Paper here, there and everywhere! Have you noticed in the age of “paperless offices” we have more paper than we can possible imagine? A clinic I previously worked in stated over 10 years ago that ‘within the year’ they’d be completely paperless; last I heard they were still swimming in it like the rest of us! In speaking to an Independent Practitioner the other day it became obvious that paper and the keeping track of her papers was an overwhelming and overriding feature of her practice. My jaw hit the ground when she told me she billed insurance companies daily for each client…and then wondered how it was that she had lost track of whose billing had come in and whose billing was still outstanding. Perhaps this is not the most Thriving Practice habit one would wish to emulate so let’s look at might be more helpful.
Here are 6 tips to get you started:
- Get a routine. Gather up the paperwork you currently have waiting and sort it into piles. Do it now ~ waiting is only putting off the benefits of getting this task under control. If it helps, start by sorting into only 2 piles; keep and recycling. You can then go back after you’ve gotten the recycling out to the bin and tackle the keep pile, further breaking it down as you need. If it helps you can have one pile of High Priority material with the understanding you’ll get to this next.
- Address the High Priority pile next. Pay the bills, getting that in order immediately. In establishing this habit you’re also setting up the expectation that others will pay your invoices in a timely manner as well.
- Set up a system (or systems) for routine paperwork such as claims, invoices, bills to be paid and the such. If you can block out a specific time to get this done each week or each month all the better.
- Set up a place and folders for your papers. I like to open my post directly in front of the recycling bin so what needs to go in to that pile never gets further than the bin. If you have a specific place to put your bills to be paid you can put the notices in there immediately. Setting up the bill pay system to pay bills directly from your bank’s website, and that’s comfortable for you, is an excellent option!
- Really feeling overwhelmed? Hire someone to help you! You are wasting time and energy by not addressing this, so investing funds to get it under control and coming up with a system which works for you is money well spent.
- Create and then use a method which works for you to send out invoices (and track claims, if you’re accepting insurance). Not to say we won’t get thrown off but an established routine helps quell that problem. What works for one person might not work for you but knowing how others are doing it will give you a place to start. Still stuck? Hire a bookkeeper or keep that organizer as a regular part of your Thriving Team. Yes, really!
Just for the record now is the time to get rid of old paperwork. If you can store your old case files by all means it’s a good practice to do so but having years of old phone books or bank statements dating back 30 years is not helpful. Clear the piles so you can Thrive in the fresh air and knowledge of a job well done!