It’s common knowledge that doctors have demanding schedules. Attending to each and every patient with the same level of attention and focus can be very stressful. And high stress levels have been known to result in decreased productivity and low moods. This leads to longer hours, leaving time for little else.
In this post we share some tips that could help doctors stay productive and calm with a busy schedule, allowing some time for themselves and their loved ones. Some of these tips are a one-time fix while the rest are suggestions that will yield results when inculcated in your daily practice:
Ventilation & Lighting
Studies have shown that proper lighting can increase efficiency by as much as 15% . When you put that into perspective, a doctor practising for 10 hours a day could save almost 12o minutes everyday with proper lighting. While designing your clinic, lay special emphasis on lighting and ventilation – ensure that there is ample lighting all throughout the day and also that there are unwanted reflections or glares that could distract you. At the same time, pay equal attention to getting the right ventilation. If you are going for an air-conditioned clinic, make sure that the tonnage of the cooling is in proportion to the layout and size of the clinic. Alternatively, you could have windows that facilitate cross-ventilation. Working in the right temperature can keep away drowsiness and help you stay alert.
Comfort at the Clinic
Choosing the right furniture for your clinic can go a long way in ensuring sustained productivity levels. In furniture, you get what you pay for, so less expensive alternatives will not give you the comfort or support you seek. An ideal furniture set-up would include a comfortable chair with adequate lower back and shoulder support and an ergonomic desk, with everything in easy reach.
Practice Management Software
Running a clinic has many aspects – right from maintaining patient records, scheduling appointments, generating invoices and assessing the financial health of the clinic to communicating with your patients. But of course you knew that. You also know you’d rather focus on treating your patients than taking care of all that. It is advisable for every modern clinic to sign up for a comprehensive Practice Management Software, that can help you automate most of the managerial tasks keep your clinic running day-in and day-out. The right tool can be a time-saver, increasing your productivity greatly.
Sitting in the same place for hours, treating one patient after the other could feel tedious. To stay fresh and free up your legs, take breaks at regular intervals. A break could just mean a 5-minute time off to just take a stroll along the clinic and grab a coffee or a chocolate bar. A short break could also mean calling up your loved ones just to say Hi. Set recurring alarms that go off every 45mins to an hour which will serve as an excellent reminder to take a quick break from work.
Follow a Schedule
As simple as it might sound, following a schedule does actually lead to heightened productivity and calmness during the day. When you follow a schedule, you account for all your tasks and appointments during the day. You won’t spend more than the required time allotted to each task. If you strictly follow a schedule, you can eliminate the anxiety and possibility of not making on time for a meeting. As a doctor, a schedule also helps you to assess the time required for each consultation and whether or not you are charging the right fees based on your time.
Many independent studies have labelled distraction as the single most important factor that hampers productivity. During your time at the clinic, make sure you completely block out distractions that could come in the form of phone-calls, text and instant messages, emails and even casual web browsing. All these can eat up your time your spend treating patients; forcing you to extend your work hours. It is important to have a single purpose focus and devote full concentration to the task at hand. This way your can quickly strike off stuff from your ‘To Do List” and save a lot of time.
‘Division of Labour’ has been the cornerstone for increased productivity since the industrial revolution era, and still holds true. Extending this theory to your medical practice, as a doctor you must only treat patients and leave all other chores to others, which will eventually result in you reaching out to maximum number of patients. For example, instead of driving to find lunch and in the process, wasting 30 mins on commute, you should have a help who can get your lunch to your clinic. This will give you a lot of precious time and help you concentrate on your patients than anything else. After all, you’d rather treat patients than do anything else.
All these tips will yield results the day you inculcate them as daily habits and follow them religiously. However, it might take you a couple of days to get in the groove and adhere to all of these. Nonetheless, the crux of all these tips to help you increase productivity is ‘discipline’.
We hope you find these suggestions helpful and that you’ll get back to us with your thoughts on these. Keep watching this space for more on healthcare.