Michael Bentley offers steps to help you relight your fire and achieve the perfect work-life balance

A common situation I see as a business consultant is practice owners putting themselves under so much pressure that they become a block in their own business. This happens because they are burnt out.

I am 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.

With our clients, Laura Horton and I always seek to understand what is going on presently and support them with the implementation of new ideas.

The beauty of owning a business is that it needs to work for your life. 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.

Positive steps

Here are eight positive steps to help support you:

1. Re-evaluate where you are and confide in your practice manager about how you feel

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. Extend dental health check appointments to 30 minutes. By doing this, you’ll find you no longer run late, you have time to communicate with patients, an increase in conversion rates and the patient receives a better appointment

4.   Add two one-hour treatment planning slots per week (not at the end of your working day) into your diary for patients who require it. Work alongside a nurse or a TCO to enable you to work smarter, not harder

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 while 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

8. Do not copy your competition. Remember your business needs to work for you. Pay little attention to what your neighbour is doing – how do you know how they are making their decisions and the impact of those?

Banish burn out

Be honest with yourself – are burning out or burnt out? Take these steps to get yourself the life you deserve and, if you need our help, then we are here for you.

Warning signs of burn out

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

Sending and regularly looking at emails after 9pm

Working weekends to catch up

Not being able to make decisions

Copying the competition.