When you start your own practice or you have an already established practice and begin introducing new services, growing it, etc., it can become overwhelming. Often times, the nurse practitioner entrepreneur will develop overload paralysis or analysis paralysis. Even if you get past the paralysis, you can still find yourself having a hard time prioritizing tasks in your business life. You can get stuck constantly asking yourself questions:
What should I do next?
What is the most important task to complete now?
Should I finish this before I move onto the next task?
What service should I introduce now?
Should I catch up on my books or continue working on my marketing plan.
And on and on and on it goes.
Listen, it never ends with a business. You will ALWAYS have something to do. I mean that… There will always be something that needs to be worked on or completed. You need to accept this fact if you want to become a successful nurse practitioner entrepreneur.
So, the question is: How do you prioritize tasks in your business?
My answer? You prioritize based off what generates revenue and income. Anything else can wait… to an extent.
The “to an extent” part comes down to legal issues mostly. Filing your monthly sales tax forms with your state does not generate income, but if you don’t get it done then you will get in trouble. Paying your quarterly income tax estimates do not generate income, but I personally don’t like having the IRS in my business. Making sure you are following all state regulatory requirements within your practice is not an income generating activity, but you cannot generate income without a license because you lost it.
Therefore, make sure all the legal requirements and tax filings are completed first and on time. Never be late with these types of things. It is a red flag and could open you up to an investigation, which is never good.
Another aspect when it comes to a medical practice is putting the patients first. Ensure that patient safety and satisfaction are top priorities in your business. You certainly would not want to be negligent with patient care. So, make this another top priority in your practice.
Otherwise, everything else should be prioritized based off its revenue generation. If it is not making you money, then it can wait. The ultimate goal with a business is to generate a profit, plain and simple.
Let’s go over an example:
There were A LOT of tasks that needed to be completed when I opened my 2nd men’s health practice. Everything from the pens in the waiting room to the inventory of the medications to the lease and to the local business license had to be completed before we opened. To say the least, I got overload paralysis… BAD!
How did I prioritize everything? I first focused on the legal aspects, then patient safety, and finally, revenue generating tasks.
Step number one was to obtain the local business license. After that, I included this office under my general business liability insurance policy and my malpractice policy.
Step number two involved patient safety. Men’s health is relatively low liability when done correctly, so I had to ensure the medical assistant I hired knew what she was doing. I took enough time and put some significant thought into picking the right one. I made a good decision by the way.
At this point I could have gone two ways:
I was not going to waste my time setting up the office, hanging pictures, printing off consent forms, etc. That is busy work, and my employees can handle it. Instead, I focused on MARKETING. That is income generating work and will increase my bottom line.
What am I focusing on now? I am still focusing on fine tuning my marketing plan and seeing patients in this new practice while I try to hunt down the perfect NP to see patients. Both tasks are income generating. Making an appointment to the local blood bank for my patient who needs to phlebotomize is busy work… My medical assistant can do that.
I only focus on income generation activities. When I am at my medical practices, I am seeing patients and generating revenue. If there are no patients to be seen, I delegate any busy work to my medical assistant. I can be doing something better with my time like writing this very article.
Disclaimer here though: you need to always be on top of your finances, as that is part of revenue generation. You need to ensure where your money is at all times. Never delegate this work… you as the business owner need to stay on top of this.
I am always asking myself “Is this income generating work? Will completing the following task bring in revenue?” If the answer is no, I either delegate the task to someone else or put it on the back-burner for myself to complete when I have time. And you know what? That time will come. It might not be for a couple weeks, but the time will come. It always does.
I find myself every 2-3 weeks having a “half day” during the week where I am not scheduled to see patients, I don’t have a consultation with a fellow nurse practitioner scheduled, I have no need to record material for a new course, or any additional income generating task. The time will come. When it does, you can get all those busy tasks on your back-burner done.
How do you remember them all though? Well, when the thought of a task that needs to be completed pops up in your mind, make a note about it IMMEDIATELY or it could be lost in the back of your mind. I literally have a notebook on my nightstand and write things down in it that cross my mind when I awake in the middle of the night. It is the only way I will remember to get things done! I also have sticky notes plastered all over my desk and computer monitor. I even have documents tacked on my wall with lists of ideas and tasks that need to be worked on. You cleans freaks would be appalled with the condition of my home office.
Listen, the busy tasks are not of immediate importance. Seriously, they can wait, but they need to be finished at some point. For this reason, you need to ensure you make a list of them when you think about it. Otherwise, continue prioritizing the income generating work in your business! It will pay off big time, I guarantee it!