Claw back 10 hours of your week

Pasquale DeMaria has some simple tips to get more than 10-hours of your time back every week – time you can spend on other things like your loved ones, hobbies or  maybe even a little time on yourself.

Time is money. How many times have you heard that said? This is truer now than ever before. Everyone is time poor. How often have you asked someone how they are, to hear the reply, ‘Busy’? How many times have you said this yourself? What if, like Cher says, you can turn back time – or at least, get some back. At Beezwax Business Solutions, we’re committed to helping pharmacists uncover where they can be more efficient in their business and gain hours in their week to direct to other places where they really want to be. Don’t be too busy to read this article – by the end, you should have some serious actionable strategies to get more cash in your time bank.

Work smart, not hard

One of the easiest ways to save yourself up to an hour a day is to realise the power of your Point of Sale (POS) system in managing stock orders. If you don’t have a system capable of doing this for you, listen up. It’s time. You can thank me later. Most pharmacies have a hand-held pointer which scans the barcodes of items in shop, and can be set up to automatically update stock numbers. Take it one step further and spend the time to set up your minimum stock levels on shelf. Then, when your stock reaches a certain volume, you can set your POS to automatically order more. It takes a bit of setting up but once it’s configured hey presto – that 30-minutes to an hour you spend on your daily order is pretty much wiped out. I’m a big believer in do it once, do it right, set and forget. The upfront cost of a decent Point of Sale might make your eyes water but the time you’re saving everyday really is priceless.

Get screen happy

Vincent Van Gogh said, “Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.” I believe strongly in this – but my ‘small things’ are incremental pockets of minutes that add up to hours in your week. I suggest all savvy pharmacists invest in two computer monitors for your dispensing computers. The amount of time that saves you in efficiency, not having to swap between tabs or check this screen and that screen, is invaluable. Have the dispensing screen set up on one and keep your other for checking emails, drug interactions or playing Tetris. Two screens save you at least an hour a day – all for the sake of a $300 new monitor. Best couple of hundred you’ll ever shell out.

Condense your payments

How long are you spending at payroll time processing individual payments? Here, my bookkeeping brain goes a little wide eyed and wild with excitement. You can save yourself an absolute fortune in time by condensing these individual payments into one, using your accounting software to generate an ABA file which pays all of your suppliers and employees in one fell swoop. Simply put, an ABA (Australian Banking Association) file issued by all major financial Aussie institutions to specify payments to be made from one bank account to one or more bank accounts.Once you’ve got your file, it’s usually an easy process of uploading it to your business internet banking and authorising the payments. Neat, huh? Is it just me who gets serious thrills out of efficiencies like this? This is so simple but so many pharmacists aren’t taking advantage of this wonderful tool, which can save you an hour or two every month – all of which count up to weeks and even months of your life at the end of your working career.

Direct that debit baby

This one seems simple, but the number of people who haven’t put in the time to set up their direct debits blows my mind. Gone are the days when you sit at the office desk and go through your paper bills one by one, paying them off and filing the records. It’s so much more time effective and far less of a headache to set up direct debits for all of your utilities. This way you don’t have to remember it on time (and risk the charge for late payments) or go through the process of paying it laboriously. It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on the bills from time to time to ensure you’re not missing any unnecessary charges – but free yourself from further admin time by going direct.

Join the paperless revolution

Our industry is pretty heavy on the tree pulp. We just love printing. Prescriptions, invoices, reminder notes, order pads, faxes, Consumer Medication Information, receipts, medication charts…the list goes on. But while there is still some need for paper, it’s not just your bills that you can take online. Cash that final cheque and look to take the most that you can onto the cloud. Not only will this easily save you time – no trips to the bank to cash cheques, less popping to the post office to send mail – but you’re helping to save the planet. All round warm fuzzy feels.

Lose the petty cash tin

I know what you’re thinking. Pasquale is really losing his nut. Nothing is safe – not even the petty cash! The point of this exercise is to look at where you can automate and remove any physical task that isn’t one hundred percent necessary. More time for your employees to do their job, interact with customers or unpack stock; more time for you to put towards the million other things you need to do – or, crazily, maybe take a lunch break or leave on time. Bonkers, I know. There are a number of different ways you can banish the petty cash tin. You can set up your system so that your staff use a prepaid credit card, or take the money from the till and scan the receipt, automatically tracking it within your system. Here’s cheers to less pettiness, more freedom.

Filter zee emails

This is a super simple one, but it’s as useful as that time you realised your car petrol gauge has a marker indicating what side the tank is on. (You did know that, right?). You get bombarded with emails as a pharmacist. Take the time to set up proper email filters so that the important ones come through to your inbox and the not-so-important ones get filtered into a separate inbox, to be read at a later time. This helps you concentrate on what’s time sensitive and pressing. The constant barrage of emails can cause an underlying level of stress, so having a structure around that helps, while also breaking the cycle of constantly emailing while other work mounts up.