Overwhelm as a pharmacy owner might be common, but we shouldn’t accept it as normal.
Let’s shatter the myth and the status quo that owning a pharmacy has to be confusing, hair-pulling, and cause overwhelm. Sure, there are a lot of things you have to pay attention to. That doesn’t mean you have to feel like you are drowning.
By implementing some systems and structure changes into your day-to-day, you can control your day (and your pharmacy) rather than it controlling you.
Pharmacy Owner Overwhelm Is Everywhere
I recently received an email from a Pharmacy Badass Member that I suspect is what many independent pharmacy owners face: overwhelm.
Here is the gist of the email:
“My biggest pain is the mounds of paper everywhere – notes, billing issues, vaccine clinic paperwork, books I want to read, information about different website/marketing companies I want to investigate… Then there are literally 15 years of documents from the previous owner and myself that I want to use instead of reinventing the wheel but there’s just SO MUCH I can’t clean it up and narrow it down. Coupled with this, I don’t get to work until 11am because of my kids and living an hour away from the pharmacy and then I have to leave by 4:30 so I can get in time for the sitter to leave. So basically, I have 5 hours per day to smash 20 hours of work into and I end up just doing nothing but snacking and making coffee.”
What would I do if I were in this situation in my pharmacies?
Here are my top strategies to get out from underneath the dread of constantly feeling behind and creating daily habits so that making a profit is possible in your pharmacy.
- Unclutter and Clean
- Create Routines
- Laser-focused on Top Priorities
- Follow the Pharmacy Profit Roadmap
To catch up initially, you must put in extra time and effort. However, the payoff is HUGE! Stay late every day for a week or come in on a Sunday when you are closed. Those precious hours of focused work will make all the difference and jump-start your efficiency.
Unclutter and Clean
Have a good ole spring cleaning! This can be done by gathering your most useful and efficient employees and locking yourselves inside the pharmacy on a day when it is closed.
Choose a Saturday, Sunday, or both options and use this time to focus solely on uncluttering and cleaning only. Create a system for decluttering paper and other items. I like using a categorization system for paper items of:
- do it now
- parking lot (deal with later)
Then for stuff, I use in-the-trash, donate, and put away now methods. We split the pharmacy into zones, assign employees, and then race to see who can finish first (or throw the most away!) Ensure you have all cleaning products and items for decluttering, like storage bins, binders, or labels. Hire extra babysitters, meal plan, and stock favorite employee drinks. The goal is to be as prepared as possible to cut down on distractions from the day’s tasks. Don’t forget the loud, high-energy music!
And yes, you will pay your employees for this time, which I know is an expense, but the ROI is so worth it. It is amazing how they will take ownership of things, help keep it nice, and come together as a team during these types of events.
I know what it is like to have babies and kids while operating a pharmacy; creating routines saved my life. Creating routines is one of the most effective ways to streamline daily activities, increase productivity and reduce stress.
The first step in creating a routine is identifying daily, weekly, or monthly tasks or activities that must be done. One of my favorite sayings is to do what you have to do first; then, you can do what you want to do. Now is the time to cut some fat if you can. Only list items that are 100% must-do (at least when you start).
My second step is to put these activities on a controlling calendar. If you only list activities for yourself, it’s easy to put them into one. If you list activities you want to delegate, create a controlling calendar for each person you are delegating to. Download our controlling calendar template HERE. Now you have a recurring checklist for what you must do.
The following tips should be combined to help you create a predictable and highly-efficient routine in the pharmacy each day.
Be Laser-Focused on Top Priorities To Reduce Pharmacy Owner Overwhelm
You need to be laser-focused while at the pharmacy. You are in a daily sprint for those precious few hours you are there. You have your controlling calendar, but how do you handle all the “extra” things? I will tell you how I do it.
I am a lister.
I list everything I need to do in a brain dump. Then I prioritize the most important, the shortest deadline, or whatever criteria you want to use. I make the first 2-3 things on the list each day non-negotiable. They must be done. I wait to do anything else until they are done. If you struggle with a few, pick 1 that is a must-do.
Picking one not only helps you to focus your energy, but it also creates a positive cascade of energy. When you complete your task, you get a hit of dopamine and feel good. You are positively reinforcing to your brain you can do it. Then you can go to the next item on your list. As you cross off each thing, you continually tell yourself you are a doer! It may seem trivial, but our brains love positive reinforcement. It is hard to create a new habit, but you can do it. Here are some of my favorite books to help with this: Eat The Frog, The One Thing, and 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
Pharmacy Profit Road Map
Trying to improve your pharmacy business can feel very frustrating because there are literally a hundred things you could do to improve your profitability.
But what do you start with first? This question keeps far too many pharmacy owners up at night.
This confusion is why we created the Pharmacy Profit Roadmap we lay out in the Pharmacy Badass University membership. After spending many years spinning my wheels in my first pharmacy, I started to figure out what worked. Then as I bought new pharmacies and improved their profitability, I began to formulate the proven pathway that lets you know what you need to spend your time and energy on.
If you want to be laser-focused on improving your pharmacy’s profits, I invite you to check out our membership. Over 200 pharmacy owners call it home and enjoy the content and additional profits.