As a health practitioner, you’re probably familiar with the challenges of juggling client care, administrative tasks, and the constant pressure to grow your practice. If you feel physically and mentally drained at the end of the day, with a lingering sense that you could have accomplished more, you’re not alone.
But what if a few simple adjustments to your daily routine could transform your energy levels, productivity and enhance your mindset?
In the words of BJ Fogg:
“There are 3 ways to change behaviour: have an epiphany, change environment, change habits in tiny ways.”BJ Fogg, author of Tiny Habits
This article might be your epiphany, giving you the space to make shifts to your work and home environments that allow you to change your habits in lasting ways.
And we’re all for changing habits in tiny (and sustainable) ways.
Stay with us as we unpack 7 achievable daily habits that can have a profound impact on health practitioner productivity. Implementing these habits will help enhance your productivity, increase your focus on what truly matters, and ultimately give you a greater sense of control over your professional life.
Habit #1: Wake Up Early & Start the Day with Intention
Start your day early and with a clear sense of intention. This might be one of the most powerful foundations you can lay for a productive and purposeful day.
By waking up earlier than usual, you create valuable time for yourself to prepare mentally and physically, allowing for a smooth transition into your work routine.
Here are a few strategies to help you make the most of your mornings:
Set Daily Goals for Your Practice
Before you dive into the demands of the day, take a few quiet moments to establish clear goals for your practice, focusing on tasks, projects, or improvements you wish to accomplish.
These task-oriented goals can flow from larger or long-term goals and will give you a tangible sense of progress on a daily level.
Try writing down your goals or using a digital task management tool to keep them on track and easily accessible – rank goals based on urgency and importance to guide your daily activities effectively.
When you take the time to define your goals, you create a visual sense of direction and purpose, ensuring that your efforts align with your overarching objectives.
Go to Bed At the Right Time
This seems obvious, doesn’t it? Nevertheless, even as healthcare practitioners, we can underestimate the importance of quality sleep.
Waking up early requires getting enough restorative sleep, which starts with going to bed at the appropriate hour. Aim for a consistent sleep schedule that allows you to get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep each night.
When you have an established bedtime routine, it signals to your body and mind that it’s time to wind down and prepare for rest. Create a peaceful sleep environment by eliminating distractions like electronic devices and incorporating relaxation techniques like reading or meditation.
Quality sleep will enhance your focus, concentration, and overall well-being, enabling you to tackle the day’s challenges with energy and clarity.
Habit #2: Rank Tasks in Order of Priority & Use Time Blocking
You’ve established your intentions and have your daily goals written up – now to manage your tasks and time effectively.
A proven and powerful approach is to rank your tasks from highest priority to least urgent and implement time blocking to focus on specific activities each day.
How does time-blocking work?
Allocate dedicated blocks of time for different areas of focus in your practice. This way, you avoid the overwhelm of trying to tackle everything at once.
For example, Monday from 8-10 am could be marketing, Tuesday could be accounting, Wednesday could be referral management… you get the picture!
Dividing your work week into themed days and blocks of time allows you to concentrate on specific aspects of your practice, providing structure and focus for you and your team.
Habit #3: Design Your Day Around Your Personal Rhythm
This is one of the most effective and underused productivity strategies around.
Understanding and leaning into your personal energy level cycle – or ultradian rhythm – throughout the day can have a positive effect on increasing your productivity as a healthcare practitioner.
Take some time to plot your peak performance periods (when is your energy and mental acuity sharpest?) and exploit these energy windows by doing more complex or daunting tasks during those times.
Here are some key points to consider when designing your day according to your unique needs:
- Allocate your tasks according to when you’re most productive.
Do you prefer to ease into the day, or are you most energetic in the morning? Take some time to reflect on your energy patterns and identify when you feel most alert, focused, and energized. If you’re a morning person, exploit this by tackling your most challenging and important tasks during the early hours when your mind is fresh. On the other hand, if you need time to ease into the day, start with lighter or more routine tasks to gradually build momentum.
- Structure your workday in line with your energy levels.
Do you prefer a short lunch and wrapping up the day earlier or a longer lunch and returning later to finish up? Be mindful of your natural flow and plan your day accordingly.
- Take breaks and practice self-care.
We know: you’ve probably heard a lot about self-care by now. But taking intentional, scheduled breaks is essential for maintaining productivity and preventing burnout. Use this time to practice self-care activities that uplift your spirits, such as stretching or mindfulness exercises.
- Include treats/highlights in the day you’ll enjoy and look forward to.
A good strategy for delivering quality work throughout the day is to allow your brain short periods of indulgence in small treats or seemingly trivial highlights that bring joy and motivation. For example, set aside 15 minutes to scroll through social media (keep this time capped, though), walk outside, call a friend, read a chapter of a book, or listen to a podcast that interests you.
Habit #4: Cultivate Gratitude & Positive Thinking
Choosing gratitude and adopting a positive mindset can have a profound impact on your overall well-being and productivity as a health practitioner. In challenging times, it becomes even more crucial to focus on the positives and shift your perspective toward gratitude and recognition of your achievements.
