10 things to do in your allied health practice before Christmas!

How on earth is it December already?! I still had lots of things that I was going to do this year, and time is running away. I had announced at the start of the year I was going to do a three-day walk on a mountain whose name I cannot even remember, before the end of the year! Nope, that has not happened. I got a little busy!

This time at work can feel busy but also exciting as well. There is a little bit of festivity in people’s voices and everyone starts talking about holidays, going home to family, eating and so on! Before you run from the practice in Christmas mode this year, I have made a list of 10 things that you need to do before you go. You have two weeks left to do them, but I think it's best if you can action them this week!

  1. Tell people when you are away and when your practice will be closed over the Christmas/New Year period. In my clinical practices, we close our practice between Christmas and New Year but we have someone ‘on call’ if any of our clients need us. We make sure we tell referrers and our clients when we will be open and who to contact when we are closed if there is something they need.
  2. Change your phone message. When people call and get your voice message telling them to leave a message make sure you tell them when they will likely hear back from you and if that is a while, what they can do in the meantime. Make a point of wishing people a happy end to the year.
  3. Clean up your inbox. It is always nice to end the year knowing that there are no loose ends or people waiting to hear back from you. It is also good to clean it out – delete emails that you don’t need and those that you do…put into folders or store out of the main inbox. If this is overwhelming because you are the person with 2056 emails in your inbox, just make a start. Spend 10 minutes a day doing some sorting.
  4. Remember to update your email ‘out of office’ message to reflect when you are away and when people will likely expect you to be back and able to reply to them.
  5. Plan your holidays. What are you going to do?! Are you super organised and have that worked out already? You need to make sure you have a break, and that it feels like a break! Make a little list, just a little one, of things you might like to do. If it is long, it can not really feel like a break. You might have a book you want to read, sleep in every day, go on a bike ride…. Whatever you love doing, make sure you find some time to do it.
  6. Thank your staff! A card, a verbal acknowledgement or a present is a great idea to let staff know you appreciate them and all their work.
  7. Stop and have a think about your cashflow. Cash coming into the practice can be lower over Christmas if you have a shutdown period. If you are like me and also have staff on holidays, then the income generated in the practice is lower, and pay is often higher with leave loading on top of normal wages. I normally, by this time of the year, have stopped ordering stock, and have reduced my normal spending to ensure there is enough money in the account for paying my staff.
  8. Reconcile outstanding invoices owed to you. This can also improve your cashflow. These are often from third-party payers, which might include DVA, WorkCover or other organisations that contract your services. Are there outstanding debts that you can gather prior to Christmas? If so, then get stuck into chasing those up. 
  9. Catch up on any clinical notes or letters that are outstanding. This might involve having to stay back a little longer at night to get them done, but it is always a great feeling walking out the door at the end of the year feeling on top of everything. 
  10. Tidy your desk! It will be so nice to come back to a clean and organised desk at the start of the year.

Have a great week!

Planning, Holiday Time

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