When you find yourself consumed by the stress of an uneasy patient or overbooked schedule, it's easy to think you can't juggle your work and personal life. One thing is for sure: You can't create more time. But you can better manage what you do when you're in the office so that you can maintain your energy during long procedures.
What's the first thing you need to do? Don't procrastinate. Often the hardest part of starting a routine is, well, getting started. Once you feel the satisfaction of your first task done, however, you have all the motivation in the world to engage the next treatment with a (white) smile. These organization tips can work perfectly when you feel most overwhelmed. Try these out to help create and solidify the right healthy habits.
1. Make a Daily To-Do List
Prioritize the daily tasks on your list based on urgency. When you see what you need to get done in front of you, it affords you a sense of pace. Once the task is completed, the accomplishment motivates you to complete the next one. When you're busy, there's no time to get frustrated over what you can or can't remember – especially when facing patients who need you to be the relaxed one. Luckily, there are several apps to help you stay organized:
- Todoist is a task-orientated app and very user-friendly.
- Wunderlist is a to-do list with easy reminders you can set prior to a deadline.
- momAgenda is a handy all-in-one manual planner.
2. Create a Calendar for Your Family
Cozi for Android and iPhone is a great calendar app to help keep your family responsibilities in check. The app includes a to-do list and a family calendar, and this and similar apps can often be shared between parents and children. You can set reminders for everyone involved in the activity, such as soccer or football practice. In the grand scheme of things, this motivates you to stay on schedule with your patients knowing you've balanced their needs with those of your own family.
And at home, you can accomplish the same thing by managing a family chalkboard or a whiteboard. Hang one up your command center at home to make lists and tasks as a backup to your mobile app. Ultimately, it'll provide a physical reminder to you and to anyone in your home a given task involves.
3. Take Care of Yourself Physically
You may already embrace yoga or various stretches to keep your arms fit, but don't underestimate the value of a little cardio. When you feel good about yourself physically, you'll have energy that keeps you motivated to get things done. Take a daily walk, run or bike ride. You'll clear your head and feel fresher over time.
It can be difficult to eat healthily when you're on the go between dental offices and soccer practice. One way to help combat the temptation of the drive-through is to plan out your meals. Do this every day of the week for both meals you'll eat at work and at home. Schedule a time to grocery shop, and absolutely use a grocery list (don't leave everything to memory, remember?).
You should be mindful of the physical space around you, as well. When everything has a comfortable place in your day, you feel more productive in the middle of it. Toss, recycle or donate items that are hanging about gathering dust. Do this with all the peripheral things you don't think twice about between appointments. Most importantly, limit paperwork and have file slots designated as "unpaid bills" and "misc. materials." In your dental operatory, de-clutter the counter tops, allowing you to focus on just the task you have in front of you – or sitting in your chair.
4. Keep to a Routine
When you standardize your day, it is easier to keep on top of your responsibilities. Even simple things like checking your bank account balance every day will help you manage your budget better. You might even divide your account to distinguish between personal and dental spend.
This can also mean preparing for the next day the night before. The best time to do this is before bed. Lay out your clothes, pack up your gym bag, make the kids' lunches or do any prep you can for the patients you will see at work. Being prepared first thing in the morning can help decrease stress when you finally get into the office.
To help get you started, try going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day to give yourself a reliable daily routine. Making your bed every morning sets the tone for the day. Whether you're going to work or dropping off the kids, you'll relish coming home to a clean room after a hard day in the office. Your body deserves a rhythm, doesn't it?
5. Take Time for Yourself
Schedule 10 minutes to an hour for some "you" time. It could be 15 minutes to read a few pages of your book, 30 minutes to go for a walk or 45 minutes for the pedicure you haven't gotten yet. These moments help you feel re-energized to finish the day. When you're feeling recharged, you can give your all to your patience without distraction.
- Download an app to assist you in keeping organized, because everyone needs a little help once in a while.
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time as a great way to kickstart a routine.
- Don't forget to schedule time for yourself so you can re-energize.
Why It's Valuable
The more organized you are, the more mental energy and focus that you can bring to your patients when they hit your chair.
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