Episode 19:

Burgers, busyness and business with Tara Humphrey

In this episode, Rachel is joined by Tara Humphrey, Founder and CEO of THC
Primary Care and host of the podcast ‘The Business of Healthcare with Tara
Humphrey’

We chat about the main mistakes GPs and other professionals make when trying to
run a business, either trying to do everything themselves or not paying enough
attention to the business side of things. Even if we don’t run a practice, many of us
are self-employed and are running ourselves as a business!

Time is often our limiting factor and there just isn’t enough time to get everything
done that we need to. This can be profoundly frustrating and lead to all kinds of
stress. Tara chats about the need for strategic planning both in our own lives and for
our businesses and partnerships and how setting goals not just for the day but the
next 90 days can be vital. We also discuss how getting help can be a life-saver, be it
admin support or coaching to help you set priorities.

Tara’s top tips:
1) Write down your priorities for the next 90 days
2) Plan your day before you start work
3) Block off time to do things that refuel you
4) Ask for help when you can

Welcome to episode 19 of You are not a frog: Burgers, Busyness, and Business.

Dr Rachel Morris

Welcome to You are not a frog, the podcast for GPs, hospital doctors and other busy people in high stress jobs. Working in today’s high stress environment, you may feel like a frog in boiling water. Things have heated up so slowly that you might not have noticed the extra long days becoming the norm. You’ve got used to feeling constantly busy and are often one crisis away from not coping. Let’s face it. Frogs only have two choices: to stay in the pan and get boiled alive or to hop out and leave. But you are not a frog, and that’s where this podcast comes in. You have many more choices than you think you do. There are simple changes that you can make, which will make a huge difference to your stress levels and help you enjoy life again. I’m your host, Dr Rachel Morris, GP and executive coach and specialist in resilience at work. I’ll be talking to friends, colleagues and experts, all who have an interesting take on this so that together we can take back control to survive and really thrive in our work lives.

Dr Rachel Morris

I’d like to tell you about our new CPD forms. If you want to learn while you listen and claim CPD points, then go to the link in the show notes and sign up to receive our fully downloadable podcast CPD forms. Each one is populated with show notes and links so that you can listen, reflect, and then note down what you’re going to do – a quick, easy and enjoyable way to do your CPD.

Dr Rachel Morris

So welcome to episode 19. Before we go any further, I’d just like to give a big shout out to all the GPs, practice managers, and nurses that I met at the kickoff event for my shapes toolkit courses for one of the London training hubs. We did a session on how to beat burn out, and it was really great to meet everybody there. So just to let you know, I’ve started a Facebook group called The Shapes Collective and in it I post lots of interesting articles that well, that I find interesting that I read, that I think you guys might enjoy. It’d be great if as many of you as possible could sign up to that so we can get some interesting discussions and debate going on. And just a big shout out to all the members of the shapes collective who are listening to this podcast.

Dr Rachel Morris

So I’m really excited about this episode, Tara Humphrey is a powerhouse. Not only does she run her own thriving business helping GP training hubs and CCGs and PCNs, but she’s also an ultra marathon runner and manages the family. I don’t know how she does it. So I thought it would be interesting for all my listeners to hear from her about her top tips about productivity, about how she creates really great processes, and about how she really advocates getting the help that you need. So I hope you enjoy this episode.

Dr Rachel Morris

So it’s really great to have with me on the podcast Tara Humphrey. Tara, welcome to the podcast.

Tara Humphrey

Thank you so much for inviting me. I’m really excited.

Dr Rachel Morris

I really wanted to have a chat with you because I think you’ve got a lot of really helpful tips and advice for our listeners. So, first of all, Tara, can you just tell us a little bit about what you do?

Tara Humphrey

So I am the founder and CEO of a company called THC Primary Care and we work with GP federations, primary care networks, health education England, NHS England, helping them implement their projects, their work streams, their networks, saving them time, stress, and money. And I’m also the host of the business of healthcare podcast.

Dr Rachel Morris

Brilliant and what is it you actually do on a day to day level? So what would a typical day in your life look like?

Tara Humphrey

So I’m currently supporting a primary care network. So we’re looking at their existing supplementary network services, looking through the specifications, looking at the criteria, making sure they’re aware of their key deadlines and the evidence for submission, thinking about communication and marketing, and raising the awareness off their primary care network amongst their practices. I also facilitate with NHS England. So again, talking to primary care network clinical directors asking them around their stresses, their challenges, what are their goals? What do they want to achieve? And then working closely with them to create a session to help boost that engagement. And then the bread and butter of our business – I employ five other people. We manage the day to day operations of a training hub, so we’re commissioning CPD. We’re managing emails. We’re attending Practice Manager’s forums. We’re doing training needs analysis. We are writing proposals. We, I think some of our budgets were over a £1,000,000 so we’re carefully making sure we’re tracking the income and expenditure. We’re looking at ways to save money. We work very closely with STP, so if you could do it in one area, rather than three training hubs all commissioning the same training, they work with our STP to save them money and create some consistency.

Dr Rachel Morris

Wow, that’s an awful lot of things. I can imagine if I was a director of PCN or you know, a clinical lead in a training hub, you’d be like gold dust. You’d be brilliant. It’d be like, wow, she’s just gonna sort out all that stuff that I quite know how to do.

