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Quick Tips For Improving Planning & Communication For The Team

The end of the year really can be inspiring for our business planning and organization.  It can also very quickly become daunting for most managers and owners to know WHERE TO START.  I loved and dreaded it all at the same time.  It was a great time for looking forward for the practice (or business), what should we change, improve, fresh starts, etc.

The actual end of year tasks was stressful and remembering them all was the worst part of the stress.  At the most recent practice, I managed I inherited a few organizational tools that were pretty neat and I have kept them going in my own business. I also brought along a few of my own that I developed over the years and with the advent of more technology.

Plain Jane Large Desk Calendar-

This is kind of a duh moment but they really are useful. Bear with me why I explain. These are the quick jot down a note on the date it matters type of calendars. Super quick, helpful, at a glance type of stuff. Here is the Amazon link to the one I have in mind:

Amazon Link Attached

The point of this calendar is to add all the important dates as soon as you get it and on the back of the cardboard write all the repetitive dates so you are ready to fill in 2020 when you get that calendar. Along the top row of the calendar, I wrote in upcoming dates and important things to remember so I could continue to project manage some fo the long-range tasks without losing sight of the timing.

Medium or Large Monthly Calendars or any Purse/Briefcase Size Calendar- 

This is my FAVORITE planning tool.  It is so basic and easy that it’s actually been more useful to me than all the other more detailed, filled out, pre-printed planners and organizers.

Amazon Link Attached

 

Amazon Link Attached

 

Mon Planner
Inside View

 

The planner I buy (regularly) is linked to Amazon and if you buy the 2 pack it’s cheaper than one alone. I actually buy the LARGE version and keep them on my desk.  However, if you want to be able to throw it in your briefcase or purse you will most likely want the MEDIUM ones. I use these to keep up with short-term appointments and events.  The great thing about these planners is that they are not dated so you can start on any month or day you want.

I also use these to plan and track my social media efforts. I still enjoy the old pen and paper planning where I can.  Don’t get me wrong, I am ALL ABOUT TECHNOLOGY, but sometimes having it handy without having to turn on a computer is nice. If you would like to know more about how I organize any of this please email me and I will give you my run down on it.  I’m also considering a short Facebook video on the topic so commenting that you’d be interested in that would help!

Practice Management SoftwareVeterinary Specific

Preload your important dates that need to be reminded. So you add them, set up a reminder to yourself and voila your job reminds you of stuff you need to do your job. So here is how I used this tip: Scheduling regular fire extinguisher inspections can be made in the software management system to send me an email reminder that tells me it’s time for my pet: “Practice Maintenance” is due for “Fire Extinguisher Inspection”.  Please call us to schedule “Practice Maintenance’s” appointment. So yes, I created a fake pet and then set up a reminder template that no one will really ever use because it doesn’t make sense to anyone but me. Now, if you use this method, teach your team to watch out for these weird reminders so that they don’t include them when rushing through a new client or pet registration.

Google Calendar-

Google CalendarI liked managing team time off/vacation schedules this way.  One potential downside is getting everyone on the same page when it comes to regularly updating their schedules.  Some of the doctors and staff loved it and did it and others would drag along and not do it until it was almost too late or they were planning their next trip and wanted to know when EVERYONE else was off.  It can drive you a little batty if you don’t have complete buy-in.  If you can get team buy-in then it’s pretty nice.  I don’t mean to poo-poo this option because it’s great for looking at other people’s schedules prior to requesting a meeting when they are most likely available. Saves A LOT OF TIME from the back and forth schedule negotiations.

Slack or What’s App-

These are two great apps that allow teams to organize themselves into various groups and then to communicate in real time.  If I am a part of the tech team, management, and Christmas party organizing team, I can keep up with the various teams and the current conversations going on in those groups.  Check out these options and see if your team could use either of these programs. They are awesome.  I don’t get anything from recommending them, I just like them.

slack https://slack.com/

Whats Apphttps://www.whatsapp.com/

Trello-

My standby favorite is still Trello! If you haven’t looked at Trello give it a gander.  Here is a link from a previous post about it. Scroll down just below the article posted and take a look at the calendar.

Trello

Trello is an online calendar platform that uses boards, lists, and cards to organize your projects and much more.  You can have boards for ANYTHING.  I use it now to organize client info and projects, my own projects, even my recipes organized by type: breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, holiday, etc.  I share the client boards with the clients themselves so they can use the board as well and then I get notifications if they have added something or scheduled something I need to know about. It’s really neat.

trello cc image

You can find my own content board I set up in Trello.  This board lists cool dates and holiday organized by month.  Take a look at it in action to get a better idea of how it works.  This link is to my resources page (check it out, cool stuff): https://dogdaysconsulting.com/tools-resources/ 

Here is my recommendation link for Trello so you can get your own free account.  I get little upgrades and add-ons everytime someone signs up using my recommendation, I don’t get paid.  https://trello.com/rhondabellcvpm/recommend

These are the tips and tools I used most often to keep myself organized and productive.  I would love to hear from you what your favorite tips and techniques are.  Comment below if you have a great idea that works for you!

Happy Planning!

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About Rhonda Bell, CVPM, CCFP

Certified Veterinary Practice Manager and a Certified Compassion Fatigue Professional with 15 years of veterinary hospital management experience. My passion lies with the small business owner specifically in veterinary medicine but not exclusively. I love coaching, teaching, developing and creating opportunities for veterinary practice success. I want to help overwhelmed stressed out practice owners, managers and veterinary teams make sense of the sticky areas of veterinary practice management.

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