Time Bucketing is Magic for Independent Pharmacy Owners

The Magic of the Time Bucketing for Pharmacy Owners
The Magic of the Time Bucketing for Pharmacy Owners

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Increase your productivity by implementing time bucketing into your life and decrease the overwhelm you experience as a pharmacy owner. 

Are you caught in the tornado of daily operations?

Do you feel like a full-time ‘Pharmacy Firefighter’?

How about like the cat chasing the laser pointer?

From the clutter of the stuff and to-dos that have accumulated in recent years to the ever-changing landscape of pharmacy and family life- you might be wondering which way is up! 

How do you find time in the day to do everything? Let me introduce you to time bucketing. 

Time Bucketing

The time bucketing method involves planning every single aspect of your day to effectively manage your time. You can do more by bucketing your tasks and scheduling like tasks together. Time bucketing can be done by the day, hour, 15-minute block, or whatever slice of time you want. As a pharmacy owner, you might have time blocks such as:

  • Team meetings.
  • Checking emails.
  • Covering lunches. 
  • Working the bench.
  • Reviewing your financials.
  • Following up on fax requests.

Time bucketing divides your work week into smaller, more manageable segments. Create time buckets for when you are in the pharmacy to help control your day.

Here’s an example:
  • Driving to work – listen to audiobooks of books you want to read
  • First 30 minutes – arrive, chat with the staff, check in around the pharmacy, create your priority list, and get settled
  • Next 30 mins – answer emails, go through the mail, process paperwork
  • Break 10 mins – bathroom, snack, or coffee
  • Next 60 minutes – pharmacy profit roadmap
  • Break 10 mins – bathroom, snack, or coffee
  • Next 120 mins – cover staff lunches
  • Next 60 mins – “themed” tasks for the day (will explain later)
  • Break 10 mins – bathroom, snack, or coffee
  • Next 60 mins – work with staff on initiative and goals based on the theme
  • Next 30 days – ensure all fires are extinguished for the day
  • Final 30 mins – wrap up, prepare to leave, make your list for the next day
  • Driving home – listen to your favorite music, or podcast of motivational people

Time Bucketing On The Bench

The above is only an example of a pharmacy owner who works the bench part-time. You can still do the same thing even if you are on the bench. 

What I used to do when I worked the bench full time and ran my pharmacy looked a little like this. I did not stand around at the counter every minute of every day. Yes, I would wait for the first and last hours of the day (or during your busy times). However, it wasn’t efficient during the middle part of the day. 

My buckets were 15-minute increments. For the first three buckets (or 45 min) of an hour, I would step away and work on the pharmacy. Working on the pharmacy meant following my controlling calendar, my theme for the day, and my prioritized to-do list. In the last 15 mins of each hour, I would return to the bench to get caught up with checking prescriptions. I would set an alarm to ensure I stayed on schedule. My staff would yell “waiter” if a patient was waiting, and I knew to come to check it immediately. 

Time Bucketing Is Powerful

Don’t overlook the power of time bucketing. When you bunch similar tasks together, you can get far more done. This is the magic sauce for pharmacy owners. You wear so many different hats in your business, and they can get overwhelming and confusing quickly. By compartmentalizing your various duties, you can perform each to your highest ability. 

Imagine putting away a big pile of laundry. If you grabbed a single item at a time, walked to put it away, and then returned and repeated, you can see how it would take a long time and a ton of steps.

Imagine the same pile of laundry again. Now you divide the clothes by which room they go into. You carry each pile to the room and then return. You completed your task much faster and with few wasted steps!

This waste happens in your brain when you switch between unrelated tasks. You waste a ton of time and energy. You can get more done in less time by bucketing similar activities together. The most common use of this is checking emails. Experts everywhere tout how efficient it is to only check your email a few designated times throughout the day rather than every time you hear a ding. 

Themed Days

Taking time bucketing to the next level is looking at bucketing my days. I liked to focus on certain things each day. To create buckets, if you will. That way, I can be more focused. It would be too chaotic if I tried tackling too many different things on the same day. So unless something was on fire, it waited until its “day” to be addressed. 

Here’s an example of my schedule when I was working in my first pharmacy:

  • Monday was marketing
  • Tuesday was technicians/staff
  • Wednesday was compounding
  • Thursdays were pharmacists
  • Fridays were financials

Just know that you won’t be perfect, and that’s ok. But start with a system and then tweak it as you grow and develop and become more advanced. Remember, as Ted Lasso would say, “KISS” Keep It Simple SmartyPants! 

I would keep a to-do list for each of the days. If I checked my email on Monday and something was compounding related. Rather than interrupt my marketing work, I would add it to my list for Wednesday. If it was a “fire,” like a compounding audit or a recall, it went into my fire bucket of time on Monday. I would not wait until Wednesday to address it. 

Prioritizing Tasks

When I make my daily lists, here is the process I follow:

  • Brain dump everything and anything.
  • Separate into my buckets, so I have small lists for each bucket type.
  • Then the hard part of deciding what is first. You might consider:
    • How hard is it?
    • What is the deadline?
    • Importance to your business.
    • Some other criteria you choose.

I personally hate procrastinating. Well, not so much the procrastinating but the anxiety that comes with it. I prefer to do the hard thing and get it over with so I don’t have to think about it. I tend to put hard things first; that way, everything is easier after that. 

If you feel like you have more to do than the time you have, you need a support system along with resources to help you. I invite you to take a look at our Pharmacy Badass University Membership. We have a proven Pharmacy Profit Roadmap and an experienced team to help you reach your goals. You can also reach out to us on social media or at info@diversifyrx.com

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    About DiversifyRx

    DiversifyRx is dedicated to helping pharmacy owners kick ass and create profitable, thriving pharmacies. We strongly believe the key to success is diversifying your revenue streams and maximizing each opportunity that is right for you. DiversifyRx was created by a pharmacy owner for pharmacy owners. We offer tons of free information and our Pharmacy Badass University membership. This site contains affiliate links to products or services. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

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