All of the clients I work with want things to change. After doing this work for 15 years now, I can tell you that the biggest roadblock to clients having the changes they want is that they don’t make time for them.
I guess that’s understandable. Everyone leads busy lives. However, not everyone leads the life they want. Most often my clients complain that they work too many hours/days/weeks/years and have let go many of the passions they once had.
It fascinates me how much some folk get done in a day, week, a lifetime and also, how little some others achieve. So, with the same 24 hours in every day, let me share with you some secrets of how high-achievers find time to make change.
Start With Yourself.
- Get up earlier. Research shows the majority of people achieve 80% of their production in the morning. So make your mornings longer. Set your alarm an hour earlier. (And give up on watching News Night, in fact definitely give up on watching the news just before you go to bed.) See: https://www.robinsharma.com/article/be-wise-early-rise
- Make sure you move every day: swim, walk, go to an exercise class (yoga is great for dentists). And, get out and breathe in the air, every day, before you start work and at lunchtime. Get up and move around between patients. Don’t go from car to the practice to the car to home… Movement gives you energy and re-charges your batteries: many people try and do their best work with flat batteries! Find something that you enjoy and look forward to.
- Limit your screen time and don’t take your phone/screen to the bedroom. (Consider giving up on all social media. Does it really add much/anything to your life?)
- Once you’re up, showered with a mug of something hot, (good coffee in my case), give yourself half an hour for some reflection, journalling or mindfulness and then plan the day. Most importantly, list the three things that must happen today.
- Get a PA to handle your personal admin: home book-keeping and bill paying, running your home diary such as car servicing, holiday booking, parent teacher evenings, house maintenance etc…
- Be on-time. (Every time.) Or better still, 10 minutes early.
- Go home early. Eat early (before 7). Go to bed early (before 10). Set your alarm early.
- Make time for your passions. They create energy and fulfil your need to be creative. If the old ones don’t hit the spot anymore, learn something new (a musical instrument, furniture making, paddle boarding etc.)
- Get plenty of help at home so you don’t spend time on tasks others can do. Employ: a housekeeper, a gardener (unless it is your passion), painters, tradesman etc.
- Don’t waste time. Play audio books or podcasts on your commute, shop online (they bring your groceries to your front door!!!), don’t sit in queues, find another way or leave earlier, unsubscribe from email marketing that no longer interests you.
And Then The Business.
- Don’t run the business at weekends and between patients.
- Take 10 weeks leave a year. Book your holidays a year in advance. Make one of them at least 3 weeks and preferably 4 weeks.
- Work 3 days clinical, 1 day on the practice and have 3 day weekends. (Take Mondays off rather than Fridays. Fridays are often really productive in Dental Practice, nobody misses you on a Monday and you can easily get hold of other people to talk to or meet with.).
- Zone your diary so your three days are productive (think at least £2,000 gross/day). Avoid single unit dentistry.
- When you are working, work like a demon and focus, focus, focus.
- Don’t do Continuing Care dentistry: have a great associate with great people skills do this for you.
- Have a high value special interest such as Adult Ortho, Implants, Facial Aesthetics etc.
- Don’t be part of running the practice at an operational level. Have a practice manager who can do this job perfectly. This means you don’t do :
Sorting out bad behaviour/gossip/staff illness etc
- Have lots of (scheduled) short meetings (none longer than 45 minutes). Not at the end of the day or in lunch breaks. Schedule them for early in the day. Have an agenda and send out an action list within hours of the meeting. Hold folk accountable for doing what they said when they said.
- Don’t do something in the practice when you can find someone to do it for £10-£25/hour while you can earn £250/hour being a dentist. (A client told me this week he was going into the practice at the weekend to take some cupboards out…)
- Don’t spend all you earn (and more). This habit will keep you working for longer and harder every day. Believe me, I have been that man.
- Stop tolerating: support team not doing what they have agreed to do (especially in terms of your patient journey), associates not doing what they have agreed to do, patients cancelling late or showing up late, team not showing up for meetings/Christmas Do, bad debts, poor accountancy information, paying a lot of tax etc.
True Story: A few years ago, I had a meeting arranged with a client. When I arrived, the client was nowhere to be seen (the client was paying me a generous fee). I phoned the practice to find that he had gone to the “Cash and Carry” to buy toilet paper, as the practice was running low on this essential item. Apparently no-one else was to be trusted with this task… Don’t be this man.
With All Good Wishes,
If you would like some help with taming your dental practice, contact me:
m. 07770 430576