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by Anonymous practice manager
25 March 2019

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Secret diary of a practice manager: battling the workload

The workload for practice managers seems to be never-ending and in this anonymous blog we learn how practice mangers battle through the workload on a daily basis.  

When I decided to apply for the role of practice manager, I was beyond excited. Having not worked as a practice manager before but having worked in and around general practice for a number of years it seemed the best fit for me at this stage of my life. Oh.. how wrong I was.

We must be crazy to take on this level of work and accept such low pay for managing general practice. 

For a long time I have been hiding my head in the sand, or more accurately hiding my head in the piles and piles of other stuff that we are tasked to be experts on – GDPR, SNOMED, networks and social prescribing are this month’s current challenges. And don’t forget about being clued up on QOF and the end of year financial processes. 

Without a doubt –  hiding and ignoring things seems like the easiest option but there comes a day when you can’t ignore stuff any longer.  Writing a ‘to do’ list doesn’t constitute doing the work.

So, to progress and actually make my way through the ‘to do’ list I did something that I don’t often do and that was to switch off my emails.
Yes, that’s right – I turned off my emails.   

I went offline for three hours. Yep, three whole hours and the results were astonishing. No one missed me and I survived. But most importantly, our patients survived, my team survived. I got some work done and managed to work my way through the ‘to do’ list.

I’ll tell you another trick that I picked up from a colleague who posted it on one of the practice manager support groups.  She pretends she is on a webinar and puts a headset on, shuts the door and actually listens to the radio while she works undisturbed.  You should try it and it works amazingly well. Credit where credit is due – she is a my hero of the week.

So the question you really want to know, how do i get through the workload?  I have looked on some of the brilliant forums that we all use and I have found some amazing advice and templates.
Make life easier for yourself, do the minimum amount of work necessary and use the rest of the time to find that bit of work that makes your practice run better.

The things that make my practice run better are the reasons that I unblock toilets, calm down angry patients and staff and earn half I did working with less responsibility in NHS England. 

So my advice to you is simple. Balance your day, speak to patients, hear their stories, answer the phone every now and then and understand why your team members get angry. Go for a walk around your practice and talk to your patients in their domain and most importantly get yourself a decent set of head phones and a sign for your door that says ‘webinar in progress’.  

Yes, seems like a lot but then again, we are practice managers and this job is far from simple.