explore their working day – what’s good, what’s bad, what’s hindering that “good day” for them (like the dreaded interruptions) and offering strategies to help them get the most out of their day such as how they can become even smarter with some of the high volume daily jobs they need to do such as managing tasks and emails. Our supportive environment means that partners are also empowered to share ideas and strategies with one another. Some of the other topics/strategies we cover/teach are “practice what you preach” (which is much like what it sounds), and the importance of regular “bio-breaks” for remaining productive throughout the day and maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
If you feel you and your practice could benefit from what we have to offer, we would love to have you join us! Book a free initial consultation with our team here.
If you’ve enjoyed reading this, watch out for our next blog on Team Productivity – how productivity principles can help us when working with others.
This blog was written by Sophie Dunwell.