Practical Practice Management

The Art Of Gratitude

We hear a lot about being more grateful and how it can change our outlook on life.  How can you do this?  I was listening to a podcast the other day and it mentioned that there was a study done by a team of researches at the University of Indiana, that showed if you just wrote down three things each day/evening that you were grateful for, for 21 days, that you would increase your level of optimism. (See link below for article referencing this study)

Over the past several years I have practice a habit of stating out loud three things I am grateful for each day as I drive to work.  I turn off the radio and ponder various things I am grateful for and then pick three for the day and state them out loud.

Recently, after doing a bit of reading on the study of being grateful I began a practice of sitting quietly with my eyes shut for three minutes and stating all of the things I am grateful for out loud.  At first, I thought three minutes was a long time, but now it passes so quickly that I am going to move my time to five minutes.  I have read about people who do this for an hour or more and would think “how could I do this” but now I am starting to think differently.

What changed?  I have found that this practice gives me a sense of being grounded in what I really believe and what I am truly grateful for.  By taking more time to be grateful I have to think more and have been able to dig deeper into my heart instead of just scratching the surface of gratefulness.  I think of things that I never would have thought I would think of and then can take a few moments to realize what my life would be like without them and how grateful I am for them.

I feel good and I feel more connected with myself and what I value.  I also am beginning to see that developing a practice of gratefulness is having a positive affect on who I desire to be.

If you have not considered this habit or tried it, I encourage you to try the 21-day challenge of being grateful.

Increase Your Optimism With Gratitude

 

Be well,

Tina

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Take Time To Care

With the hustle and busyness of our day-to-day lives, we can so easily forget to take time to care for others.  I know for myself that there have been times when I heard that someone I know or work with is having difficulties and my first thought is “I don’t have time to get involved.”  When in truth, it would only take a small amount of time to reach out and see how they are and to let them know that I care about them.

The second truth is when I do reach out, not only does the person respond with gratefulness, but I am the one who truly gets the blessing.  I encourage you to take the time to care, it is what we are here to do.

“It is an absolute human certainty that no one can know his own beauty or perceive a sense of his own worth until it has been reflected back to him in the mirror of another loving, caring human being.” ~ John Joseph Powell

 

Be well,

Tina

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3 Key Attributes Of A Great Employee

I have managed a medical practice for 22 years now and I am always grateful for employees that have that desire to be the best they can be each day.  The way I think is ‘why come to work if you are not going to bring your best you to perform?’  No employer wants to pay 100% pay for an employee who performs 75% of what is expected.

Employees that get this and do it are so valuable to a company and should be recognized and rewarded for their effort to do their best each day.  To some people this mindset is a given, possible they were taught this throughout their childhood or maybe they had a great mentor at a prior job.  For others, they need the opportunity given to them to learn this, because it will benefit them throughout their working life.

There are so many attributes that make a great employee, but below are three that you can begin with. You can learn them for yourself, or if you are a manager or employer, you can begin to teach your employees about them so that they may increase their value to your business.

  1. Always be willing to pitch in and take advantage to learn new things – The more you learn and master the more valuable you are to the business.  This also shows your employer that you are a team player and want to learn whatever you can to move the team in the right direction and to help your coworkers.
  2. Do not think that you are above or below any task – Even though I have worked every position in the practice as I moved up to manager, you will still find me checking the patient bathrooms and cleaning them if necessary or wiping up the floor and cleaning instruments after a patient leaves a treatment room.  It takes everyone helping out and doing whatever must be done to keep the patient flow going and to get all tasks completed. (Also, what would my employees think if I refused to do the same tasks that have been assigned to their job duties?)
  3. Always be attentive – A very valuable asset for any employee is the ability to think in advance and anticipate what may be needed to get their job done or to help others to get their job done. When you see a need jump in and help if you can.  Your coworkers will praise you and thank you and you will be a valuable asset to your company.

Learn and practice these three things and I can guarantee you that you will not only feel great because you are going the extra mile to be a high performer, but your actions will be noticed by all that you work with.

 

Keep moving forward,

Tina

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Be Kind To Yourself And Have A Plan

Happy New Year! It is that time of year again when many people make commitments for change in their lives.  It is estimated that 80% of New Year’s resolutions are broken by February. The problem is once a person fails to keep their resolution they quit instead of starting again until they are successful.

