When people begin a conversation (or an email) with the statement “I know that you’re probably really busy,” I often give them a surprising response – and so should you. I typically answer their assumption stating that I am not busy.

From a helper perspective, if someone comes with a problem, I’d like to help. You probably aren’t much different. But I’m also not afraid to say “no” because I realize that (a) because of my finite expertise I cannot help everyone with everything — and neither can you; (b) I may not have the time to help this person and serve the others in my life that I am already service; and finally (c) what I am striving to be is productive – not busy.

Maybe it’s because my answer is unanticipated or perhaps it’s because in today’s hyperconnected world, being busy seems like it’s some sort of badge of honor. But it’s not. And I’m not. I am also not trying to being funny or sarcastic.

It’s a true statement. I am not busy. I’m blessed with enough business and enough discipline to be productive. And so can you. In fact, I will go one step further.  You should strive to be productive too, but not busy.  Here’s why:

Anyone Can Be Busy. Only Those With Priorities Can Be Productive.

I don’t really know what you would rather spend your time doing, but my hope is that you have some important aspects of your life other than work, that can use your time and attention.

For me it’s family. I have a gaggle full of kids and a wife who seems to tolerate me pretty well, so right there, that’s a lot of my time. I can add in involvement with my church, my community and a hobby and, boom…I can easily have enough activities to fill a week without even doing a lick of work.

But since I do like to eat and my family seems bent on the habit as well (in addition to clothing needs, money for fun and other necessities of life), I work.  I also love helping chiropractors work smarter in their business and in getting out of practice — so that makes work easy.

I’m sure your needs aren’t much different but it’s your priorities that are the topic for today.

Why Busy Always Breaks Down  

You see, when you are “busy” you are essentially overloaded.  You’ve attempted to take on everything, which basically means you’ve prioritized next to nothing. At a certain point in your chiropractic career, you may be able to get away with this.  When you first start out, you are not likely flooded with patients.  And so it may seem that you have some time on your hands in between patients.

The bad news is that this is no good for exercising your “No Muscle.”  And it’s a time you can easily overcommit to things outside your business. But it’s also a time that you can fail to use a filter inside your practice.

What exactly does that mean?  For many chiropractors, no filter means taking anything and anyone in your practice with no respect to how they may fit your niche, benefit your bottom line or even how you may help them.

Eventually, this “no filter” mindset will run you into a wall.  A few years down the line you realize that you are on insurance panels that don’t pay, your practice is full of whiners that don’t appreciate you and to your surprise, you are working plenty hard, but your bottom line doesn’t show it.

You hit “the wall” and notice that you actually can’t see any more people physically (or don’t want to) but your income isn’t what you wish it to be.

You have made yourself busy, but not productive.

The Hidden Bomb of Busy

For others, the “no filter” attempt to be busy actually backfires and the bomb that goes off results in your practice being not busy. In your attempt to be busy and your failure to use a filter, you fail to define your patients, your niche and create something that stands out from the crowd.

You end up looking like every other chiropractor, trying to serve a broad spectrum of the population and attempt to market to the whole world – only to realize you don’t have to budget to do it.

As a result, you don’t have enough patients to actually serve. You are busy running around and trying to do everything. In the end, you accomplish nothing.

Getting Off The Hampster Wheel

If you identify with this hamster in the wheel trap, then it’s time to get out of this prison of your own making. And the way out is actually the opposite of what you have been doing. It’s simple, but not easy.

You must focus on less, not more.  You must really evaluate the patients you have, the plans that you participate on and the niche that you are serving – and eliminate the areas that don’t align with your values, interests and bottom line.

You can work to stay busy and feel like you’re “doing” something. And you’ll likely get nowhere.  Or you will feel stressed and stretched, but somehow still unfulfilled.

Focus on Less, Achieve More

Instead, you can (and should) focus on just a few objectives and become productive in the process.

Anything in your practice that doesn’t match those objectives gets ignored or eliminated. You will initially fear eliminating too much, but as you free yourself up to focus on truly productive activities, you will realize that there is still more to cut out before you feel free AND fulfilled AND financially rewarded!

Action Steps

The first step towards being productive is to choose your targets that you wish to focus on. Or if, you are uncertain on what they are, choose the targets you wish to eliminate — the patients, the payers and the activities that you already know suck your time and return very little in the way of money or satisfaction.

Following a few meaningful targets will actually help you serve others better. And it will help serve you, your business and your bottom line.

Get out of the busy cycle and move your practice towards being productive. You will enjoy more freedom, more fulfillment and better financial rewards in the process! Every.single.time.

Your First Step: The Elephant in the Room

If I might be so bold, I will even suggest a FIRST step for you and your practice. This first move is one that many chiropractors are afraid to make. It is literally the “elephant in the room” that everyone knows is there, but is a big hairy problem few are willing to deal with.

And yet, every one of my coaching clients who handles it head on (regardless of the approach they take) discovers enough clarity to move forward.

The elephant of which I am speaking, of course, is MEDICARE.

For many of you, Medicare is the thing you love to hate. The one area of your practice that scares you the most and pays the least.  It’s the payer that constantly changes their requirements and rules and never seems to be satisfied. For some, it is your biggest threat and smallest paycheck.

And yet, Medicare can be tamed. It can be a smart strategy for moving forward, an pain to avoid or part of a bigger plan for your business. But it cannot be ignored and it should not be a “oddball” aspect of our business that doesn’t fit in with all our other strategies.

Here’s the bad news:

Thanks to the new rules and requirements of MACRA, the Medicare game is changing once again in 2018.  And so, you must analyze your approach and make a decision on what to do with Medicare, MACRA and the elephant in your practice.

But there is good news!

We’re holding a FREE WEBINAR: Making the Medicare MACRA Decision in 2018 and, if you hurry, you can still attend. In this training, I will be helping you plan the best strategy for your business.  I guarantee that this will NOT be a snoozefest MACRA training like many others you have seen or heard.  In fact, I won’t even tell you why you “need” to participate in MACRA but I will help you actually think and plan and prioritize your Medicare strategy. Which is one of the first steps needed to getting out of busy and into productive.  Hope to see you there!