Planning for a successful year

Ensure that distractions do not prevent you from completing your priorities.

As Ben Franklin once said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” No one understands this more than clinical staff, for whom the needs of patients often impact the pace of work accomplished.

Frequent interruptions can sidetrack employees who have the best intention to complete tasks. To succeed in a fast-paced environment, a clinical team member must be driven and ambitious — and always have a plan.

Specifically, department or team leaders should create a plan for completing internal obligations, such as compliance, staff education, regular medical record reviews, and more. Without a plan, those responsible for managing jobs and projects can put off these internal tasks when the clinic gets hectic and they become distracted. It is not uncommon for practices to “put aside” meetings and committee work because these jobs are not a priority for the group.

To prevent this, anyone involved with staff training or committee work should develop and follow an organized plan to ensure they accomplish team and practice priorities.

Plan ahead

The initial step is to begin with a task list of needs and/or requirements for the coming weeks, months, or year. A great planning tactic is to list what is required by federal and state laws, prioritizing mandatory training and education. Take advantage of practice resources and outside resources (e.g., BSM Connection’s online Compliance Calendar) when developing your plan.


If possible, share your composed list with other coworkers or a committee in your practice. Ask for feedback, and include any training topics identified in a revised list. Continue the planning process by reviewing the revised list with coworkers and consider involving the physician leader. The goal is to use your own efforts in tandem with those of the extended team.

Once the list is complete, the items on the list become the plan. Divide the plan into manageable parts — months or quarters, initially. Refer to the list, identifying either what is most important or what significantly impacts the team or practice. Prioritizing is simply focusing on the right tasks, in the proper order. Share your prioritized list with the team or a coworker one more time for feedback and comments.

The final step in this process is putting the list into a timeline or action plan. Align the priorities in the list with goals, and then assign responsible people to the items on the list. Keep it simple!

Successful completion

Since time is limited, prioritization is required to successfully complete action items within the plan. Set aside dedicated time to work on the action plan, make updates, and reorganize as needed. Adjust the plan when new priorities pop up.

As items are completed, cross them off the list and recognize the achievement. OP