You know how to plan effectively. Well, at least you have read dozens of articles on it, right? But you are alway too busy to do it. You promise yourself that as soon as things slow down, you will get right on that because its such a great idea. But either you never slow down or you go golfing instead. Either way, you end each working day in a panic, you go home exhausted with little to show for it, and whatever enthusiasm you have the next morning dissipates like political promises on E-day + 1.
The best solution is the office equivalent of radical, emergency surgery: lock the doors, put the answering machine on, turn off Outlook, and stay there until you have a Plan that will allow you to practice efficiently and effectively. Jim Calloway will outline the basics for you, if you forgotten them.
But if you cannot, will not, act so drastically, try a band-aid for today. When you think you have had it for the day, stop. Just stop. Three deep breaths. Rummage through your To Do list, the pile of files on your desk (or the floor), or even your frantically-splnning mental list. As you identify a file that MUST BE DONE, set it aside. When you have 3 files, stop. No second guessing or looking for another file that might be even more MUST BE DONE. Move every other file out of sight – not just on the corner of the desk because you will see them out of the corner of your eye and be distracted; completely out of sight (hopefully in a filing cabinet but that is for another day). Your work area is now clear except for 3 files. In no more than 10 seconds – a gut reaction – pile them with the one you fear the most on top and descending levels of fear from there.
Tomorrow, put on the answering machine and turn off email – no alerts, visual or audible. Close your door. Set an alert for 2 hours later. Work on that top file until it is under control (files are never done until they are billed and reported out – just aim for under control i.e., no more panic). If you get all 3 done before the 2 hours is up, spend the remaining time reading Jim’s article. At the end of the day, rinse and repeat – 3 more ugly files, etc. Within 10 working days, you will have everything under control and a working plan that will keep your practice that way thereafter.
Barney (Bjorn) Christianson