With gratitude and positive thinking, you can foster a mindset that empowers you to navigate challenges with resilience and maintain the habits that bolster productivity in your practice.
Affirmations and gratitude practices provide a practical foundation for a positive outlook.
What do affirmations look like?
You can tailor your affirmations to suit your own needs, but we’ve also created a few that you can apply or use as inspiration here.
Habit #5: Set Boundaries & Practice Saying No
The ability to set boundaries is essential for health practitioners to maintain productivity and sustain personal well-being. Learning to say no is part and parcel of this skill.
When you establish clear boundaries, you can better manage your energy and serve your clients, as it allows you to protect your focus, ensuring that you can continue to provide quality care and professionalism.
What does setting a boundary look like in practice?
An example might be setting up 50-minute appointment times, which lets you insert a 10-minute buffer between appointments. This gives you space to tidy up notes and gather yourself for your next appointment, allowing you to stay calm and prepared.
As a health practitioner, you may encounter requests or obligations that can overwhelm your schedule or stretch your capacity beyond a healthy limit.
If a request or task doesn’t align with your goals or values, or if it would impede your ability to deliver quality care, it’s okay to politely decline or negotiate a more manageable arrangement.
Habit #6: Look After Your Health
It’s well-known that healthcare practitioners are at high risk for poor health. The chronic stress and long hours of the healthcare profession can make it difficult to maintain robust personal health.
But, when you focus on your physical and mental health, you equip yourself with the energy and resilience needed to thrive in your profession.
Get the Basics Right
Good hygiene, maintaining a nutritious diet, and staying hydrated throughout the day – this is the easiest place to start. With a little planning, you can ensure that you’re eating a balanced diet and drinking enough water.
Quality sleep is vital for your overall well-being and productivity. Aim to establish Habit #1 from this article to achieve at least 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. Good sleep hygiene will improve your focus, concentration, and overall cognitive performance, allowing you to approach each day with clarity and vitality.
Get Outside & Get Sunlight
As a healthcare professional, you’ll know that spending time outdoors and getting sunlight offers numerous benefits for your health. Sunlight exposure helps regulate your body’s internal clock, promotes vitamin D synthesis, and enhances mood. Use short scheduled breaks during your day to step outside, breathe in fresh air, and soak up some natural sunlight.
Consider incorporating outdoor activities like walking or exercising into your routine to further reap the physical and mental health benefits of being in nature. Regular exercise can also boost your mood and energy levels, so find a physical activity you enjoy and incorporate it into your routine.
Take Positive Steps
Take proactive steps to maintain your mental and emotional well-being. This tends to have a cumulative effect because you know you’re actively supporting your health, which leads to greater joy (and maybe even the ability to relax).
Consider seeking support from a mentor, joining a professional community, or engaging in regular self-reflection to nurture your professional growth and maintain a positive mindset.
Habit #7: Have a System
Establish a system for managing your tasks and tracking your progress. This is instrumental in boosting productivity and maintaining focus as a health practitioner. Develop a structured approach to allow you to stay on top of things, prepare effectively, and have a clear overview of your accomplishments.
Consider implementing the following strategies to create a system that works for you:
Create a Ta-Da! List
A “Ta-da!” list builds on the idea of a traditional to-do list by specifically tracking your completed tasks.
A Ta-da! list is a simple yet powerful tool that helps you acknowledge your achievements and stay motivated. At the end of each day, review your to-do list and transfer completed tasks to your Ta-da! list.
This visual representation of your accomplishments can provide a sense of fulfilment and encourage you to keep up the momentum. It also helps combat the feeling of never doing enough and boosts your confidence as you acknowledge your progress.
Track Your Progress
Track your progress to help you to maintain productivity.
Implementing a tracking system allows you to monitor your progress and identify areas where you can improve your productivity. This can be done using various methods, such as productivity apps, digital or physical planners, or even a simple spreadsheet.
Remember that finding the right system may require experimentation and adjustments to suit your workflow and preferences. Regularly evaluate your system to identify any bottlenecks or areas for improvement. As you refine your system, you’ll find that it becomes an invaluable tool in helping you enhance your productivity as a healthcare practitioner.
Concluding Thoughts on Health Practitioner Productivity
Throughout this article, we’ve explored daily habits that can help health practitioners enhance productivity. From setting goals and time-blocking to ensuring self-care and practicing gratitude, each habit contributes to a well-rounded approach.
Boosting productivity as a health practitioner requires an approach that aligns with your unique preferences and needs. Find what works best for you and develop a system that supports your productivity and well-being.
As Gretchen Rubin wisely said, “We won’t make ourselves more creative and productive by copying other people’s habits, even the habits of geniuses; we must know our own nature and what habits serve us best.”
By embracing personally tailored strategies and leveraging time-saving tools like Power Diary, you can refine your productivity, enhance your professional performance, and achieve a healthier work-life balance. Try Power Diary for free for 14 days!