Shred that To Do list!


I attended a function last night and the topic of time management was raised.

During my ten years of dental practice ownership, I read any business book I could get my hands on. One contained a lesson that that I applied daily.

I cannot recall from which book I discovered this, but I suggest every receptionist and practice manager will benefit from applying this insight.

If part of your job is to answer and manage the incoming calls of a business, block off 75% of your day. It will take you 75% of your day to conduct these conversations and perform any follow up. That leaves you just 25% to complete your other jobs, which are likely added to a growing To Do list.

It is a common pitfall to start your day with a list of what you want to accomplish. Then the hours race by and, by closing time, the list seems just as long. Despite being productive and focused, you feel inefficient and at times overwhelmed. Continuing to have such negative perceptions over your abilities is damaging to your progress and self-confidence and also affects your enthusiasm in taking on different challenges.

This is what I suggest to help you be on top of your game.

Set yourself up for success by managing your tasks in accordance with your available time. Get rid of the To Do list, and start ‘scheduling’ your jobs, just like you do for the practitioners and their patients.

I always used a diary. Mine was physical, which has the benefit of actually writing things down, compared to typing into a computer. (Our brains process information differently when we physically write. We filter the information more effectively and our memory is stronger.) At the top of each day, I would mark off a 25% section. This is the area that I would use for adding tasks, and, once filled, would defer new tasks to another day. There were regular jobs that I planned for. For example, sending recalls, updating my K.P.I. report and managing accounts. I would allocate a day each month for each of these tasks. When other tasks came up, I would consider their priority, and either schedule or reschedule the tasks to another day, as I knew that my time would be limited.

Being an efficient, high quality performer is made possible through the continual discovery of better ways to get things done. Contemplate how you could reduce the anxiety of an ever-growing To Do list by:

  1. Throwing out the To Do list
  2. Blocking off the time you know it will take to manage the phone, and
  3. Getting your own appointment book and scheduling time for your tasks.

There are additional time management tips that I will be sharing in coming blogs. If you have one that you find particularly useful, I’d love to hear about it! Email me here.