We have talked in great detail recently about the importance of creating and maintaining systems to keep your dental practice running smoothly. One of the primary goals of these systems is to allow you, as a dentist, to spend your time more efficiently. To take unnecessary work that takes over your day and help you delegate it to others, so that you can spend your time doing what you do best.
But in addition to these systems, effective time management will allow you to spend less time working each day… while improving efficiency and ultimately profitability. To that end, below are five tips for improved time management that you can apply immediately.
Handle the toughest tasks first. If you are like most people, each day on your to-do list there are certain items that you simply want to avoid. It might be a tough conversation with an employee or a long statistical report to pore over. The temptation is to keep putting these things off… but that only makes the problem worse. Tackle the toughest tasks first, when you’ve got the energy and the determination to get them done.
Quit multi-tasking. Believe it or not, multi-tasking can make you less efficient, not more. Many studies have shown that we are at our best when we focus on one thing at a time. Try this for a few days—focus like a laser on only one thing at a time, until you complete it and move on to the next item. You may be surprised at how well this works!
Delegate. We’ve talked about the importance of delegation from a systems standpoint—but it’s important in day-to-day events as well. When a random or unexpected task comes up, don’t just jump right in—ask yourself if a staff member could perform it instead. If the answer is yes, get it off your plate!
Keep email under control. I know many dentists who receive hundreds of emails per day. This has the power to become a paralyzing factor—so don’t let it. Dedicate specific blocks of time to responding to your email, and stop refreshing your iPhone in the meantime!
Set priorities each day. If you’re like most dentists (and business owners in general for that matter), it’s pretty rare that you actually accomplish everything on your list in a given day. That’s okay—it’s the nature of business. What’s NOT okay is when important items are being neglected in favor of other less-important issues. Each day, set your to-do list in an order that reflects priorities. Have your staff do the same. This ensures that you are always spending your time where it is most needed.
It may not sound like much—but the tips we’ve covered today can make a big difference. If you can save 30 minutes of time each workday, you’ve freed up an extra 10 hours each month. And that’s something we could all use!