Tara Humphrey

That’s the aim yeah, and when people – typically when people find us, they’re not quite sure what they want. But they just want some help. They want an extra pair of hands and it grows. But typically we work with people, they know what – they know what they want to happen – they don’t know how to make it happen, and more importantly, they don’t have the time. And what’s really nice about my teams is that there’s –  it’s not just me, we’ve got marketing support, we’ve got an operations manager, we’ve got admin support and we try to use IT to help us with that productivity. So we’re a small team, but we’re all about systems and processes and efficiency.

Dr Rachel Morris

I think you know, when I think about GPs, we’re trained clinically aren’t we, so we know how to manage patients – we’re not trained a) how to manage a business, and we’re not trained  up in marketing, and we’re not really trained up in processes and all those things that you need to communicate with you know, people across organisations and things like that. And I’m presuming that that’s the sort of thing that you guys, that that’s your bread and butter, that’s your really sweet spot, it’s doing all those things that the GPs just – it’s not that they can’t do them, just don’t know how to do them.

Tara Humphrey

Yes, I’d say some GPs and some CDs are fantastic. All of our clients have got more than one job, so they’re usually like the movers and shakers. They’re the leaders and they put their hands up and say, oh I’ll do it, I’ll do it. And then all of a sudden, they’ve got so many projects on their plate, they need somebody – it’s quite nice to have a bit of an objective view, to think about what is it that you really want to do? Why are you going to that meeting? Could – you can go to the first meeting, I can go to the second. What are the actions? Do you know when you go to a meeting, and on every meeting it’s like the same actions, nothing has moved?

Dr Rachel Morris

Yep. Yeah, been there.

Tara Humphrey

And it’s like, do those actions even matter? If not, we’ll just scrap them. Or let’s – I’m the sort of person and I can be quite direct where it’s like, who? What? Why? Where? How? How much? Who is going to do it? When they’re going to do it? When do you want it done? Why are we doing it? So that’s the support that I provide. And I’m just gently just pushing them forwards.

Dr Rachel Morris

So Tara you work with people on a sort of macro level with PCNs and with training hubs across SCPs and things like that. But I know you also have your podcast, which is the business of healthcare and there are lots of GPs that are – went into medicine to see patients but end up running quite a large business. And I can imagine this is true for lawyers and accountants and other professionals as well. What sorts of things would you want to include in the training before they even get to be running these businesses? What’s the main things that seem to be lacking for people in terms of business knowledge, business skills?

Tara Humphrey

In some respects, I would say financial management. I’ve worked with practices where I will say you’ve got this contract. Is the contract financially viable? Should we be doing this? And they’ll say ooh I don’t know and they’ll start the contract and then they will work how, actually this is not viable, and then they start to resent it, and it all starts to go a bit downhill. So I think that financial management skills at the beginning of the contract; when it comes in to really assess, do we want to do this? Why do we want to do it? Who is the best person to lead on this? What skill mix should we use? And I think, really thinking about the business and I do it in my business, it’s who is best placed to do X, Y, and Z. I think in general practice you’ve got these new roles. I’d be thinking, okay, how can we deliver the same output with less of my involvement? Because I’m the GP partner or I’m the CEO and my expertise is to provide that clinical overview and to drive this business and this service forward rather than me try to be in the nitty gritty and the detail of everything. So I think it’s the ability to step back and I suppose it’s strategic planning. Looking at the finance – I speak with a lot of practice and just general colleagues around, when I say to people, we had a team meeting yesterday and we’re like doing team building exercises. We are reinforcing the values, we’ve got a new member in our team. When I ask people, do you do X? Do you do that? And they’ll say no and I think, I come across so many people that don’t have a really clear understanding off their roles and responsibility and the kind of lines of, you know the chains of command, and that affects the efficiency of your business. When one minute somebody thinks they’re doing X and then someones asked them to do Y. And I know it’s naturally busy and we have to be flexible when there’s lots of things flying at us. But I’m not sure that at the beginning of each kind of quarter, of each month, each day we’re thinking these are the big strategic priorities. These are the day to day operations and are being really clear on what people need to do and what people are best placed to do. And I think when you get that, you get that clarity. It does make life a lot easier. And I just, when I think of all of the functions, you’ve got HR, you’ve got finance, you’ve got your day to day operations. You might have premises. You have got your kind of bread and butter contracts. You might have extended services and enhanced services. It’s really sitting down on a regular basis and planning and thinking, what have we got to do and why is it serving our bigger purpose? What do we really want to do for our patients? And I think it is time consuming. But I would say to people invest that time now so you save time later and it just gives you clarity. Definitely one – it just reduces stress. When I can come into the office and everybody’s clear on what they’re doing, it’s like a massive weight off the shoulders and it’s also to use GP Partners, and GP Managers and business managers are using other people within the team. I see people that, you know we’re all one person. There’s only so much somebody can do. So I think it’s really utilising the skills of other people and letting go and delegating. But when delegating, being really clear in what you’re asking that person to do so then they can just go off and do it.

