5 Simple Steps To Outsourcing Tasks For Women PhysiciansFeb 03, 2023
When you hear the word “outsource,” what comes to mind? I immediately think, “gosh, I am failing because I should be able to do this myself.” Outsourcing is trusting my needs to others, which I know is difficult for most female physicians. I am certainly guilty of this distorted thinking. The truth is, I cannot be the best mom, doctor, leader, or wife WITHOUT help, and if I don’t ask for it. I’ve had to change my mindset around outsourcing, and once I did, two things came to me: space for things I enjoy and overall peace.
I have learned that outsourcing equates to letting go, taking accountability, and trusting that someone else’s work is sufficient. When I started to humble myself and ask for help, I realized outsourcing allows me to stay focused on my goals, prioritize my needs, and be a better mom, friend, and physician to others. But above all, the beauty of outsourcing was that I could take back control of my time. What woman physician doesn’t need that?
How does Outsourcing Help?
As a working woman, balancing work and personal life demands can be challenging. One of the great ways to alleviate some of the stress and free up time is through an outsourced workforce. For example, you could hire a personal assistant to handle errands such as grocery shopping and other household tasks. You could also hire a virtual assistant to help you with administrative tasks, such as answering emails and scheduling appointments, scheduling and booking family travel, and even helping you with holidays and gift prep! By delegating these tasks, you can now focus on other essential things and have more time for yourself and your family.
Understandably, the term "outsourcing" can be intimidating or business-y. Still, it can also be considered a wise and best solution to managing work and personal life. It is one of my go-to life hacks! And, we have to STOP feeling “bad” or “guilty” doing it. It is important to remember that outsourcing should be used as a tool to achieve your goals rather than a sign of weakness or an overindulgence (I commonly hear both as a reason that we “shouldn’t” outsource.
If you are a health professional or working woman, you likely have a never-ending to-do list and unscheduled tasks coupled with the ongoing demands of your personal life … it all seems too much. Here are some amazing benefits of outsourcing and why I choose to do it:
- Increased productivity: Outsourcing specific tasks allows me to focus on the most important aspects of my work time while delegating and trusting other experienced service providers to handle other tasks more efficiently. It gives me peace of mind knowing that I can focus on crucial matters without worrying about minor tasks of business operations left on my plate.
- Cost savings: This one hits home when we choose to be simply practical. Outsourcing can be a cost-effective solution for many physician practices, not just in medicine, as we are only bound to pay for the services we need. If you think about it, you are saving money by having someone else step in and do things they can do that cost LESS than the amount of time YOU spend doing them!
- Access to specialized skills: My knowledge and skill sets are limited, indeed. Through outsourcing, I can trust tasks with someone trained, experienced, and well-equipped to handle them. So, many of the people I hire to do things do them FASTER and better than I would! Outsourcing gives me access to a wide array of services and professionals with specific skill sets, which I would otherwise not have access to. It also assures me that the job is getting done efficiently and quickly by someone equipped to handle it, and I don't have the intense pressure to complete tasks.
- Flexibility: Outsourcing can provide flexibility in a timely manner and in terms of the services I need and when I need them. It has helped me free up my time and resources to dedicate to other meaningful things. (Think p.r.n. outsourcing help, like hiring a babysitter. Yes, you can hire helpers in a similar fashion!)
- Work-Life Balance: Through outsourcing, it's the right choice to balance my work and life better. I can focus at work if someone else checks things off my task list at home. And vice versa. Think about it this way: while someone focuses on one area of your life, you can entirely focus on another area … and give it your full focus. You don’t need to bring home to work because someone else cares for your home to-do list. Do you ever think: “I wish I could go walk for 30 minutes, but the laundry…” OUTSOURCE that!
- Scalability: Outsourcing allows for scalability and making adjustments tailored to my needs while still having access to the same quality of service. In my type of work, I can delegate minor tasks on my plate while still delivering quality patient experience and being the best physician for my patients.
Outsourcing can help medical practitioners save time and resources, provide a better quality of care to patients, and focus on core responsibilities like patient outcomes. And all of that can be possible without getting bogged down by other tasks that can be delegated to outsourced staff members. Through outsourcing, physicians and other working women can focus on the steps needed to find time to spend on themselves.
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With time, I realized that the key to successful outsourcing is putting myself first and prioritizing my well-being. Whether that looks like it, it should help me feel more relaxed and recharged. Now, friend, make sure to carve out a few hours each week for activities that bring you joy and help you recharge. I have 10 amazing and simple ways to do it. You can reward yourself with one or more here.
When it comes to outsourcing, remember these three things: letting go of guilt, assigning others accountability, and trusting that their work is enough!
For me, outsourcing is letting go of something, giving it to someone who is equipped to handle it well, taking accountability no matter how things work out, and trusting the process that someone else’s ‘B’ work is actually ‘A’ work if it means that I have TIME for myself.
Some key reminders I remind myself of often when it comes to outsourcing:
- I must realize that I may be judged for asking for help, which is okay.
- I must be open to feedback and willing to adjust my expectations when necessary.
- I must understand that issues may arise and that no one’s work is perfect (including my own!)
- I must be mindful of the person’s capabilities and expectations who I hired to outsource and ensure that everyone is on the same page.
