Between flights, I often find myself perusing the books in Hudson News at airports across the country. For several weeks in a row, one book stood out among the rest; The ONE Thing, by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. The title itself is intriguing… “The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results.” Who doesn’t need that kind of wisdom in their personal and professional life? I’m a skeptic by nature, but I finally picked it up on a whim. Not only did I read it cover to cover, multiple times, but I also passed it along to several key people in my company and here’s why.
It forced me to answer the question, “What’s the ONE thing that by doing it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary?” I took advantage of my time on the road, away from my office, and away from my family, to review my never-ending to-do list and determined my ONE thing. This process helped me in defining my purpose, which provided more clarity, which led to more conviction, and ultimately helped me in making decisions faster. I realized that one of the biggest roadblocks in my schedule was a lack of decision-making because I wasn’t clear with myself, or my team, on where we were going.
One of the key decisions that has been hanging in limbo for many months, is the implementation of an auto-debit system in our practice. The issue was not which service we are going to use. The issue is that, even though we were paying for the service, we have yet to actually start using it. Upon my return to the office, I have allocated blocks of time on my calendar, and on the calendars of several key staff members, to get auto-debit off the ground. In the next couple of weeks, we will begin rolling out the auto-debit system to our patients. A good friend and colleague implemented the auto debit in her practice months ago, at my recommendation, and has seen a significant improvement in revenue and collections. Her patients no longer leave the office feeling the pain of parting with their hard-earned money at each visit. She has fewer cancellations, fewer no-shows and more new patients signing up for care plans. There are fewer back-ups at the front desk because appointments, and payment arrangements, are made in advance. I am just as guilty as the next guy in knowing what needs to be done and getting bogged down in the day-to-day. Not making it a priority has cost my practice time, money, and patients.
The book is teaching me to be fiercely protective of my time. I care about my patients, my employees, and my family. I have a hard time NOT giving them my time and attention when they need it. As a result, my schedule can be chaotic, and at the end of the day, I am often exhausted and not a single to-do is “to-done.” I am now establishing boundaries. This is difficult for me and everyone in my life, however, I am better able to focus on the things that need to be done and still devote the time and attention to everyone in my life, in a more controlled manner. My schedule has time devoted to my practice, ChiroHealthUSA, my employees, my ONE thing, email and phone calls. My start and stop times are firm, well, most of the time. It’s a process, not an event. When I leave the office for the day, for the most part, I leave my work at work. Some nights, I have to write articles to meet deadlines and sit on board calls, but those moments are scheduled with purpose and intent to cause the least interference with the time I spend with my family.
The book states, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” There are so many things that I want and need to get started in my practice, and at ChiroHealthUSA, and this book is helping me to prioritize the things that will have the biggest impact. In many cases, removing myself from the implementation process helps get things done. The best investment you can make is in yourself, and the decisions you make today will influence your goals and success in the future. What is your ONE thing? If you don’t know, it’s time to find out.
To learn more about the auto-debit system that I am implementing in my practice, click here.