how effective time management can improve running your dental practiceAlun Rees explains why effective time management is so important when running a dental practice.

The practice of clinical dentistry demands attention to detail and concentration.

The needs of working in an environment where materials are sensitive, where visibility can be difficult and, of course, where your patient is usually awake are plentiful.

For success in any form of surgery, micro-management is therefore essential.

The greater the control of the working environment, the better.

The use of rubber dam, magnification and close support nursing for example, all help to achieve a successful outcome for the patient.

Through training and often by instinct, many dentists become micro-managers who seek to control everything.

The task orientation of operative dentistry can lead to clinical success but business success in dentistry needs more than excellent command and control.

Effective time management

Michael Gerber wrote in his essential book, The E-Myth Revisited: ‘Having great technical skills does not mean you know how to run a business.’

At some point in every business owner’s (and clinician’s) routine comes the need to change hats.

To become more people centred in your management.

However, t’s impossible to turn styles off and on in the blink of an eye.

Multitasking is a myth; the stress caused as we focus and refocus our attention leads to less success and increased fatigue.

Trying to run a business where you are making decisions whilst waiting for an anaesthetic to work or in those, rare if ever, gaps between patients actually results in more, not less stress.

Working after your patients have left or taking work home, results in more fatigue and increased frustration.

The only way to do this successfully is through effective time management.

To ring fence time for management and business development.

I used to spend a day a week working on, rather than in, my business.

The pressures on principals has only increased.

Dental school rarely teaches effective time management.