As you know, one of the primary goals of my blog and of these articles is to help dentists become more profitable by creating systems that allow a dental practice to function at peak efficiency. And as you know, time equals money… which means that as you learn to get more done each day, your profit margin increases. To that end, today I am going to share seven of my favorite time management tips. While they are directed at dentists, most of them will apply to your team as well, so I recommend passing them on.
1) Stop multi-tasking. Yes, I realize that this flies on the face of our culture, which is all about multi-tasking. It also seems to fly in the face of some of my teachings. That’s just on the surface, though. The truth is that in most cases, you are better off focusing on one job or project at a time, completing it, and then moving on to the next. Try it for a week—take on one task at a time and refuse to be sidetracked. I’m betting you’ll see a significant improvement in efficiency.
2) Identify wasted time. Where are you losing time to inefficiency? Spend a week tracking the time you spend at work each day and look for specific activities that are costing you more time than they should. Find a way to either delegate these tasks, or to handle them more efficiently.
3) Start each week by creating a plan. If you can discipline yourself to take time each week to create a prioritized to-do list, it will work wonders. Otherwise, you become reactive instead of proactive. Identify the most important tasks each week, and find a way to get them done. Smart phones make this task much easier than in times past.
4) Tackle intimidating tasks first. Oftentimes, a particularly unappealing task will linger on a to-do list for weeks. Don’t go down this road—resolve to get the toughest jobs out of the way early each week when you will have the energy that will be required.
5) Don’t perform work that should be done by your staff. Collectively, dentists waste untold thousands of hours each year doing work that their staff should be doing. If you pay your staff to answer the phone when it rings, don’t do it. Even though two minutes here and there may not seem like a big deal, it adds up. And more importantly, it sends the wrong message to your team. They are responsible to do their job, and you are responsible for yours.
6) Don’t let your computer take control. If you let your email inbox set your schedule, you’ll never get anything done. And message boards are the worst distraction possible during a patient treatment day. Designate specific times of each day to check your email, read message boards, check your Facebook and respond—but don’t let it interrupt you all day, every day.
7) Teach your employees well and let them take the reins. You will be a much happier dentist if you teach your staff to do things the right way, then empower them to take control of your day while you focus on priority number one; patient care.
At the end of the day, the more efficient you are, the more money you’ll make and the more time you’ll be able to spend away from the office. These tips will help—contact me today to learn more!