Planning The Working Day

In our earlier article ‘Mobile data – changing lives’ we commented about the global sleep crisis and the way in which our sleeping patterns are changing in response to societal pressure. Now another study has raised some interesting insights into the effect which getting up early may have on our lives.

Commissioned by Hillarys Blinds, the survey examined whether work patterns and outcomes were different for those who got up before and after 7am.  Interestingly, the research revealed that average salaries for the 37% of respondents who got up before 7am amounted to £36,500 whilst average salaries for those arising later came in at £21,300. Early risers were also likely to have had more jobs than those getting up later; eleven for early risers against five for late risers.

On the negative side, when asked what they did first thing in morning, those getting up before 7am are most likely to turn their attention first to work tasks. What is not clear from the study is whether this means that getting up early in order to work results in obtaining a higher salary, or whether higher salaries naturally come with the downside of a higher workload.

Either way, unless the early start also comes with an early finish, those putting in excess hours at the beginning of the day simply in order to stay ahead would do well to reappraise their working practices. For those in health practices who need to stay mentally sharp in order to best help their patients, cutting down on excess working hours is not only recommended but a necessity. And there are plenty of options available to those who want to work smarter rather than harder.

Let’s start with client appointments. Admittedly you are unlikely to be returning client calls at seven in the morning but are you stuck doing early paperwork because so much of your free time during the day is taken up with appointment calls? Simply by offering an online booking service or switching calls to a virtual assistant service can mean that your diary is taken care of whilst you take care of your patients.

And what about patient notes; do you really have to spend all that time in filing notes from the previous day and in searching out patient details for today’s set of appointments? By moving to an electronic filing system your patient notes are there at the touch of a button; adding precious time to your day and clearing paperwork out of your office at the same time.

Of course, with cash flow being the lifeblood of any business you could be getting up early in order to raise and send out invoices for the previous day’s appointments. Or, you could adopt an electronic card payment system which takes payment details at the time of booking and automatically collects payment once the appointment is over. The other advantage of this service is that it enables you to take a fee even in the event of no-shows, making your time more productive. And if you want to cut down further on no-shows then sending out appointment reminders by SMS text linked to your booking service is a good way of helping to ensure that patients either attend or cancel in good time, thereby enabling you to rebook the appointment slot.

Even if you are a natural early riser there are much better ways to be spending the early hours of the morning, other than work. Get some exercise, listen to or play some music, take photographs of the dawn…; in other words spend your time getting yourself mentally and physically fit for the day. You will benefit, your patients will benefit and in the long run your business will benefit too.