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More easy steps to help you fight management battles

By Steve M. Cohen  bio

I’ve written before about relatively simple steps to better medical office management. I’ve also advised against underestimating seemingly trivial tactics for improvement.

These types of suggestions can sound low-level or nit-picky. But one reason they are often repeated is because they are valuable and worth remembering.

But don’t worry, that’s not what I’m doing here. What I hope you’ll consider instead is an older concept with modern twists. Consider the idea of writing down your to-dos or tasks.

Although by now you probably have a calendar on your computer or phone, you may still be tempted to carry a to-do list, meeting notes or other critical information in your head. I strongly recommend you don’t. Unless you’re some kind of memory superhero—and they do exist—trying to remember these types of things adds unnecessarily to the load your mind must carry.

Even a paper list is better than nothing, but I strongly recommend finding electronic or computerized to-do/project management software. I’m not a technical consultant, but even I know there are a lot of good options, including those that will sync between your computer, phone, and other devices.

The main point is that getting these types of concerns out of your head is critical. Studies have shown that trying to carry things like that in your head literally causes stress. My guess is you already have enough stress as it is. Let your paper list or, better yet, the computer do the heavy lifting. You can focus on the strategic issues.

I also emphasize selecting software that fits your needs. The best list or task application isn’t good if it doesn’t work for you. Even a Word document that you update and can sync between different devices is just fine if it fits your needs. However, there are many choices out there and I recommend trying a few before you settle on one.

I hesitate to use myself as an example, but what I like is one that has flexible calendar views (day, week, month) and allows me to simply drag items around and click to make changes in priority, due date, etc. I’m fairly visual, and using color codes for different categories of projects allows me to see at a glance much of what I need.

All of this can be very relevant to my main areas of human resources and “mess management.” Tracking performance reviews or training sessions with multiple staff members is far easier with a desktop computer or mobile phone system than it is in your head or even on paper. Where paper especially falls short is when you have to make changes and may need to tear up a sheet and start over. With most computer systems, you simply click a couple of times.

Many systems allow extensive notes and even links to emails or Word documents. This is perfect for staff entries where you may also need to reference a report, for example. And if you’re trying to track a personnel issue, having everything you need connected to a to-do-list entry can be invaluable. It’s sort of like having a wall calendar that can magically pull up file folders from across the room.

Again, I am not a technical whiz so I leave the choices up to you and your IT. But moving in this direction with as much of your work as possible can be a big step to improving your medical office management. Especially for small- and medium-sized organizations, relatively inexpensive programs can make a huge difference.

Steve M. Cohen, Ed.D., CMC is President/Partner of Labor Management Advisory Group, Inc. and HR Solutions: On-Call, both based in Kansas City, MO. For more information, visit or call (913) 927-0229.

The above information is shared by a guest contributor and does not necessarily reflect the views of Medical Office Manager.









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