Dr Rachel Morris

I think GPs tend to have two problems. Either they take everything on themselves and think well because I’ve been asked to do it, I’ve got to do everything and then they spend hours and hours on stuff that they don’t know how to do, so got to find out how to do, and then they do it.  Or the other way, and I’ve certainly been in some practices where some GPs just go, it’s not anything to do with me, you know? Let’s just leave all the running of the practice to the poor old practice manager. But of course they’re the business owners and the practice manager can’t get any decisions from them. And then they say, but we spent a long time in meetings. But in meetings what they’re doing is looking at the minutiae of stuff and not concentrating on any of the strategy. Is that your experience to?

Tara Humphrey

Definitely. And I think, yeah, they definitely fall into those two categories and it’s just finding a medium. I think the GP partner is accountable for the running of the business and making sure it’s financially viable. And then use your practice manager, or your operations manager to operationally run it. The GP shouldn’t do it by themselves and in the practice manager shouldn’t do it by themselves. It is a team. You guys need to be very close and I think when I’ve worked, when I worked with GP Federation, what’s really nice is that there was three of us. There was me on projects. We’ve both been governed and set in the strategic direction, and then there was a metre with the kind of day to day operations. And then there was obviously the wider strategic board and we were in communication constantly. It’s not just one person’s job to deliver all this stuff.

Dr Rachel Morris

So if there was a practice and you had a sort of, I guess the GPs look on themselves as if the board, if partners, you have one sort of CEO type and then use your practice manager to operationalise your ideas and what you need to get done. And then the practice manager can delegate to other people as well of course.

Tara Humphrey

Yeah.

Dr Rachel Morris

They don’t need to do everything too.

Tara Humphrey

Yeah, definitely. It is a team approach, but you have to keep talking and build those systems and processes, so things have come just – and in the practice, I mean, you guys do it. I’m not doing anybody a disservice, you do. I think, you know, it does run, but I think it’s about stepping back and thinking, what could be better? Do we have somebody in this who…? Do we have a superstar administrator that could do more? It would make that person happy and it would also serve the business objectives because we’re making – it’s a bit cliche – it’s like aces in their places, and it’s using your people, using your technology, and investing in the technology on – I see so many practices where it’s like really struggling on outdated technology because they don’t want to spend £1000 and upgrade their computer system. It’s like, why would you not want to do that? That £1000 will save you thousands and thousands of pounds moving forward in time.

Dr Rachel Morris

It’s interesting. I heard of a large set of conglomerate practices who employed a business manager from outside, from the external world, and he’s come in, walked around a lot of the practices and said, there’s so much inefficiency here. With everyone doing a little bit of everything rather than people being properly skilled to do their one job and do it really, really well.

Tara Humphrey

Yeah, I definitely agree, and I think sometimes you know that you don’t know what you don’t know, and I think I’m in a really lovely position. I’ve got private sector experience and I’ve worked in the insurance market, even worked in McDonald’s, and I learnt so much around building systems and processes and standardisation there, and I’ve got the luxury of seeing how many – we’ve supported over 400 practices. Lots of practices do it. Everyone does it slightly differently and you can, you know you can learn. And sometimes when I go to practice managers meetings and I say, like they’re there and then talk, but they don’t really share what they’re doing around what is working. So it was one of the reasons why I set up the podcasts. Because it’s a bit like what do you do Rachel? And then, it may be really good and other people can start to implement it.

Dr Rachel Morris

Yeah, absolutely. And that McDonald’s franchise model. I think that there’s a book about it, isn’t there? And it’s called The E-Myth.

Tara Humphrey

Yeah.

Dr Rachel Morris

It’s a brilliant book. If anyone is interested in setting up businesses and things, read The E-Myth, or the new one is The E-Myth revisited.

Tara Humphrey

Yepp.

Dr Rachel Morris

And it’s all about how McDonald’s is almost the perfect business model because they have got all their processes down to a tea so I could open up a McDonald’s tomorrow if I had a suitable venue and it would run successfully because everything is mapped down. Even you know, the exact amount of time you put the burgers on the grill for and actually where you stand, and they even mapped out the kitchen and just to make it efficient. So –

Tara Humphrey

I think, to practices, they might think,  well, you know, that’s burgers and we’ve got patients. But you guys might have heard of productive general practice and the time for care team, where some things can be standardised – many things can be standardised and still have that human touch. It’s not, you know, we’re not all machines, but it is about how can we deliver the you know, the best most efficiently, so people can step in and step out – so the job is not built around me. Then if I’m not there, I’m stressed because I’m a home and the team is stressed because I’m not there. So it’s giving people ownership and responsibility, but making sure that the business can run and the business is sustainable. And it’s not just reliant on just a few people.

Dr Rachel Morris

And in your experience of being in that sort of time for care team and going into practices, what’s the one or two things that you think, across the board, should be standardised? That would really, really save GPs time and stress.

Tara Humphrey

It may be controversial, but I see workflow,  can of what we would call workflow optimisation working really well and that is training staff up to support the processing and reading of clinical correspondents.

Dr Rachel Morris

Yeah.

