Many dentists work long days, and stress and burnout can be common in the dental community. Since the burden of managing a practice or a career in dentistry can wear on you, here are some tips on how to preserve yourself for the long term.
1. Set hard working hours
Set patient schedule hours that allow balanced life (from 8 AM to 4 PM for example). This will have your staff plan appointments accordingly. By setting your availability in advance, your entire office will work with you on ensuring that you stick to your schedule. Always remember, we work so we can live, not the other way around. Occasionally we’ll have patient with emergencies but by consolidating your schedule you can minimize the days where you’re going over.
2. Track your time
Track how much time you spend doing procedures and management tasks that aren’t a priority to you. Then you can start to delegate these tasks by creating detailed workflows to ensure your staff or outside support gets it right.
3. Do one task at a time
Multitasking can make you feel like a superhero… but can quickly become overwhelming. You can’t always focus on doing two things at the same time. Instead, devote your full attention to the task at hand. Figure out what your priorities are and do them one at a time. Use a task manager so you can map out your priorities and address them efficiently.
4. Create digital boundaries
Technology can be used to connect to work wherever you are. However, it can cause you to feel like you’re always on the job. Help yourself detach by turning your phone on “do not disturb” for a set hour a day, sleeping with your phone outside of your bedroom so that it’s not the first thing you check in the morning or last thing you look at at night, and/or putting an away message on your work email when you’re not in the office.
5. Schedule one thing to look forward to each day
Do an activity every day that is not time-consuming or expensive but will help you to refresh and carry on with your responsibilities. Schedule a massage, visit family, or even something more simple like taking a walk or reading a chapter of a book. Make a special dinner or go out to a restaurant on Mondays so that you have something to look forward to early on in the week!
6. Learn how and when to say “NO”
Sometimes being in service of your patients means you inadvertently bite off more than you can chew. After a few years in practice you’ll learn which procedures you enjoy doing and which procedures burn your energy. Drawing boundaries on when to see certain patients or delegating certain procedures will improve the longevity of your career and prevent burnout. You’ll also have more time for operations and procedures that are more meaningful to you and your team.
7. Delegate, delegate, delegate
Surround yourself with responsible and cooperative staff and give them the tools and training to succeed. Delegation is a great way to help you spend more time away from your office, with the peace of mind that all is in capable hands. Oftentimes we create an office manual once and rarely return to it unless we’re onboarding new employees. Use the office manual as a delegation tool. By investing in it regularly you’ll set the right standard for how you want operational tasks completed and be able to add new tasks when needed.
8. Every once in a while, evaluate
Achieving Work-Life balance is a never-ending target. Your needs and priorities may change from time to time and that’s why you should always set some time to reflect on your current balance. Are you stressed or do you enjoy coming to work each day? Even with a great career position, we can still face burnout and time away from the practice can better sustain you for the length of your career.
At Pair Dental, we believe finding a stable work-life balance is a top priority. That’s why we’ve created a platform so that providers can have more control over their work schedules. Schedule a call with a member of our team to learn more.