We’re back after some time away from the podcast. This week we discuss a way to schedule our upcoming year like a CEO. We also talk about some ways to improve management of our email and team projects on this episode of Business of Dentistry.
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It’s the end of the year and I wanted to mention to you three things I’ve implemented as policies. The first is scheduling like a CEO. CEOs schedule months in advance, some as far as 18 months ahead of time. While we typically can’t do this with patients we can schedule our personal commitments in advance. We can put the big rocks in first, so to speak.
In our office I have a policy to go into the practice management schedule at the end of every December and look at the holidays for the upcoming year. Then I’m supposed to decide how many days off we are going to take around those holidays. For some it’s just one day, and for others it is multiple days.
I do that by the end of December so my entire staff can look at the schedule and make plans in advance for vacations and other time-off requests. This is the fourth year we’ve been scheduling like this and it has been working well.
Another thing we do is to plug-in fall breaks and spring breaks for the local school systems. They are important for those of us on the team with children, we want to plan for time off with our families.
The breaks are also important because it’s typically a highly productive time for the office. Fall and spring breaks are when many people want to schedule wisdom teeth removals and other surgeries; we need to know when these breaks will happen every year so we can schedule accordingly.
Finally, in my particular case, I have my Navy reserve obligations so I plug in the dates I know I will be away fulfilling those duties. You may have other commitments like conferences you know you are attending. You want to input those dates as far in advance as possible. For me I already know I have some conflicts with patient appointments, but I have caught those conflicts far enough in advance that we can reschedule easily ahead of time.
To actually add these dates I go through my calendar month by month. I look at which holidays fall in that month, and then I ask if I will be off on that particular holiday. Then I go back and look at any CE, conferences or Navy commitments, I add them to the calendar. Next I look at the spring break and fall break dates and add those.
If you look at this particular way of scheduling, this allows you to put in the most important things like time with kids, holidays, vacations and get them scheduled ahead of time. Doing so lets your team know those dates and plan around them. It will lessen your stress and your team’s stress, everyone can work out their requests for vacations and holidays well in advance and you all can avoid a lot of unnecessary conflict.
The second thing I have started doing is a personal policy regarding checking email. I’m constantly checking my phone and my desktop to see what emails have come in. I’ve decided to reduce this as much as possible since it is such a distraction. Someone I have been following about this topic said checking your email constantly is like running to the mailbox every two or three minutes to see if the mail has come!
So turn off notifications and schedule a specific time every day when you check emails. It could be first thing in the morning, over lunch or before you leave the office. Just pick a time and block it off to take care of email, and then focus only on email at that time.
Finally a third policy I’ve been following is to communicate drop dead dates and deadlines with my team. This is something I’ve been good at with my military team but haven’t done so well with in the office. You may already do this but this is something I am working on getting better at now.
Those are the three things I am focusing on going forward: scheduling like a CEO, managing email better, and setting deadlines for my office team.We will see how these all work out and will adjust as necessary.
Listen to today’s show to hear those details plus a listener shares what they are doing regarding free consults and no shows. Check it out on episode 87 of Business of Dentistry!