Tara Humphrey

That does save GPs time and money and stress, and there is trusts, and there is training. But I haven’t heard any horror stories. I definitely haven’t heard any horror stories. It is a bit time consuming at the beginning, but I think if GPs want to save time and think, is it in everybody’s interest for me to be reviewing all these letters when somebody else could do it, and probably do a better job, and spot things that they might not do because they’re working late into the night? So I think workflow optimisation I see working really, really well. And from a practice manager’s point of view, it sounds really basic, but just how people organise their offices and how you manage your emails. There’s a lot of wastage in that and having a – you know, like it’s New Year, really having a tidy up and organisation of their office and looking at how they communicate. And there’s also something, it’s not a process, but keep talking to people about protecting their time and guarding their time and really saying ok, when I’m doing the X, Y, and Z, or when I’m doing this, you know, two sessions when I’m working on this project, you need to really guard and protect your time so you can go off and do it rather than have this open door policy where you’re constantly being interrupted.

Dr Rachel Morris

And I think so many of us have these extra jobs and you know, you have a session doing this and a session doing that, and soon actually you’re employed for too many sessions for actually days in the week, and you end up trying to do stuff in the lunch hour or two different things at once, and that is a really, really inefficient, ineffective way of working.

Tara Humphrey

Yeah and I understand that because you guys want to do everything. Sometimes, I think, and that’s where – and you can’t volunteer people for roles – but I think when I’ve worked with a client, it works best when I’ve got a clinical lead, I’m there as a project manager or the network manager, and admin support. So every time a clinical lead takes on a responsibility is to think, depending on the type of project, who can support me with this? Rather than taking it on all by yourself. When I see GP leads organising meetings and reading papers, I think that’s not your – you can review them, I’ll write the report. You need to go to the meeting. I will organise it for you. You need to understand the submission dates. I’ll provide that information so you’re not hunting round. I will standardise the documents for you so next time you have to do something, you know what to fill in and it’s not coming back to you because you haven’t met all the criteria. So I just think it’s, to me, and it may sound really boring to other people, but it’s just like project planning, it’s just being organised. It’s just being – trying to think about how can I give the GP clinical lead, or just the lead, they don’t always have to be clinical – how can I make your life easier? And you as the lead should be thinking. I want to do this role and I can really do this role. But actually, I don’t want to be organising meetings. I don’t be hunting around for documentation. I don’t want my staff to be following a process which hasn’t been carefully mapped out.

Dr Rachel Morris

So it’s thinking of that when you start off; actually, in this role that I’m going to do, where do I add the highest value?

Tara Humphrey

Yeah.

Dr Rachel Morris

As a GP or as a lawyer or as an accountant, you know where – what is it that this role needs my skills for? And actually, yeah, for organising meetings or some of the other stuff that might go with it.

Tara Humphrey

Yeah.

Dr Rachel Morris

That’s much better done by someone with the admin skills and the time to be able to do it.

Tara Humphrey

Yeah, I think the admin skills and the management skills. And there are people out there that love doing that stuff. And I think, I’m working with somebody now where I said to them, how do you best want to be communicated? I don’t wanna keep sending you emails, so I would, I just said to her, if you’ve got any thoughts, if you want to share anything with me – we’ve got a submission to write up,  I was like, just send me some whatsapp voice notes. I don’t want you spending ages you know, trying to send me this email when you could send me a message via whatsapp that would take you less than a minute.

Tara Humphrey

Yeah.

Tara Humphrey

Or it could have, potentially that task would have taken you an hour to write that up. So it’s just, whoever you’re working with, is to really sit down and think how – I’m most productive when, I like to be communicated using X, Y and Z, don’t contact me on a Friday because on Fridays I do X, Y and Z. And it’s like building those habits and sticking to those habits and boundaries being really clear. People will respect it. You’ll still get the work done. You’ll get more work done and you’ll feel better about – I think productivity isn’t always about trying to get you to do more. I want my team to feel good about the work that they’ve done, and they haven’t, you know, stressed themselves out trying to tick everything off the list.

Dr Rachel Morris

Yeah and you know what extra help is available to GPs because I know, I’ve recently got a VA, a virtual assistant who, you know, I’ve never met her in person although we’ve spoken a lot on the phone and she’s absolutely brilliant. And she you know helps a lot with my business. Have you ever seen GPs, you know, using VA or all these sort of online services or anything like that? Or not yet?

Tara Humphrey

No I haven’t. And I sometimes think – when I speak to people, I think, have you got a personal assistant? I’ve got a personal assistant and I used to feel like really like, embarrassed, like who do I think I am having a personal assistant? I could not run this business without that role. I think having a personal assistant and their job is to manage me to make sure I’m in the right place at the right time that I’ve got the meeting papers. I’m very clear on what we’re doing. At the end of the meeting, she’ll call me up and say, what was the outcome of that meeting? What are the actions? And that person is there supporting me. All of the team support me. So I definitely think having some type of administrative support to look at all the meetings, to look at the rhythm of your meetings. So at the end of the month, you know that you know that you’re busy but actually somebody there – what we do in our team is I look at my upcoming 90 days of how many days have I actually got free? Which meetings am I going to? Which meetings should I not go? Sometimes I just need some white space to think about things, and that sounds like a luxury, and I bet people are thinking, I can’t do that. But it works for me. I’m most creative and get most of my ideas when I’m actually not working. But – and I’ve also got a family. So I need some time in my work schedule just for white space. And that’s why I’m writing my blogs and doing the podcast and things like that. So I would say to a clinical lead, you know, it’s your business, it’s your time, and I’ve come across people – I say you’ve put everything on your plate and you’ve piled it up. It’s up to you – you might have to take something off your plate. If you really can’t deliver it in the way that you would like and you’re not willing to invest in some administrative support or project management support or coaching support, you mentioned what other resources we have a virtual assistant. I have a business coach. I have a writing coach, I’ve had a personal trainer. I’m the sort of person where if I want to do something and I want to do to the best of my ability, it doesn’t occur to me to struggle on my own. I will get a professional to help me.

