5 Time Management Strategies for Today’s Dentist
Managing one’s time is never an easy task—add to that the pressure of technology and a busy practice, and it’s no wonder many tasks on your to-do list are constantly getting pushed back! Today’s dentist needs to know how to manage their time in a way that works with modern technology and growing patient demands. In today’s blog, we’ll be covering seven ways you and your practice can improve time management and have more productive workdays.
Don’t be afraid to delegate.
During the workweek, one of the biggest problems you face may be a need to take care of everything yourself. Maybe you have been burned by poor staff performance before, or perhaps you live by the mantra that if you want something done right, you should do it yourself. While there’s something good to be said about being a dedicated, multitalented dentist, you should never feel as though everything in the office needs your complete attention. Delegating tasks to other staff members can lighten up your workload and allow you to place more focus where it belongs—on your patients.
If you don’t feel comfortable delegating certain tasks to your employees, it may be because they aren’t yet trained or experienced in the areas you need them to be. Successful delegation is always a byproduct of well trained, competent employees… so be sure to invest in extra training or specialized focus time that your staff may need.
Avoid “harmless” time wasters.
Throughout the course of your workday, you probably come across several seemingly harmless time wasters without even knowing it! These hidden “time traps” are even more prevalent in today’s day and age, when smartphones, tablets and personal computers make it easy to lose track of time (and the task at hand). Pay careful attention to how you spend your time on your tech devices—if your morning cup of coffee is always accompanied by browsing the web or checking old emails, you may want to direct your time to a more productive activity. Similarly, you may log onto your computer with one intention—then go down another path entirely when you check social media or other sites. Save these activities for after work so you can have a clearer, fresher mind in the office (and, of course, more time!).
Say “no” when you need to.
You can’t be expected to treat every office matter like it’s your own personal emergency. Prioritize your patients and the work you know has to get done, and use your discretion when deciding whether or not a new event warrants your full attention. Most importantly, don’t feel bad about saying “no” when you need to—a healthy office and productive practice depends on your ability to prioritize.
Rethink your routine.
If you know that your time management skills need work, but don’t know exactly where to start, look at your daily routine. You may benefit from logging your time into a journal to see what tasks take too long, and where you can afford to take productive breaks. The key idea here is to know what you’re doing so you can take steps to improve your work!
For example, if you notice that a big chunk of time in the morning is devoted to checking emails and “settling in,” it may be time to reconsider how you start the day. Similarly, if you notice that your office often runs into afternoon chaos, you may want to spread out the afternoon activities into more doable chunks of time.
Just like you advise your patients on how they can lead healthy lives, it is important that you lead one yourself—not just for your personal benefit, but for your practice as well! If you’re not getting enough sleep or have other unhealthy behaviors, your work may be affected. Give your office and your patients the best you can by taking care of yourself and destressing when necessary.
We’ve all felt like there aren’t enough hours in the day—but when you use the hours you do have more productively, you and your practice will reap the benefits.
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