Time is the one resource that every one of us on earth has in equal proportion. Bill Gates, Donald Trump, and Oprah have the same 24 hours to work with each day as everyone else. What separates extraordinary business leaders is how they spend their time.
The same is true of you and I. Frequently, dentists tell me that they “just don’t have the time” for various initiatives relating to growing their practice. But that is simply not true—it’s an excuse.
We have the time. In most cases, the problem is that we’re not using our time very effectively. To that end, today I want to share with you five tips to help you use your time more effectively each day. This isn’t theoretical mumbo-jumbo—these are principles that work in the real world.
1) Start each day by creating a plan.Take the time every morning to create a prioritized to-do list, or do it the night before. Without such a list you become reactive instead of proactive—but by defining your priorities, you assure that you’re always spending your time efficiently. Identify the most important tasks each day, and don’t let distraction keep you from getting them done. You can easily do this using your smart phone or tablet!
2) Stop doing work that your staff should be doing. If you knew how many hours each year you spent doing work that your staff should be doing, you’d be shocked—if you’re like most dentists, anyway. If you pay your staff to answer the phone when it rings, you shouldn’t be doing it. Two minutes here and there may not seem like a big deal, but 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. Make this clear.
3) Avoid multi-tasking. This may sound crazy—after all, our culture is all about multi-tasking. And while from time to time, some level of multitasking is necessary, you’re 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 would be willing to bet that you’ll experience a major productivity boost.
4) Stop putting off the tough tasks. It’s human nature to look for ways to avoid tough tasks—and as a result, we all have those items that linger on our to-do list for weeks. Don’t let this happen. Instead, make it a goal to get the toughest jobs out of the way early each week when you will have the energy that will be required.
5) Train and delegate. Your practice will be much better off if you can teach your staff to do things the right way, and then empower them to take action while you focus on priority number one… taking care of your patients!
As a dentist, your time is precious. These tips will help you make the most of it. Give them a try and let me know how it goes!