Dr Rachel Morris

Yeah, and that’s a really interesting point, because I know that since starting my own business, you know, I started off doing everything myself, and now I just get help wherever I can. If I know that someone else can do it better than me, which is a lot of things, including all the social media stuff including, you know, editing the podcast and even some writing sometimes, you know, it is much more sense to outsource it to someone who can do it quicker and better, and probably cheaper as well. But I don’t think we’re not really in that mindset I don’t think in general practice.

Tara Humphrey

No and I think it’s – you can either look at it like you’re spending money, that you potentially could have that money yourself, or you can look it as investment. So when we work with people – I’ve worked with multiple business coaches, a good business coach, a good consultant – you don’t have to work with me forever. I will build those systems process. I have to step away. It’s the success of my business and my reputation that I can step away. And either you get somebody else to do it, or you feel more confident and capable in those systems and processes there. So you can work with people and I think some people may think, well, how do I stop working with that person? A good consultant, in whatever fashion, if you say, actually, I just want to help for three months or six months or a few weeks, that person – that’s the objective for that person to remove themselves and train you up so you’re not reliant on them. Or you may just have to accept that you need ongoing support and you just have to hire. If you’re gonna hire, that is an investment, you need to take the time, you need to train them. You need to be forgiving of mistakes. And I would say – and I’ve been through it, it does take time and don’t look at it as an expense. It’s an investment to help you grow.

Dr Rachel Morris

Yes, and there are three real barriers for getting help. It’s exactly as you said. I think the first one is the time it takes – either to find the person or to train them up and to you know, to actually say what you want to do. Money. I know people worry about that, but in my experience, in practices we’re time poor, it’s time that we’re more poor in rather than the cash and I would gladly pay a bit out to get a bit of time back. But the third thing, and I think this is the thing that really trips us up, is perfectionism. Because often people don’t do things in quite the same way as I would do it – often they’re actually doing it better – and I can’t see that. But it’s a combination of perfectionism and control. We really worry about the loss of control if we’re delegating stuff to other people. And yeah, I mean, what would you say to people that have those perfectionist tendencies?

Tara Humphrey

I think it’s like looking at the bigger picture. We’re not all going to do it the same. I think it’s trust. Go with the skills and go with your gut instinct and say – I say to my PA, you know, these are my quirky ways. I like doing this and I like doing that. And that’s just, you know, that’s just me. And you learn to work closely together. And I always say when it comes to financial things, so like when new people join the team, you know, I’m nervous about that. At the moment I do the payroll. I don’t need to do it and when we’re working up to what you know, that’s like a key performance indicator. You know, in a few months, I’ll hand that over to you and we’re gonna be talking, we’re going to be building that trust so I can hand that over to you. So it’s just about being honest and saying I really want some help. I’ve never had a – I’ve never worked with a project manager before. I’ve never worked with an assistant before. Let this, you know, it’s baby steps lets start with a few hours and then work up and we will work out the system, and then once you’ve worked out the system, we’ll document the system. So if you’re sick or somebody else can’t do it, there is still a process that we could follow. And if I need to re recruit then next time you re recruit will be so much easier because you’ll understand the lessons learned, you’ll understand your delegation style and your leadership style and that person will be able to come in and they’ll have their manual. So if a GP buys in any support, even if they’re going to be a permanent role, make sure they document what they do and build their employee manual, that will save you time moving forwards.

Dr Rachel Morris

And I guess you could get then, yeah, they can document what they do and they can like manual themselves and delegate that and cheque it out, and yeah, co create.

Tara Humphrey

Yeah.

Dr Rachel Morris

So a lot of people listening to this podcast will be portfolio GPs and local GPs, not necessarily having to run the business in the practice, but they may well have other roles outside, and I think one thing that we don’t often think of ourselves is – we are our own business because most of us are self employed, particularly if we are a locum and then we have other things that we fit in. What things in those sorts of areas can we delegate in our own personal business as it were. What sort of things would you be suggesting?

Tara Humphrey

In your personal? I think there is a role for administrative support. So you’ve got meetings to go to, if some of you guys – I in my personal life, I’m a lot on Instagram and I see lots of GPs on instagram and they’re writing books, and they’ve got coaching programmes and I think they’re promote – you’re promoting your business, promoting your services and marketing support and having that social media support is very helpful, it’s very time consuming. I think people underestimate –

Dr Rachel Morris

Ooh yes.

Tara Humphrey

– how much time it takes and when it’s really good people, you know, underestimate those good graphics and the consistency. So having somebody to help you with that and really craft your message around what you want to do and what service it is that you are providing it’s those business skills. And I am guilty of it myself. You know, like it’s selling yourself. If you’re a portfolio GP and you’re selling a business, you’re selling a coaching service or any sort of service, you need to be really clear on what you are selling and marketing supports that and having somebody to help you with that. And also, I would say I have a business coach. A lot of mindset issues come up when you are either – yeah you’re self employed and you’ve got a portfolio role and you’re switching. One minute I’ve got this hat on and next minute I’ve got that hat on. When should I share this? You’ve got a lot of information. You have to keep some of it to you, you know, like it’s confidential. And that is whirring around in your head all of the time and having somebody is what – it’s lovely you know, you’ve got your friends and you might have a mastermind group to chat things through. There are some things you might want to talk with a business coach and think, I think a lot of us have got quite big ambitions and you might know wanna share them. And I think having a guide to talk through how do you move to the next step? How do I move to the next step? And I came across a saying the other day with every new level comes a new devil.

