How to be a Time Lord
Managing time is a key step in gaining productivity in what you do. No matter how hard you try, you have only twenty four hours in the day, and as such, time is a non-renewable resource. One of the most valuable things in life and business comes down to managing time, since time is unforgiving. Want to do more at work and grow your practice? You will need to make the most of your time to make that happen. Want to spend more time with your family while having a comfortable lifestyle? Managing your time and balancing it for both personal and professional goals becomes paramount.
To be able to control time versus letting time slip by, several different options are available for an orthodontist who desires to be a time lord. A time lord controls his or her time and takes advantage of tools and skills to maximize time for both work and play.
Tick tock, measure your clock. As a time lord, it is important to first understand where you consume your time. As I mentioned, it is a non-renewable resource, so it’s use should be understood before you even plan how to improve your time management. Have you ever taken stock of where you consume your time? Time sinks are around every corner. In an orthodontic practice, we are bombarded with many things. It seems all things need to be taken care of, and with additional distractions such as email and social media, time becomes a valuable commodity.
It is critical to understand and measure where you spend your time on a daily basis. Measure your time with tasks and digital workflow. Measure your time in procedures and consultations. All of these tasks that keep us occupied each day. Analyze the usage of time on these and review where your current priorities lie. The amount of time you spend on each task will make it clear. Are those priorities in alignment with the things you hold important and valuable both personally and professionally? In a business sense, your productivity per hour greatly depends on your expenditure of time in what gives you and your practice the greatest output.
Find a Fix
For every problem, there is a solution. Once you have determined where time is spent, find a way to fix the tasks that waste time and don’t contribute to your professional and personal goals. Many of us can easily save time by delegating tasks or outsourcing them. As orthodontists, our time in the office is best spent in clinical care and productive tasks that lead to the greatest returns. Time is a non-renewable resource, but money is renewable. There are many opportunities is delegating and outsourcing tasks so you can gain productivity in what you do best and where your passion lies. Invest wisely, and know your worth.
Automate to augment your time. Machine automation leverages technology to remove mundane tasks so we can focus on important tasks that only we can perform. The human factor is important to be maximized by using machines to enhance human abilities. This is where recent innovations is machine learning and AI engines can be used to maximize human potential. Productivity apps and software platforms that relieve you of menial tasks are powerful for a time lord.
Build powerful routines. There are some tasks that cannot be delegated nor automated with AI engines. In those circumstances, it is important to optimize your skills to get things done in a shorter time frame. To gain productivity and save time, it is important to optimize what we do. Building routines gain time by decreasing mental loads to redistribute brain function into higher level tasks.
Clear your head to clear time. Creating headspace can be achieved by clearing your mind of tasks and ideas that clutter your mind. Mind dumps help to relieve mental overload by taking information into reminder apps, lists, and journals. Voice AI engines such as Siri and Alexa allow for dumping those ideas and mental assets into a holding jar much like a notepad or journal could hold those thoughts for you.
Slow down time by sharpening your focus. Prioritizing which areas need your focus comes down to filtering data. Our lives are bombarded by a superabundant source of information and choices galore. A time lord can take advantage of recommendation engines to personalize the experience and leverage filters to cultivate higher quality attention at scale. A recommendation engine is a filter for content. It is based on a software platform that learns pattern recognition and focuses human attention. These engines learn our personalized preferences and narrow the focus into a smaller number of suggestions based on our unique experience. Google’s decision engines are a prime example for pattern recognition, and other platforms include Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Pandora, LinkedIn, Spotify and others. The future holds increased utility of recommendation engines in niche markets such as orthodontics. A time lord augments their focus by leveraging recommendation engines to narrow the abundant possibilities into a very personalized and custom experience.
In a world of abundance, the only scarcity is human attention.” Herbert Simon, Nobel prize winning social scientist.
Rinse and repeat. Constant and never ending improvement is another tenet of a time lord. Time is a continuing cycle, and we should continue to gain control of time as habits are developed. Keep measuring, continue finding time sinks, and renew your commitment to finding solutions.