5 slots


So tell me, how much do you do on a typical day? How many tasks, appointments, or meetings? How many cases or projects do you work on? 

You want to do as much as possible, but you don’t want to burn out. 

You need a plan. 

Most people don’t plan effectively. They do the work that’s in front of them. They look at their calendar and task list, see what’s on deadline, think about their goals, and fill their day with as many tasks and appointments as possible. 

And end the day exhausted. 

They had a busy day. They got a lot done. But they aren’t running their business, their business is running them. 

If you ever feel that way about your practice, consider making a slight change. Instead of seeing what’s in front of you need to do each day, first decide how much you want to do. 

Pick a number. Not too much, not too few. Choose a number of “slots” to fill with work before you fill them.  

Slots first. Work second. 

Let’s say you choose 5 as the number of tasks you want to complete each day. That’s your upper limit. Maybe 2 or 3 are MITs (Most Important Tasks) and the others are less important. 

Whatever number you choose, it doesn’t include routine tasks you also do, such as clearing email, returning phone calls, and reviewing and signing routine letters and documents. 

A task is something that’s both important and takes a fair amount of time and energy to complete. More than a few minutes, anyway. In fact, you might specify that a task is anything that requires 30 minutes or more.

Of course, you can group small tasks, allocating 30 minutes for calls or for emails, for example. And yes, it’s a good idea to block out the time for this on your calendar. 

You can do the same thing with appointments and meetings. Decide in advance how many slots you allow each day. 

Maybe you allow yourself 2 tasks and 2 appointments each day. Or designate certain days for appointments, other days for tasks. 

The point isn’t how many tasks or appointment slots you choose, or when you do them. It’s that you decide how many slots in advance.

Planning this way keeps you from getting overwhelmed. You get your most important work done and have time and energy left to do anything else you choose to do. 

You run the practice instead of the other way around.