Dr Rachel Morris

Oh, like that.

Tara Humphrey

Yeah. I need to find out the source. It’s not mine, unfortunately. But yeah, every time you step up there is that – you’re inner critic, or  impostor syndrome. Those alarm bells start ringing, so I definitely think in any sort of leadership position when you’re juggling yourself, other people, your families and taking that step out of general practice and going into the world of business, it is a business, and I think learning, you know, you’ve got your tax returns, managing your finances, setting your rate. I’m not going yeah I’ll do it for free, but wanting to do – you want to give.

Tara Humphrey

Yes.

Tara Humphrey

And managing your time and boundary because you’re not – you might not be going to the surgery every day. You’re working at home and what – I think lots of people think I will go self employed and I’ll have all this time and I’m my own boss and I can do what I like, and then you find yourself still sending emails and, you know, checking blog posts at 11 o’clock at night. So you have to learn your own time management tips and when to, you know, put put it down. But it is work and I think it’s a balance between what you put in you will get out, but sometimes you do need to stop and relax and remember, I’ve gone self employed because I wanted a bit more freedom, fun and flexibility.

Dr Rachel Morris

Yeah, that’s such such good advice, because even if you’re not doing anything outside of general practice, you still need to know what your boundaries are. Getting an executive coach, I would say, is really important. I, like you, a business coach. I’ve had coaching when I did my career change, it got me further in three months than I would have got in 18 months, just because it helped me think things through. And actually, getting someone to help you think through; what do I want my week to look like? You know, how many clinical sessions do I want to do? Do I need to do anything else in there that’s going to add to my life, or add to my portfolio, or just add to my enjoyment of my work so I could maybe do other stuff where I use my different strengths and skills. It’s just so important and so helpful. So you know, being able to know where you’re going to put your boundaries in. And even what you’re gonna say yes to. I was speaking to someone who said yes to a load of sessions just because she’d been asked and she felt, because someone had asked her she felt she ought to do it. And you know, I think all of us are a bit like that. We’re flattered to be asked to do something, and we don’t like saying no, but then we end up – what we’re losing out is our time to be creative or or just our time off, or our time to be with our families.

Tara Humphrey

I know you listen to the Amy Porterfield podcast and I think it’s episode 296 she talks about boundaries and, so regardless of where you are, you know, if you’re a person and you do more than one thing, you’ll have some boundaries. It is really helpful, and the takeaways I took away from that podcast is that you can say no and still be a nice person. If you don’t have any boundaries, you run the risk of living your life by other people’s standards all the time, and you’re worried about what they think. So you’ll fall into the people pleasing mode. And, I think she gave some advice where she asked us to think about what are your key priorities in your life? And for me, it’s health and fitness, family and business. And every time you say yes to an opportunity is at what cost? Is it a cost to for me? My health and fitness, the business, my core objectors of my business and my team? Or my family, am I not going to see my kids?  And it’s okay to make those sacrifices. But you just want to be really clear on why you’re doing them and that I will definitely take that away and regard you know, your priorities are personal to you. And sometimes – I’ve got three children – sometimes I’m not there, sometimes – I’m at work today and sometimes in the evening, I might go to a meeting and I’m not with my kids and I’m doing that to boost my business. Sometimes it’s like, no, I’m protecting this time for my kids and I am gonna take them to school. I’m gonna take them to gymnastics because that is my time. And I’m not going to sacrifice that. And I wake up really early in the morning and I’ll do my bike ride or I go to the gym because I do that because it’s going to set me up for a day. I’m more productive. I’m happier, my endorphins are gone. I’m just a generally happier person, and if I have a contract that means I can’t do that, I will think very carefully because my health and fitness is more important than skipping that. They would not make me good at my job if I didn’t have that in my life. So, and everyone’s got their own, their own thing, and I just really like that now that I use that framework to guide what I say, yes and no to moving forwards.

Dr Rachel Morris

Wow, so so think about what your top three priorities are and then does this fit in with those? I think one of the main problems we have been saying though is just doing in the heat of the moment, and my top tip for anyone who thinks they need to say no a little bit more, is just to use the phrase, right, can I have a think and get back to you?

Tara Humphrey

Yeah.

Dr Rachel Morris

Just gives you the time because then – and then we know exactly what’s to send then – send an email or a text saying I’m really sorry, I’ve had a think, I’m afraid that won’t work for me. And sort of saying, just saying that won’t work for me. You don’t need to give reams and reams and reams of explanation. The more explanation you give for something the weaker your nose seems to be sometimes.

Tara Humphrey

Yeah. And I’d also add to that and say, if you do want to do it, if you want to change it, if you say okay, Rachel, I do want to do your podcast but I can’t do it today. But I’d love to do in a month.

Dr Rachel Morris

Yeah.

