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5 Easy Ways to Save 2 Hours a Day

Updated: Apr 12

Every veterinary practice has its unique challenges, yet practice owners and managers universally share a common issue: a seemingly perpetual shortage of time. This constant busyness not only elevates stress levels but can also stifle the growth of your practice. The question then arises: how can one effectively manage their practice without it consuming all their time and energy? Implementing strategies to save 2 hours a day in your veterinary practice could be the solution, enabling you to dedicate more time to strategic planning and business development.

The good news is, there are a few proven strategies that, when implemented, can actually save you up to two hours a day. Imagine what you could accomplish with an extra couple of hours! Let’s take a look.

Plan Your Time

One of the biggest reasons people feel overwhelmed is that they fail to plan for what they want to accomplish in advance. If you’re just winging it each day, not only are you not using your precious time wisely, but you’re wasting any extra time trying to manage your day on the fly. Furthermore, without a plan, you can and probably will easily lose track of important tasks. This can hurt your client satisfaction rates, which can impact your bottom line.

Be disciplined about setting goals (daily, weekly, monthly and annual), create a schedule and stick to it. Also, determine when you are most productive and build your calendar around those windows to maximize your output.

Manage Interruptions

Did you know that once interrupted, it can take the brain an average of 25 minutes to get back on task? That lost time really adds up, especially when you’re trying to run a successful veterinary practice. To avoid this, you need to make a conscious effort to eliminate or at least reduce the number of distractions you’re dealing with throughout your day.

Whether it’s scheduling specific blocks of time to check email or return calls, designating a window in which you are available to answer questions or simply closing your office door while you focus on the top items on your to-do list, figure out what works best for you and implement it.

Educate Others

When you’ve determined what techniques you will use to eliminate workplace distractions, you’ll need to educate your staff so they can adjust accordingly. For instance, let’s say you’ve decided that every day, between the hours of 1pm and 2pm, you will work uninterrupted. Make sure everyone on the team is well aware of this new rule so they can adhere to it. As a reminder, wear a hat or hang something on your doorknob. It may sound silly, but it’ll get results, so why not?

Limit Meetings

Harvard Business Review surveyed 182 senior managers in a range of industries. Here’s what they discovered:

  1. 65% said meetings keep them from completing their own work;

  2. 71% said meetings are unproductive and inefficient;

  3. 64% said meetings come at the expense of deep thinking.

Does that seem like a worthwhile use of time? Not really. Yet, research indicates that executives spend an average of 23 hours a week in meetings. Obviously, this is a broad overview and not specific to the veterinary industry, but it’s eye-opening nonetheless.

If your week is muddled with endless meetings, it may be time to change your approach. Start by assessing whether a formal meeting is actually necessary or whether the topic at hand could be communicated by other means, such as email. If you do determine a meeting is needed, use an agenda and stick to it. This will enable you to optimize the time and avoid going over.

Be strategic about emails.

Remember those workplace distractions we just mentioned? Well, email is one of the biggest ones. It’s hard to ignore those incoming messages, but if you stop what you’re doing every time something new hits your inbox, you are undoubtedly losing minutes or even hours a day.

Let’s say it takes you about a minute to read each email and then 1 to 2 minutes to respond. Now, let’s say you receive around 40 messages a day. Checked individually, those 40 messages are 40 distractions costing you 80 to 120 minutes a day! And that’s not even taking into account the time it takes for you to get back on task.

Obviously, you can’t ditch email altogether, but you can control when and how you handle this daily task. Instead of fielding each message ad hoc, designate time within your schedule that will be dedicated to cleaning out your inbox. For example, set aside an hour each morning before you start your day and another hour before you go home. This simple scheduling trick can save you a tremendous amount of time.


What could you accomplish if you had an extra 2 hours to use each and every day? By applying the suggestions above, you can optimize your schedule, eliminate waste and find that extra time you need to really bring your practice to the next level.

Our Advice on Ways to Save 2 Hours a Day in 2024

How can you make the most of your time as a practice owner/manager?

To maximize time as a practice owner/manager, prioritize planning, manage interruptions, educate your team, limit meetings, and strategize email handling. Begin by setting clear goals and creating a structured schedule to enhance productivity. Minimize distractions by designating times for focused work and communicate these periods to your staff. Evaluate the necessity of meetings; often, alternate communication methods suffice. Tackle emails in scheduled blocks to prevent constant disruptions. Implementing these strategies can reclaim up to two hours daily, fostering a more efficient and growth-oriented practice environment.

What are the biggest time-wasters in a busy practice?

The primary time-wasters in a busy practice include unstructured planning, frequent interruptions, inefficient communication, excessive meetings, and poorly managed email handling. Lack of advanced planning leads to chaotic days and missed tasks, impacting client satisfaction. Interruptions and constant email checks significantly disrupt focus, reducing productivity. Meetings often consume valuable time without yielding results, detracting from deep, strategic thinking. By identifying and addressing these time-wasters, practices can enhance efficiency, allowing for focus on growth and improving service quality.

How can you identify tasks that you should delegate to staff, freeing up your time for higher-level activities?

To identify tasks for delegation, assess your daily activities, pinpointing routine, time-consuming tasks that don't require your expertise. Start by documenting all tasks over a week and categorize them by necessity and skill level required. Highlight tasks that are repetitive or administrative, such as scheduling, email management, or basic client inquiries. These are prime for delegation. Evaluate your team's skills and interests to match tasks effectively, ensuring they align with staff competencies. This strategic delegation allows you to focus on higher-level activities, like practice growth strategies and enhancing client relationships, ultimately leveraging your time more effectively.

Which areas of your business could potentially be outsourced to specialists, providing a better return on your time investment?

Consider outsourcing areas of your business that require specialized knowledge or can be efficiently managed externally, thereby enhancing your return on time investment. Commonly outsourced services in veterinary practices include accounting and financial planning, legal matters, marketing and social media management, IT support, and even certain HR functions like payroll and employee training programs. By delegating these specialized areas to experts, you can focus on core activities, such as client care and business development, ensuring optimal use of your expertise and time for strategic growth and improved client satisfaction.

How can you learn to politely decline requests or commitments that do not align with your priorities or the practice's goals?

To politely decline requests or commitments not aligning with priorities or practice goals, employ clear, respectful communication. Start by expressing gratitude for the opportunity, acknowledging the request's value. Then, concisely explain that due to current priorities or strategic focus, you cannot commit at this time. Offer an alternative solution or refer them to someone else if possible. This approach maintains professionalism and relationships while ensuring your time and resources are dedicated to activities that directly contribute to the practice's objectives and your professional goals.

Want more practice management tips and tricks? Bookmark the DVMelite blog and check back often for fresh, relevant content.

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