Medical billing work requires intense attention to detail, diligence, and a passion for helping our clients grow to their maximum potential. The clients we work with also need to stay productive, working hard to keep their communities healthy!
Healthcare workers, both direct care workers and administrators like our billing team, all have long to-do lists and packed work weeks, but self-care and personal wellbeing cannot be ignored. Culturally, our workforce is obsessed with productivity, but here at Practice Management, we focus on productivity without burnout. This month, we wanted to share some of our favorite, and surprising, ways to make sure you and your team stay productive while also taking care of yourself.
1. Can this meeting be an email?
The trope of “this meeting could have been an email” has been repeatedly memed and joked about in the last few years, and we agree! Meetings are an important part of professional teamwork, but when used incorrectly, they can stifle productivity. One survey found that 67% of workers feel spending too much time in meetings keeps them from making an impact in their workplace. Having less meetings and more one-on-one collaborative conversations can not only boost productivity, but also save valuable time for your team.
2. Take short, frequent breaks
When facing deadlines, our first instinct might be to skip our breaks and work through lunch. But research suggests that 90 is the magic number – working for 90 minutes before taking a short 15–20-minute break helped people focus and keep their energy up. Another survey found that 52 minutes before a break produced the best results in the top 10% most productive workers. Either way – do not skip that break!
3. Delegate and collaborate!
Our employee team is just that – a team, designed to work together. If you are overwhelmed with too much on your plate, turn to a teammate and delegate. For this to work, teams need to have transparency about their workloads and trust their colleagues. Leaders can set an example by both delegating their own tasks as needed and offering to complete tasks for their employees when they are able. Fostering a community of teamwork and collaboration can empower your workforce to speak up when they need help, and delegating can increase the productivity of your entire team.
4. Automate where you can
Many tasks need to be completed by an employee. They require human attention to ensure they are completed correctly. However, if you find yourself repeating one or two simple tasks over and over throughout your work week, automation may help boost your productivity. Identifying the tasks that can be automated effectively ticks items off your to-do list and clears your mind so you can focus on tasks that require your specific expertise.
5. Build your day around your internal rhythms and use time blocks
While we may all share common workday hours, we are each unique when it comes to productivity during those hours. If you are familiar with the concept of Night Owls versus Early Birds, you probably are not surprised to learn that each of us have our own unique circadian rhythms. Identify the time of day when you personally are at your most productive, and structure your day around that. For example, if you are a morning person and really get going from 8:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m., block out that time for some of your more demanding or creative tasks and leave a chunk of your afternoon for slogging through emails or sitting in meetings you are not leading. Understanding and hacking into your own brain’s rhythms can help you maximize your motivation and accomplish more in the same amount of time.
Something else we love to use is time blocks. This refers to blocking out chunks of your calendar based on specific tasks. Knowing that you have blocked out an hour at the end of the day for emails helps you silence your alerts during the morning while you tackle that big project you are working on. Separating your day by projects and tasks also helps provide structure, which we love!
6. Chew gum
Keep chewing gum at your desk and dip into your stash when you need some extra focus. Chewing gum has been found to speed up your reaction time, boost cognitive abilities and help you stay alert.
Meditation has become a hot topic in the workplace wellness space recently, and there are a host of benefits associated with meditation and increased productivity. Meditation has been shown to reduce stress, calm the mind, and enhance creativity. Meditating does not need to be time consuming or difficult. Try a simple breathing exercise or search for a short, guided meditation on YouTube to gain some benefits during your workday.
8. Build a list, then do the hardest thing first
A good to-do list can work wonders for productivity! Whether you prefer pen and paper or a more technological approach, there is a solution out there that will work for you. Regardless of how you build your list, experts say you should tackle the hardest task first. Getting the least appealing task off your list first will help you stay motivated through your less energetic afternoon hours because the hardest thing is already done!
9. Set boundaries
Boundaries are of great benefit to mental health. Setting boundaries on your time and communicating them with your team can help you stay focused on projects you need to accomplish and boost your productivity at work. If there are certain hours you need to block out for a project or certain hours you would like to make yourself available for questions and collaboration, block those out on your calendar and let your team know. This will help cut down on unnecessary distractions, which research shows can take 23 minutes to recover from.
While it may seem counterintuitive, sometimes the best way to get more work done is to stop working. One study of 4,188 U.S. workers found “significantly worse productivity, performance and safety outcomes.” All-nighters are often praised as a sign of dedication and hard work, but next time you face a looming all-nighter, it might just be that the best thing you could do is to go home, get a good night of sleep, and come back refreshed and ready to go in the morning.
Which of these productivity tips do you use? Which ones are new to you?
Share this article with your coworkers and let us know what tips your employee team will implement.
If you’re thinking about implementing tip #3 and want to know how delegating your billing to Practice Management would benefit your healthcare organization, check out our Revenue Cycle Management services here or send us an email here.