Are you burning out?
In my role as a business consultant a common situation I see are practice owners putting themselves under so much pressure that they become a block in their own business. Why? They are burnt out.
Laura Horton and I are all about achieving a work/life balance; realising when you have the opportunity to move forward with projects and when you just need to put the brakes on.Feeling overwhelmed only leads to bad decisions and the most important thing is to acknowledge you are feeling that way.
When we work with our clients we always seek to understand what is going on presently and support them with the implementation of new ideas.
The burnt out and feeling overwhelmed warning signs to look out for are:
- Running your diary late most days
- Working more than 30 clinical hours a week
- Leaving work later than you planned to
- Not being able to switch off when you are at home
- Always looking at emails constantly and sending emails after 9pm!
- Working weekends to catch up
- Not being able to make decisions
- Copying the competition because you feel you need to keep up
Laura and I remind business owners that the beauty of owning a business is that it needs to work for your life and that is so important. The structure should be around creating a life/work balance so that you are not competing with yourself. You have to acknowledge that there are only so many hours in the day and that you will never get the time back so you need to use it wisely. My life is all about less is more; I value time with my husband and dogs, having holidays and a structure to do my work so I can give it 100% and feel good doing so.
I want to provide you with some positive steps to take to support you:
1) Re-evaluate where you are and confide in your practice manager how you are feeling
2) Step out of the practice and re-design the business to meet the needs of your life
3) Re-design your diary and lengthen appointments where necessary; lots of practices are taking additional time to run their dental health checks – extending the appointment to 30 minutes. The benefits behind doing this are that they no longer run late, they have time to communicate with their patients, conversion rates are higher and the patient receives a better appointment. This is money well spent and much healthier for you.
4) Add into your diary treatment planning slots for patients who require planning. Work alongside a nurse or a TCO so that you work smarter not harder. I recommend two one hour slots per week during your working hours and not at the end of your working day.
5) Leave work when you have planned to. If you need to write referral letters plan to do so twice a week and spend up to one hour on this task. Planned short sharp bursts will help you achieve your admin.
6) Plan time to work on the business. Arrange two to three-hour weekly meetings with your PM so that you have a communication exchange once a week. Ensure you are not disturbed whilst you are clinically working. This will support all decision making as you will have a clear mind that is focused on working on your business.
7) Do not work weekends. The more you work the less productive you actually are. I see this too much and it does not work, I promise you.
8) Do not copy your competition. Remember your business needs to work for you. I am not interested in what your neighbour is doing. How do you know how they are making their decisions and the impact of those? I know at my practice we decided not to compete with a practice on Invisalign and they undercut us by £1k. It was the best decision we made; we had less cases but at a price that was right for the business. The upside to this was that we were on an hourly rate and my dentist owner loved doing them. This is the right way to do business; don’t chase the discounters, you want to deliver on patient experience.
It is time to be honest with yourself and identify if you are burning out or burnt out. Take the steps outlined above to get yourself the life you deserve and if you need our help then we are here for you.