It is important to have a “Never give up” attitude if we really want to make a change.

Here are 12 tips I found to help to make successful changes.

  • Make it non-negotiable
  • Make it actionable – to succeed you must know the steps to where you are going
  • Have solutions for your usual excuses – refuse to succumb to your usual excuses
  • If you procrastinate set a deadline
  • Schedule it in – if your change requires time, schedule it in
  • Do it daily “routine”- make it a habit
  • Monitor your progress – keep a log of how you are doing
  • Focus on the horizon – look how far you have come, not how much you have left to do
  • Take one choice at a time – I am choosing to do
  • Find someone who is doing what you want to do and imitate them
  • Teach it to someone else – walk the talk
  • Treat yourself kindly (This is an important part of making successful changes over time)

Treat yourself kindly:

We are just humans, we make mistakes, and we forget and mess up. Every day we are dealing with the challenges of growth. Two steps forward, one step back. We are not and will never be perfect and that is okay. Be kind to yourself and your self-kindness will begin to overflow on those around you and it will also make you stronger and more committed to your efforts in change. Remember to realize that those you encounter are a lot like you….be kind…life is too short not to.

The Virtual Practice Management Institute

Be well,

Tina

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A Work Ethic Lesson I Learned From My Mother

I posted this blog several years ago and was reminded of the lesson I learned from my mother as I began training a new employee last week.  It is important that we develop good training systems and programs in our workplace to not only make the business run better but to teach valuable work standards to our employees.

When I was a young girl my mother would have chores that each of my siblings and I needed to complete each Saturday morning while she was at the beauty shop getting her hair done.  She would write out the list with each of our names by the chores that we were to do.  When I was very young I had to take out the trash, fold some clothes and pick up my room.

My sister who was older got to clean the bathrooms. I couldn’t wait until I was old enough to do this “glorious job.” Then the day came when I graduated to cleaning the bathrooms.  Now my mother was a smart woman and she took time to show me, in detail, what needed to be done and how she expected it to look when it was done- I knew that my job would be inspected when she got home.

I really wanted to please my mom so I tried really hard to get it all right the first time.  I did miss a few things and when she got home, she did not have a problem letting me know what was not done to her expectations.  She took the time to watch me do the tasks until I could perform them correctly.  She set a standard and it needed to be upheld.

Over time I was able to get those bathrooms clean and pass the inspection with flying colors, but even though I could do a good job, my mother still would look it over to make sure I did not slack off.  My mother was creating in me good work habits that I would be able to take with me through my whole life and I am very thankful for this.

You might be asking yourself what does this has to do with working in a medical office, restaurant or retail store? Good management personnel need to manage their employees in the same way that my mother did with me when it comes to performance expectations. We need to not only communicate clearly what the job expectations are, but we need to demonstrate how we expect them to be done.

Have training sheets with itemized tasks and goals for each employee to be able to review and work from.  Also, make sure you take the time to show them how each task is to be done to meet the employers’ expectations.   Just saying “clean the bathroom” does not cut it because their idea of what clean is could be totally different from your idea. By having directions and inspections for each task you can ensure that the job is being completed correctly.

Employees will be happier because they will know what is expected from them and management will be happier because the standard has been set and taught. Another good reason for having tasks and directions written is that it makes it much easier for review when something does fall through the cracks, you just have the staff member get out their training sheet and there it is in black and white making the job expectations easy to complete.

I am very thankful to my mother for the great training and work foundation she instilled in me at a young age, it has made my work life so much easier.

 

Keep moving forward,

Tina

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Living A Meaningful Life

Living a meaningful life in every moment sounds difficult, but in reality, we are living in each moment anyway.

How hard is it to make them meaningful?

Be well, Tina

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Are We Doomed To Keep Making The Same Mistakes?

As I was reading Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carole” the other day and I realized that there were many lessons to be learned from dear old Ebenezer Scrooge.  Far too often we get stuck thinking about the mistakes we have made in the past, so much, that our present is spent dwelling in grief, excuses and frustration.

Mr. Scrooge feared the visits from the three Christmas ghosts, but he was a smart man and in the end, he learned one important lesson well.  May we each learn this lesson and make 2019 a wonderful year and look forward to a future of learning, growing and doing good things for others!