Tara Humphrey

You can change, you know if they want, if they want you.

Dr Rachel Morris

Yeah.

Tara Humphrey

So you can, you can change it to work for you and if there’s no movement, then that’s absolutely fine least you’ve tried.

Dr Rachel Morris

Yeah.

Tara Humphrey

So yeah, it’s either kind of wait, let me think about it, or I would like to do it, but could could we negotiate the terms?

Dr Rachel Morris

A really, really good resource, and I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, it is a book called Essentialism –

Dr Rachel Morris

Yep.

Dr Rachel Morris

– I don’t know if you’ve come across that?

Tara Humphrey

Yepp, I’ve read it. I did a doc review on it I think.

Dr Rachel Morris

Did you? I mean, that’s just my go-to book. I read it every single year. It’s by a chap called Greg Mckeown, who is a professor at Stanford I think and, you know, I think the strap line is, well in my mind it’s doing fewer things but better really, and it’s about how to, you know, cut down the amount of stuff we’re doing so we can give our highest, highest value. And I think that’s key for enjoyment of life. It’s key for running a good business isn’t it? Really to work out what your priorities are, so there’s loads of great advice and we’ll put that in the show notes as well. So Tara could you just tell us what your top three tips would be for a GP or really any professional that’s juggling maybe more than one thing in terms of, you know, running – thinking of themselves as a business, I guess – and running that smoothly?

Tara Humphrey

Number one is planning. Plan out your 12 month goals. And if you can’t plan out that – if that feels too far, plan out what you want your next 90 days to look like, what do you want to achieve in your next 90 days? And write it down, display it somewhere – I’ve got mine on my – I’ve got a little photo frame where I’ve put my 90 day goals once I’ve shared them with the team. So I’d write out your 90 day goals. I sent an email to my team – we had a meeting yesterday – plan your day before you start your day. Don’t just jump into your day. Don’t just jump into the emails. Really think about what do I want to do today? What do I want to do this week? And be really clear – and I would say for me – exercise and meditation are key. I am a happier, more productive person when I do those things.  It might not be for everybody, but I would say I would urge everybody to think when are you at your best? And is it when you’ve done some exercises or when you’ve done some meditations, or when you’ve done taking the dog for a walk? Allow for a bit of fun and don’t sacrifice that fun when you start getting busy because the busy, the fun helps you do the busy stuff. And don’t, yeah don’t, don’t forget, you know like, it’s your life, it’s your business. I believe you get one life and I love my work, and I’m super ambitious, but it’s not all about work. And I think, you know when I, when I exercise, when I meditate I use a 10% happier app and when I meditate, and when I’ve exercised I am I’m good to go.

Dr Rachel Morris

Yeah. So find the thing that really rejuvenates you –

Tara Humphrey

Yeah.

Dr Rachel Morris

– re energises you and make sure you put it in the diary –

Dr Rachel Morris

Yeah.

Dr Rachel Morris

– and you plan out when you’re gonna you’re gonna do it. I know that exercise for me, if I’m not exercising, I spiral down into the vortex of vortex of busyness and we can put a link to that as well in the show notes. A vortex of busyness is when you’re so busy doing work, that you’re staying up later, you’re not doing anything that re energises you, your starting to think about working the night and waking up early thinking about it. You get tireder, you get exhausted. You feel that there’s no joy in life anymore. And that’s so quickly that we can spiral down into that.

Tara Humphrey

I know you asked me for three, but I did think – and I have to say this –

Dr Rachel Morris

Ok.

Tara Humphrey

– is to look for help. There are people out there that will help you.

Dr Rachel Morris

Yeah.

Tara Humphrey

So I would say yeah, my, the fourth one is yeah, you know, plan, set up your day, make time for something that really invigorates you, energises you and  also commit to getting some help when you need it. Even if it’s only temporary. That person, that consultant, that support, will be able to give you information that you didn’t know that will reap rewards for years.

Dr Rachel Morris

Yeah, I just got a lovely, lovely book for Christmas by this amazing artist called Charlie Mackesy and I can’t remember what it’s names called – The mole, the horse, the fox and the boy – something like that – and it’s really beautiful illustrations. There’s lovely quotes sort of about life, it’s sort of a mini parable story thing and one of the pages, the boy or the horse or the fox – he asks someone – what’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done? And the person replies, the bravest thing I’ve ever done was to ask for help.

Tara Humphrey

Yeah.

Dr Rachel Morris

I love that. I was like, orh, that is so important. Because sometimes I think we can’t actually work out ourselves, even who we need to ask help from, or for, or what, and how we go about it. So in that point talk, I think talking to a colleague or getting a coach and talking that through is so, so important.

Tara Humphrey

And how we work with people, and even if they don’t go onto commission our services, you know, it’s just a phone call, you know like, sometimes it can just be just a phone call you don’t have to invest in if you haven’t the funds to do it. People love sharing this stuff and, you know, read a blog, you know, part of your planning and part of that thing that energises you might be saying, ok, well, I’m going to read a blog. I’m going to read a book. There was a book called Eat My Frog it’s about productivity it’ll take you, you know, it’ll take you a day to, you know, like I’m going to read this for three days, I don’t know, 45 minutes –

Tara Humphrey

Yeah.

