Chris barrow

A big thank you to Chris Barrow for writing this post

1 . Make a list

Nowadays, lists can be kept on paper, in ring binders or on your devices (and cloud based to sync). Whichever is your preference – the first step in confidence building is to commit to making a refreshing lists every day

1.1       Find some Peace & Solitude time at the best end of your day

We all have very personal body rhythms – times of the day when we feel really “in the zone” and able to do things – whether it’s a good time to jog or a good time to think. I’m an early bird and rise at 05:00, 5 days a week, to give myself that precious “peace and solitude” time when no one can interrupt me and I can prepare for the day ahead.

1.2       A, B, C the list

Establish your priorities each and every day.

A = must be done today

B = would be nice if it got done today

C = if it doesn’t get done that’s fine

1.3       Do the A’s first

This is the difficult bit. Often the temptation is to “just get rid of that long list of C’s and B’s – because they are all individually easy and quick” – thinking that you can rattle off al that easy stuff and then focus on the A. The A’s are also frequently things we don’t enjoy doing. It’s a big mistake to leave the A’s until last.


2. Create Boundaries

We all have our own priorities – and people will want to interrupt you to deal with theirs – so its important to create some safe places and times when you can get on with your own stuff.

2.1       Create some buffer time each day

My personal best time is very early in the morning – I create a sanctuary by simply getting up before most other people! I have worked with many night owls who can function well when everyone else has gone to bed. Whatever your body clock tells you – listen.

2.2       This is when I can be disturbed

Make sure that everyone in your immediate world know when you peace and solitude time is and (even though it may be early or late) explain when they can and can not disturb you – and what for.

2.3       This is when I cannot be disturbed

Be bold about refusing disturbances in your protected time (except for agreed genuine emergencies). Don’t answer the phone or the door!

3. Understand the difference (and the correct order)

The late Stephen Covey explained in his book “First Things First” (a great work on time management) that tasks can fall into one of four quadrants and that understanding their differences and the order of importance is critical

3.1       Not Urgent but Important

This doesn’t have to be done to meet a deadline today but it is of huge significance in your strategic development

3.2       Urgent and Important

This simply needs to be done today to fulfill a promise made to yourself or others.

3.3       Not Important but Urgent

This is probably meeting another person’s deadline, not your own.

3.4       Not Important or Urgent

This can wait.

4. Delegation

To know what to do yourself and what to give away is perhaps a game-changer in time management. There will NEVER be enough hours in the day for you to get everything done.  Its not the quantity of things that you do that matters, its the quality of the things that you do. Knowing what to delegate is crucial. Knowing how to delegate is equally important.

4.1       Clear Direction

Be very clear about what you want doing – leave nothing to speculation. Be especially clear on numbers and dates.

4.2       Deadline

Ensure that the person you have delegated to knows exactly when you want the task completed and be reasonable in your expectations.

4.3       Don’t interrupt

Once you have delegated a task to someone, don’t pester him or her for updates – trust them to complete on time.

4.4       Blame a system, not a person

If it goes wrong, make an enquiry into what systems need to be improved, not who is to blame.

4.5       This is how you will know you have done well

Make sure that the person(s) you delegate to know exactly how they will be sure that they have accomplished their task.

5. Teams

The most successful business owners are those who build the best teams around themselves. Teams can be internal or external. Teams have to be well informed on your vision, mission, roles and goals – so that they can be fully committed to helping you.

5.1       30-minutes a day of team review

Every day, hold a meeting with your key team members to review what happened yesterday and how we will know if today is a good one.

5.2       Weekly reflection

Review what worked, what didn’t and how we need to change our systems for the better.

5.3       Monthly management

Review performance across all the systems in your business:

  • financial
  • lead generation
  • lead conversion
  • the patient experience
  • treatment planning
  • operational
  • governance
  • teamwork

5.4       Quarterly training

Review your last 90-day goals and establish your next 90–day goals.

5.5       Annual celebration and strategy

Review last year’s business plan and achievements. Reveal next years business plan, targets and rewards.

6. Create environments

I do my best work in the physical surrounding that nourishes me the most. I love my office in the basement at home “The Barrow Bunker” but also enjoy working in busy coffee bars and hotels.

6.1       Where is your Bunker?

Your home office/den or bunker is a safe place where you can work and play, allow interruptions or block them. Surround yourself with things that make you feel confident. Keep it today and everything in tip-top working order.

7. Reporting

Count things. Measure progress. Tick boxes. Update spreadsheets. Record metrics. Celebrate progress.