Happy Holidays to you all ~ Tina

Top Practices Virtual Practice Management Institute

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What Do You Do With Stink Bombs?

Problems are bound to come up, if it is not today or tomorrow, you can pretty much guarantee that the day after you will be faced with some sort of problem either at home or work.  My good friend, Rem Jackson the CEO of Top Practices says that you can expect 2-3 big stink bombs a year.  I have found this to be very true in my business and personal life.  Since we all know that there is no getting away from problems and difficult situations we then need to put on our “creative thinking helmet” and get to work on solving problems and not dwelling on them.  Creative thinking is the ability to imagine or invent something new,  coming up with new ideas by changing existing ones or, merging a few ideas together.  When you creatively think with others in your family or co-workers, you are expanding the limits of what possibilities there are to solve the issue.  Not only is this great but it can be exhilarating when you see what you have come up with.  Here are the four basic steps to creative problem solving:

1. The first is being able to define what the problem is so that everyone understands it or if it is just you, that you really know what the problem is.

2. The next step is to come up with as many solutions as you (and others) can think of.  Write them down and don’t try to analyze them yet, just get the ideas out and down on paper.

3. Once this is done then you can go through your list of solutions keeping the ones that may be possibilities or possibly even a combination of a couple of them.

4. Lastly, you need to make a choice of what solution makes the best sense to resolve the problem and take action on it.

Creative thinking does take practice, but the more you do it the better you will get and the easier it will be.  The sky is the limit to what you can come up with to help you make decisions about those “great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations” or “stink bombs.”  The sooner you jump into the creative thinking mode when a problem arises the sooner it can be solved.  One thing is for sure, when you practice creative problem solving you will spend more time being productive than wallowing in your problems.

 

Keep moving forward,

Tina

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I’m So Tired….

I can’t tell you how many people I talk to who tell me that they have sleep problems.  Either they can’t fall asleep or once they fall asleep they wake up and cannot go back to sleep.  This can be such a vicious cycle which leads to exhaustion and stress.  It also leads to poor work performance or any performance.  As an adult, we need between 7-8 hours of solid sleep in order to be at our best each day.  A study done by Stanford Medicine states the following for getting 6 or less hours of sleep, Two consecutive nights of less than six hours could leave you sluggish for the following six days.” (Surprised? You aren’t alone: This stat sparked a gasp of dismay at my office staff meeting.) Researchers also found that staying up an extra hour, even if followed by a full night’s sleep, is correlated with slower performance the next day. But going to bed an hour earlier than normal has a negligible effect.”Sleep is vital to becoming a high performing person, without it the evidence is very clear that our health will suffer physically and mentally. The attached article has several things that you can do to promote good sleep results.  It may take trying a few to figure out what helps you.  Arianna Huffington also has an excellent book called “The Sleep Revolution” which drives the points that getting the right amount of sleep is vital to our health and to achieving our goals.  15 Ways To Fall Asleep Faster: The Sleep Revolution

 

Be well,

Tina

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Is Your Over Demanding Job Worth It?

Recently, I had a conversation with a supervisor of an organization of about 300 people.  She was telling me that she has to work all of the time, even when she is at home in order to keep up with her work.  I asked her “How was that going for you?” and her reply was, “It’s what I need to do in order to keep my job and that is just the way it is.”  I asked her “If she thought she would be more productive at work if she took more time for herself and family?”  She really hadn’t given that any thought because it was not realistic with the demands of her job.  As I left the building I was pretty sad for this woman.  I knew she was a mother of an elementary-age child and her spouse also has a pretty demanding job.  I kept asking myself, “Is it really worth it?” This situation is not rare, in fact, it is pretty common nowadays.  If your job has become your life and you’re wondering if you need to do something about it, ask your self the following questions:

  • Do I feel my life overall will be better by doing this job this way?
  • Is there a way I could do this job without causing distress to my life?
  • How much has my life changed by doing this job for the good and for the worse?
  • Would I do this again knowing what I know now?

Ultimately each of us individually can only make the determination for ourselves and sometimes it is only when we have hindsight that we wish we would have done things differently.  These are great questions to ask even if your job is not as demanding as this woman’s.  I think by answering them honestly it can keep us on course with what our goals and standards are when it comes to our career.

 

Be well,

Tina

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