Tara Humphrey

– each day. There are things that you can do to get the help. I think we do know when we need some help. Life is just simpler. And I think life is more fun. Why, why would we want to do it all by ourselves?

Dr Rachel Morris

And there are some great great resources out there, you know, particularly with general practices, all lots and lots of stuff about workforce development – sorry workflow development.

Tara Humphrey

Yep.

Dr Rachel Morris

You know, you’ve got loads and loads of resources. You’ve got your podcast. I know our friends at my locum manager have got loads of resources there just to make your life a lot easier when you’re trying to sort of schedule and bill and all that sort of stuff. And Ben Gowland at Ockham Healthcare have got loads of really good stuff as well that you can just borrow from me each other.

Tara Humphrey

Yeah.

Dr Rachel Morris

I think this, you know, this idea of just using that the burger, the burger one of the McDonald’s model. But other people already have this working is so sort of important.

Tara Humphrey

Yeah and I think, yeah, I write a blog – you want to help people and I just think well, just think read it, just implement just one thing – it’s free.

Dr Rachel Morris

Yeah, absolutely. And podcasts as well of course. Listen to loads of podcasts I think – I learnt so much from listening to podcasts you know. But I guess you know, me and you would wouldn’t seen as we actually do podcasts.

Tara Humphrey

Yeah!

Dr Rachel Morris

So Tara we need to finish up there but it’s been so brilliant to have you on, will you come back another time and we’ll –

Dr Rachel Morris

Definitely.

Dr Rachel Morris

– carry on the conversation.

Tara Humphrey

Definitely.

Dr Rachel Morris

So if people want to get hold of you, how can they do that?

Tara Humphrey

So you can find me on Twitter @THCPrimaryCare and I’m also on LinkedIn if you look for Tara Humphrey, and our website is www.thcprimarycare.co.uk.

Dr Rachel Morris

Brilliant. Okay, we’ll put all those links in the show notes. So thank you Tara and have a really good day.

Tara Humphrey

You too, thank you, bye.

Dr Rachel Morris

Thanks for listening. If you’ve enjoyed this episode please do subscribe to the podcast and also please rate it on iTunes so that other people can find it to. Do follow me on Twitter at @DrRachelMorris, and you can find out more about the face to face and online courses which I run on the Youarenotafrog.co.uk website. Bye for now.

Podcast links

Contact Tara tara@thcprimarycare.co.uk
Tara’s website can be found here: https://www.thcprimarycare.co.uk/
Here is the link to all Tara’s Business of Healthcare Podcast episodes:
http://thebusinessofhealthcare.libsyn.com/

Find THC on twitter: @THCPrimarycare
And linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tarahumphreythc/
Read our blog where we share leadership insights on how to improve the delivery of your
projects: https://www.thcprimarycare.co.uk/blog

And listeners can sign up to our newsletter and we’ll send them the blog and podcast each
week along with more in-depth insights and advice designed to improve business and
project performance: https://tarahumphreyconsulting.us13.list-
manage.com/subscribe?u=805734b0b541a7d55f8e6c712&id=db44a86c96

Essentialism by Greg McKeown https://www.amazon.co.uk/Essentialism-Disciplined-
Pursuit-Greg-McKeown/dp/0753555166

Eat that Frog https://www.amazon.co.uk/Eat-That-Frog-Important-Things/dp/1444765426

Amy Porterfield podcast on boundaries https://www.amyporterfield.com/2020/01/296/

The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse by Charlie Mackesy
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Boy-Mole-Fox-Horse/dp/1529105102

Sign up to hear about new podcast episodes and get your downloadable CPD reflection forms plus more tools and resources

For more episodes of You are not a frog, check out our website www.youarenotafrog.com/podcasts/ and sign up to our mailing list here for loads of useful resources about thriving at work.

Follow Rachel on twitter @DrRachelMorris or LinkedIn and find out more about her
online and face to face courses for doctors on surviving and

Other Podcasts

Episode 40 – Leading with tough love with Gary Hughes

In this episode, Rachel is joined by Gary Hughes, author of the book Leadership in Practice, blogger, educator and facilitator who is a Practice Manager by day. We chat about how leadership in the COVID-19 crisis has had to adapt, and the different roles that a leader has had to take.

Episode 37 – How to manage conflict during COVID with Jane Gunn

Rachel is thrilled to welcome back Jane Gunn – lawyer, mediator and expert in conflict resolution who has been known as the Corporate Peacemaker. This episode is for you if the thought of addressing a difficult issue with one of your colleagues send you running for the hills…

Episode 20 – A creative solution to stress with Ruth Cocksedge

In this episode, Rachel is joined by Ruth Cocksedge a Practitioner Psychologist who started her career as a mental health nurse. She practices in Cambridge and has a particular interest in EMDR for PTSD and creative writing as a way to improve mental health and wellbeing.

Episode 11 – The magical art of reading sweary books

In this episode, Rachel is joined once again by Dr Liz O’Riordan, the ‘Breast Surgeon with Breast Cancer’, TEDx speaker, author, blogger, triathlete and all round superstar who has been nominated for ‘Woman of the Year’.

Previous Podcasts

Ways to stay in touch.

Join the community

Fill in just a few details to hear about the latest tools, services and resources designed to help you and your team become more resourceful and resilient in the workplace.

2020-06-21T13:36:21+00:00