Use this tip and triple your efficiency (and make more $$$)
By: Dr. Phil Zeltzman
Have you noticed how we are constantly encouraged to multitask? We call clients while writing in the medical record while texting. We grab a bite to eat while talking to our colleagues while emailing. We exercise at the gym while reading a book while listening to music while watching TV while checking out hot bodies. We drive while talking on the phone while listening to the radio. If that sounds crazy, well, that’s how many of us live every day!
Yet there is mounting evidence that although it gives us the illusion of being highly efficient (and smart), multitasking leads to decreased performance and increased stress. Tim Ferris, author of “The 4-Hour Work Week” (Crown Archetype, 2009) writes that multitasking lowers our IQ faster than smoking marijuana (For the record, neither ImproMed nor the author encourages readers to use marijuana). Indeed, constantly switching from one task to the other ultimately takes more time because we need to regain momentum every time we get back into a project.
Without any question, vets in general and most people working in a vet clinic excel at multitasking. It goes with the territory. Yet sometimes, multitasking makes no sense.
The following time management pearl comes from Rick Schefren, a coach and business consultant.
Let’s say you are currently working on three different projects. I suspect we all have much more than 3 simultaneous projects, but let’s stick to 3 projects to simplify things a bit:
If you currently do none of these things, well, you still will get the general idea if you replace A, B and C by your own projects. Convinced that multitasking is the way to go, you work on projects A and B and C simultaneously.
- Project A is a promotional campaign to increase revenue from dentistry services;
- Project B is an online, multi-step course you want to take to learn a new “marketable” skill;
- Project C is your new “Biggest Loser” competition to help patients lose weight and boost your pet food sales.
Let’s agree on the following set up:
1. Each completed project will improve profits.
2. For argument’s sake, here is your work schedule for the next 3 weeks:
In other words, your work sequence would look like this: ABC ABC ABC.
3. Let’s also agree that you are super-efficient, and you complete all 3 projects at the end of week 3, and therefore you start making money at the beginning of week 4.
So by using the all-too-common ABC ABC ABC work schedule, you nibble at all 3 projects for 3 weeks, while making no money until week 4. Not too good from an efficiency and a money-making standpoint, would you agree? This leads to stress, frustration and unhappiness. You feel like you are working hard, you are pulled in multiple directions, yet you “never get anything done.”
By following the ABC ABC ABC approach, you tend to lose your mind and you definitely lose money.
Rick Schefren’s strategy is to do whatever it takes to finish project A and temporarily put B and C on the side. We will continue our assumption that it takes 1 week to complete each project. Once A is taken care of, it will start making money while you can focus on project B. Which in turn, will generate money while you wrap project C up.
Our new work schedule would look like this:
What’s your ROI in this situation?
- project A will generate a return on the time you invested for 2 weeks (weeks 2 and 3, and beyond of course but we said we’d keep it simple!);
- project B will make money for 1 week (week 3);
- project C will start generating money during week 4 (this part doesn’t change)
Therefore, by using the A B C work schedule, you will make money for a total of 3 weeks.
And remember, this is a simplistic example, with only 3 projects over 3 weeks. We could have used 3 projects over 3 months. I trust that you get the idea. In real life, we have 10 or 50 or 100 projects that we drag along for weeks, months or sometimes years. Sadly, an unfinished project cannot generate money.
This strategy is not only about making more money. ImproMed readers are not “like that.” Beyond improving your bottom line, this new approach will give you a newfound sense of sanity, efficiency and accomplishment. You will undoubtedly become more focused, energized and enthusiastic.
In other words, you will reach professional and personal bliss. And isn’t that what time management is all about?
Dr. Phil Zeltzman is a mobile, board-certified surgeon near Allentown, PA. His website is www.DrPhilZeltzman.com. He is the co-author of “Walk a Hound, Lose a Pound: How You and Your Dog Can Lose Weight, Stay Fit, and Have Fun Together (www.walkahound.com).”