Time = Money
Do you manage your time as well as you do your money?
By Ingrid Sparrow, PT, CMPT
How do you answer these questions: Which do you manage better, your money or your time? And which is your bigger barrier to implementing programs, your money or your time?
If you are like my business partners and I, the answer is paradoxical. As clinicians and as business owners, our time is our money. Yet we manage our money much more effectively than we do our time. Our weekly meetings focus more on benchmarks and costs than they do on time management. We efficiently analyze the cost of a marketing event, and then we will fritter away half an hour on a small task.
Money is easily quantifiable, and we are comfortable using several good accounting and budgeting programs. The transition from paper to computer bookkeeping brought immense improvements. Yet until recently I was still managing my numerous projects using sticky notes and an unwieldy combination of computer and paper folders. And I had not looked for a better option.
Welcome to the world of task management programs. These programs provide both a system for you to organize your task lists and timelines and a collaboration tool for workflow management. As my week, month, and year is a combination of annual planning and weekly crisis, I was excited to learn that there are a number of computer-based task management tools available.
Programs that have received high positive reviews include free programs like Trello, Asana, and Freedcamp; and programs available for a monthly fee such as Basecamp, Apollo, Solo, Team Projects, Project Bubble, TeamGantt, and Projecturf. Being new to using these programs, I encourage you to research the features of each option.
I trialed the free options using several common tasks: hiring and mentoring a new physical therapist, transitioning to a new medical health plan for the clinic, planning the clinic’s holiday party, and planning for the End of the Fiscal Year Owners Meeting. I found that Asana most closely resembled how I currently organized my task management and that it was easy to set up timelines and to edit. Other useful features include:
- The program allows you to create multiple Workspaces (Professional, Personal, Family Multiple, etc.).
- Projects are the backbone, and you can view your projects by priority by assignee or by associated tags.
- The Tasks are easy to edit, and you can attach a variety of To Dos and documents that are easy to edit and comment on as you proceed through the task.
- Via email you can invite people to join each Workspace, thus opening up or keeping Workspaces public or private (up to 15 email invites are allowed using the free program).
We have all found the Excel worksheets to be amazingly helpful in the way they allow us to compile, define, and view our finances on our computers. And I am hopeful that these task management programs can be equally helpful. Managing tasks has as many nuances as managing money, and I will continue to look for the program that works best for me and for my clinic. But in even the short time I have been using Asana, I have been pleased with how its organization and portability is more time efficient than paper and e-lists. Time I can then put to good use.
Ingrid Sparrow, PT, CMPT, is the owner of Sound Physical Therapy in Seattle, Washington. She can be reached at Ingridsparrow@soundpt.com.