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When I opened my practice for general dentistry in 1978, there was no internet, no social media, and advertising was limited to the Yellow Pages. So, as someone new to the community, I worked six days a week assuming that “greater access to care” would build my young practice.  And, it sorta worked for the first two years.

Schedule Five Days (or Less)

My last Saturday as a practicing clinician was a magnificent spring day in Atlanta…  a cloudless cobalt-blue sky and 60 degrees. Ten people were scheduled, but nine confirmed patients “no-showed.” Only my 4:00 presented for care, but then, of course, the day was over.

After that, I’d had it! No more would I be abused by people claiming they could only come on Saturday. It was then that I realized that people value only what they want. And they didn’t value dentistry on a magnificent spring weekend.

I went to a five-day week, and – surprisingly – my weekly productivity increased! Who’d have thought that!? Certainly not me. And, not long after, I elected to go to a four-day week. Surprise: my weekly productivity increased again.

What changed? My teammates were young mothers who needed to be home with their children after work, and I had become exceedingly involved in my local community, serving in numerous leadership roles. I needed Fridays to serve in a variety of capacities while working “on” my practice instead of “in” my practice.

Keep Work Days Focused on Work

By dedicating time each month to assess my practice, meet with my team, discuss what we were doing “right” vs “not so right,” we determined what it was that we needed to do to move ahead. And it worked!

It’s absurd to “work like a maniac.” Working smarter, delegating responsibly, and assessing the practice’s key performance indicators lead to greater productivity. Establish a daily goal, treatment plan quadrant dentistry to meet that goal by lunchtime, and have a blast each afternoon!

Interestingly, the daily productivity for our team rose 30% when we cut back from five days each week to four. Reason? We knew what we had to do each day to be profitable, and treatment schedule planned for it! Enough said.

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