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a blog by Chris Barrow

Not enough hours in the day?

If you were to ask me "what is the most noticeable trend appearing across your client base since the start of the year?" then the title of this post would be the answer.

My weekly tracker reports from owners and managers are consistently bemoaning their lack of time and an inability to get everything done.

Given that we all have that 24/7 to prioritise, this indicates a deeper malaise. We can't all be that badly organised.

By the way, here speaks to you a business coach who has taken 3 days off work in the last three weeks - guilty as charged.

My observation is that we haven't got more to do but that we are doing more things. There's a difference.

Doing more things is first and foremost about the task list associated with our role and responsibilities.

No disrespect, but being a Principal or a Manager in 1996 was significantly simpler than it is in 2020. You didn't need a mini-MBA to be able to cope.

So whether you are that Principal, logging 35 hours clinical and then having to find a minimum of 8 hours a week (often more) to be The Boss - or whether you are a Manager coming to terms with a world of acronyms (CQC, GDC, FtP, GDPR, HR et al), plus the demands of marketing and customer service and the foibles of your team, the fact is that the list is just longer.

You haven't got a minute (not that it stops people asking).

Secondly, however, we are all adjusting to a change in our lives that has seen no precedent in history.

Apple have given it a name - Screen Time. I suggest that you turn that on if you have Apple devices as it will give you a weekly insight into the extent to which you are being:

  • Notified

  • Tagged

  • Emailed

  • Messaged

and all those other ways in which the social world invades.

Perhaps most dangerous of all...

  • Browsing 😬

I'm the first to admit that social media is great for my business. It allows me to have a "reach" into the global word of dentistry, the like of which I could never have imagined 20 years ago.

It's the same for you. Given the constraints of any local marketing regulations, your brand and your story travel further, faster than ever.

We all pay a price for this - interruption.

It's an interruption with two dimensions:

  • Being interrupted

  • Interrupting ourselves

The first is bad enough but the second is arguably the bigger danger.

Just having a quick look at

  • the web site for the restaurant you are thinking of booking

  • breaking news

  • the trailer for the movie you want to see

  • the online article about a hot topic

  • the review for that thing you are considering buying

  • flight prices for your next holiday

  • your health monitoring application

  • what your friends and family are up to

  • a book review

  • the latest newsfeed on your favourite social media platform(s)

  • travel updates

  • your bank balance

  • the latest issue of a favoured newsletter

  • this blog!

Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok, YouTube, Linkedin, WhatsApp, Netflix, Prime, AppleTV, Messenger, Slack, Asana, Goodreads, Mailchimp.

It's like a game show where the contestants have to empty parcels off a conveyor belt which rolls faster and faster as time goes on - until chaos reigns.

So I've been asking myself (and others) what exactly is giving rise to "not enough hours in the day" syndrome.

How much of it is work that I've taken on that I don't have to do?

If that type of work exists, then business coach Michael Hyatt advises us to delegate, automate and eliminate. Do we need more team members? Does technology allow us to do this more easily? Do we really have to do this at all?

How much of it is work that I've taken on that I don't have the time to do?

Note the subtle difference between the two statements - don't have to do and don't have the time to do. Taking on more than you can cope with because you are a compulsive helper, because you don't know how to say "no" or because you are chasing the cash - all very damaging tactics.

How much of it is self-imposed interruption?

Am I being distracted by the bewitching dazzle of the web? Am I spending too much time checking social feeds and reading stuff that is of no direct relevance to my task list for the day? Should I allocate a fixed amount of Screen Time at the same time each day - and that's it?

Bottom line - there are enough hours in the day.

It would appear that many of us are being seduced into using those hours unwisely.

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