Your Support System MATTERS!
Another key to successful outsourcing have a good support system. I am always grateful to my colleagues, friends, and family members, who understand my situation. They are my source of comfort and strength to avoid physician burnout. But of course, there will be days when I feel overwhelmed, unmotivated, confused, and restless. That’s when I reach out to them when things are overwhelming. Friend, when these feelings and thoughts are crippling, do not hesitate to ask for help.
Yes, it can be tough to balance work and personal life as a woman physician; however, by outsourcing certain tasks, prioritizing your well-being, and finding a sound support system, you CAN help make it more manageable. If you need a piece of advice or a listener, my community of thriving women got you. Click here to join my community.
5 Great Ways to Outsource
Outsourcing can be the right direction for us woman physicians to reduce our workload and stress while freeing up time for ourselves and our loved ones. By following this step-by-step guide, rest assured that you are outsourcing the right tasks to the right service providers and that the results are meeting your expectations. Here are five steps to help you get started:
Identify Your Needs
Identify which tasks can be delegated to someone else. This can include the following administrative tasks such as:
- Appointment scheduling;
- Managing email and calendar;
- Handling billing and coding
- Organizing home closets etc
- Meal prep and weekly laundry
- Scheduling travel and family vacations
Before hiring an outsourcing company, taking a step back and assessing precisely what tasks you need outsourced is essential. I usually list all the tasks I need help with, from administrative to marketing to customer service, whatever it is that is aligned with my work. Then, I take the time to assess my workload and decide what tasks I want to outsource. I always consider which tasks take up most of my time and which would benefit most from outsourcing.
To start with outsourcing, ask yourself the following questions:
- What are the specific tasks or areas that I would like to outsource?
- What is my budget for outsourcing?
- What type of service provider do I need (freelancer, agency, etc.)?
- What skills or qualifications should I look for in a potential service provider?
- What are the legal and financial considerations for outsourcing?
- How will I measure the success of my outsourcing efforts?
- How will I manage the service provider once I have chosen one?
- What level of communication and transparency do I require from the service provider?
- How will I ensure quality control?
- What are the potential risks and challenges associated with outsourcing?
Do Your Research
Once you have a list of tasks that can be outsourced, the next step is finding the helper you need. It is important to do quality research if you want to find quality team members for your tasks. I often start by researching service providers that offer the specific services I need. This includes virtual assistants, medical billing services and medical coding, or even a remote medical scribe.
Typically, I will rely on online resources to learn more, reach out to online databases, and ask questions to ensure they are a good fit. You will want to make sure you find a reputable, experienced helper with a quality track record. Outside of online research, I often ask for referrals from colleagues or other healthcare professionals who have outsourced before.
Create a Plan
The third step is to plan how to structure what you are outsourcing. This will determine how often you will need to outsource tasks and how much you can afford to spend in doing so. In your plan, you will also want to outline expectations for the provider and timelines for completion.
Outsourcing can be expensive. It is important to understand clearly how much cash flow you have to spend. I always consider the cost-benefit of outsourcing the task, considering the potential savings in terms of time and stress. Savings isn’t always about money but also your energy and time.
At this stage, communication is crucial. Make sure to provide clear instructions and guidelines for the tasks you are outsourcing. This can include things such as office hours, contact information, and how you want to be informed of the progress of the work. When negotiating the terms, make sure you are also establishing a straightforward process for communication, follow-up, and realistic deadlines and goals.
The best way to begin is to discuss the project scope, budget, timeline, and expectations for deliverables. It assures that the provider understands the process and that everything will work out well in the end. I have found that onboarding helpers in any capacity normally takes about three months. Give yourself a timeline to reassess whether or not it is working out for you both in 3 months. Be upfront with the person you hire for the task about this three-month trial period in the beginning so that you can be on the same page.
Monitor Progress, Then Evaluate
The final step in outsourcing is to monitor the progress and evaluate the results. Make sure you keep track of the provider’s progress and make any necessary adjustments needed. Then you will want to evaluate the results of your outsourcing tasks to determine if it has helped.
Whenever I find that outsourcing is not working as well as I had hoped, that is not the end game. The key to this is having an open mind. Be flexible and try again until you find the right path that serves you best. You'll need to make adjustments or find a different service provider if necessary. If you’ve come this far, do not be afraid to make the necessary changes to the process to ensure that the tasks are completed to your satisfaction and expectation.
Outsource Now and Take Back Your Time
Outsourcing is a great way to take back your time and get the most out of your life. Women physicians often find themselves so overwhelmed and overburdened with our work demands that we often forget to take a step back and remember we also have a “life” to live.
Start outsourcing those tasks that eat up your time and take back your time by joining my three-part webinar series, The Best You Yet: Three Myths to Unlearn to Take Back Your Time in 2023. Sign up here! It’s all FREE.
By seeking help from others through outsourcing, you can now focus on the bigger picture and on the things that you are truly passionate about while delegating the mundane tasks that take up your time. Whether you are looking to outsource a one-time task or a long-term project, there are many great options available to you.
Through outsourcing, you can save money, energy, and above all else, time. Time to dedicate to self-care, self-growth, and self-investment. Now, friend, if you feel overwhelmed, outsource. And give yourself the GIFT of knowing you are doing the very best you can.
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