As I conclude this series on how to achieve success in the practice of dentistry, I have one more observation for you to consider. I consistently find that successful doctors have figured out a way to take a little bit more time away from their practice. That may seem counter intuitive – how can working less equal greater success? We all know that we are in what I like to call the “widget” business. You do one crown, you get paid for one crown. You do two crowns, you get paid for two crowns. You do no crowns, you don’t get paid anything.
But dentistry is not an easy profession. There is a lot of stress. We are working in a very small confined area. Our patients many times don’t really want to be there, and that can really get to you. So as a way to become rejuvenated and combat burnout, I am suggesting to everybody that they try to take more time out of the practice. Studies show that time away from the practice will rekindle energy, and the business will actually become more productive because the doctor is in a better frame of mind. We also have to remember that we only go this way once–that our kids are only going to be young once, and that it is important to spend time with family.
So here is an amazing statistic: the worst two weeks in a dental practice for production and collection are the first two weeks of September. I see this year in and year out. More dentists want to jump off bridges in September than any other month of the year! I think it is a combination of the summer doldrums and kids getting back into the school year with their schedules not being set. So these two weeks of September routinely and consistently have the highest number of last-minute cancellations and no-shows. Don’t try and fight it. If it’s at all possible, those two weeks might be a great time for you to take a vacation, and the practice will suffer the least.
Over the past three months, I have shared my thoughts in a series of nine posts – garnered from seventeen plus years of full time coaching – as to what I see as the commonalities of successful dental practices. Now it is time to sum things up, to put everything in proper perspective, and to tie the loose ends together. At the risk of sounding pretentious, I would encourage you to print out the posts and read them again. See what you agree with, and what you may not agree with. See what you have already instituted in your practice, and what you haven’t. Take a look at what could be improved – or added – and then decide on a detailed plan of action.
Achieving success is not easy. If it were, we would all be there. You have to take it one day at a time. It is a marathon and not a sprint. Slow and steady wins most races. A recent Chinese fortune cookie message just might say it all: things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.
I wish you all good luck in your pursuit of success.