It's your time.

time management work life balance

It’s not uncommon to hear practice owners talking and saying that they just can’t find the time…. to attend courses, to send out emails to clients, or to arrange special events that can help grow the practice. Everyone knows that being a Vet involves a busy lifestyle juggling multiple responsibilities. Practice owners have the added responsibility of running a successful business. So is there any wonder that they feel as though they never have time to do anything extra? 

Do you need more time in your day? 

While you may constantly feel that, yes you do need more time in your day, here’s something to consider. Time is the one constant, the one equaliser in this world. No one person, no matter how rich, how poor or how talented they are, has any more time than anyone else. Everyone has the same twenty four hours in a day, seven days in a week and 365 days in a year. 

So how do some people manage to get through so much and others feel that they never have enough time to do anything? It’s simple – some people know the value of their time and what’s really important to them and they prioritise their life accordingly. 

Think of it this way. What is it in your day that you love doing most? Where you feel the most productive and get the most satisfaction at work? Where do you feel as though you’re adding the most value to the business? Is it when you’re consulting with patients, doing surgery or mentoring junior Vets? 

The next step is to consider what the tasks are that you hate doing, and that you keep putting off, like admin, filing or even consulting. If you don’t enjoy doing something, chances are that you aren’t actually putting in your best effort so the task drags on taking up even more time than it should. This is when you start to feel unproductive and frustrated. 

Is it worth your time? 

Some time management experts suggest assigning a value to your time and the tasks that you can take on. What this exercise highlights is that some tasks are literally not worth your time, especially if they can be easily designated to someone else. 

Take for example admin. Instead of spending 5 hours at the end of every month trying to catch up, consider hiring a temp admin person who can take on those admin tasks with far greater efficiency than you can. It’ll be money well spent. 

If you’re finding mentoring junior Vets more rewarding than consulting, then maybe it’s time to step back, allow the junior Vets to do more consulting and you enjoy more of a mentoring role. Doing this provides an opportunity for junior vets to gain more experience, it can free up a lot of your time and leave you feeling more satisfied at the end of a work week. Plus it can help you achieve other business objectives such as growing the practice. 

Achieving balance 

A key mistake people make when trying get better at time management is to look at their diary and try fill every slot so that they can be more productive. But this seldom works out. Research shows that reduced work hours with more breaks actually increases productivity. In the same way assigning time off or leisure time can actually help you to become more productive. So yes, you can stop feeling guilty about the fifteen minutes you spend with your cup of tea reading the newspaper in the morning. That down time is hugely beneficial in helping you feel you’re achieving more.  

If you want to get more productive in your workday, then it means changing how you think about time and what’s important to spend your time doing. Once you shift those things, it can take the pressure off and then you can start to feel as though you have more hours in the day.

Do you have any helpful hints that you’d like to share with colleagues on time management? We’d love to hear from you, and how you’ve been able to make time work for you.