Planning for December 2024: Why Starting Now Makes All the Difference

Today, I want to talk about something that might seem a bit unusual: planning for December 2024. Yes, you read that right – we’re looking ahead to next Christmas!

You might be wondering, “Why plan so early?” The answer is simple: the details of what worked (and what didn’t) in any given year can easily slip through the cracks as time goes by. By planning now, we ensure a smoother, more efficient December next year.

Utilise Your Tools

The first step is utilising the tools at your disposal, such as your dental software appointment book or, even better, your Google or online calendar. I recommend creating an event for December 1, 2024, detailing what worked well this year. This could include notes on scheduling, staff management, patient handling and any special promotions or events that were particularly successful.

Schedule Discretionary Time

One key aspect to consider is blocking off ‘discretionary time’. Experience shows that the end of the year always gets busier than expected. By scheduling this flexible time in advance, you can avoid the last-minute rush and stress, ensuring you have space to accommodate unexpected needs or opportunities.

Pre-Block for Emergencies and Special Treatments

Another crucial step is pre-blocking times in your schedule for emergencies, as well as specific treatments like endodontics and extractions. This foresight is vital since many patients end up postponing important treatments to the new year due to a lack of available appointments in December.

Annual Review and Adjustment

Each January, take a moment to review the previous December’s appointment book. Look at the number of patients who needed earlier appointments and adjust your December 2024 schedule accordingly. This not only improves patient satisfaction but also streamlines your practice’s workflow.

Additional Tips

  • Staff Training: Use this time to schedule any additional staff training or team-building activities. A well-prepared team can make a significant difference in handling the holiday rush. (Don’t forget to check out the value of membership in The Club, an extensive library of training videos for your team.)
  • Inventory Check: December often sees a spike in certain treatments. Ensure you have enough supplies on hand to avoid last-minute ordering.
  • Patient Communication: Plan a communication strategy for your patients, informing them of the best times to book for routine check-ups or treatments, to avoid the end-of-year rush.

By taking these steps now, you’re setting yourself up for a successful, manageable December 2024. Remember, good planning today leads to a smoother tomorrow. Let’s make next year’s festive season the best one yet for our practices and our patients!


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