Mastering the Work Life Balancing Act
The notion of work-life balance is difficult for most people to master. And, nowhere is this struggle more prevalent than for dentists. Most dentists are torn between delivering excellent dental care and the demands of running the business side of the practice and finding time for their personal life.This blog begins by examining the challenges of work-life balance from a different perspective which is—a dentist is an entrepreneur who faces realities that every small business person must address. Then it drills down to specific insights for dentists to consider.
Before we discuss those challenges, please indulge us for a minute. We sincerely believe that Curve Dental’s practice management software helps dental practitioners get more done in less time. What you do with that time is purely up to you. But we think these tips will help you better balance your work-life equation.
Universal Truth #1: Work-Life Are Two Separate Things
As an entrepreneur, work and life are intermingled. The concept of “Work-Life” balance implies you can divide your time like slices of a pie. No matter how you “slice it,” it is virtually impossible to separate the two. And, the odds that you’ll split your time between your office and home equally are stacked against you. Instead, identifying ways to blend the two parts together and finding a rhythm that works for you is more realistic. Take a holistic view of work and life versus as completely separate compartments. There will be some days when you’ll put in more hours at the practice than expected, but it is important to be truly present mentally and physically when you have time to spend with friends or family.
Conversely, it is important to understand that life sometimes takes priority over work. Keeping the two components of your day separate is increasingly difficult, if not impossible. Don’t set your sights on perfect harmony. That simply doesn’t exist. In the end, if you have the right mindset, everything will work itself out naturally.
Universal Truth # 2: Clear Communication is Vital
Communicate clearly with your dental staff about the goals of the practice and the type of culture you want. Be very clear about how you plan to maintain optimal harmony between work and life. At the same time, consider the need for your associates to balance their lives as well, all while running a productive and efficient practice. Document your plan and ensure everyone on your team clearly understands expectations and their accountability. Clear communication solves problems before they occur.
Universal Truth # 3: Delegation is the Road to Happiness
Don’t try to take on all vital tasks yourself. Surround yourself with responsible people and give them the tools and training to succeed. The best way to spend more time away from the office is to delegate tasks that you truly don’t need to do. Of course, having people who you can trust and who are empowered to take charge is critical to achieving this goal.
How Work-Life Balance Translates to Dentists
Now that we’ve addressed universal truths, let’s drill down to how work-life translates specifically to dentistry.
According to the 2019 U.S. News and World Report 100 Best Jobs issue, Dentistry ranks #2 based on median salary, stress level, work-life balance and more. It jumps to #1 in the Best Healthcare jobs category. The study cites the industry’s $155,440 median salary and 0.9% unemployment rate, “average” stress level and “excellent work-life” balance for the high ranking. However, the realities of running a practice often make work-life balance and manageable stress levels less attainable than what the report implies.
How Dentists Can Achieve a Better Balance
Many dentists are frustrated by the responsibilities associated with practice ownership. They find themselves spending far more time than they ever anticipated running a business rather than clinically caring for their patients. A 40-hour work week becomes a pipe dream because a dentist’s schedule and obligations require much more time than that, especially if that dentist owns a practice. So, given that reality, what can you do to achieve a better work-life balance?
- Set clear goals: Document, yes, write down; what you want overall both professionally and personally. Identify what it will take to improve your work-life balance.
- Create an action plan: Goals are rarely achieved if you don’t have a plan for reaching them. Determine what you need to put in place, what must change, and what boundaries you need to establish to make the progress you desire.
- Don’t take on too much at once: Resist the urge to try to take on too many things at once. Instead, start with the top 3 things that can give you the best return on your work-life balance plan. Make steady progress versus trying to fix everything at once. You’ll see better results.
- Find time for things you enjoy: Whether it is playing with your kids, catching a movie, going on a hike, or anything else you find relaxing, take the time to recharge. This may be a challenge until you make it a habit, so consider proactively scheduling these things and make yourself stick to them.
- Don’t take on everything yourself: When you feel overwhelmed, seek the counsel of a spouse, good friend, colleague, or industry consultant. They can offer a fresh perspective to help you get back on track.
Curve Dental’s Contribution to Work-Life Balance
We can’t help you completely solve the work/life balance puzzle. However, our solution delivers an array of benefits that drive productivity, efficiency in your practice workflows, and enhance revenues and profitability. And our top-rated user interface means your staff is happy and efficient and can better support your practice while enjoying their work-life balance. The first step is scheduling a Curve Dental demo to see for yourself how our software can help you accomplish more in less time. The second will be getting on your calendar the things you want to do when you are away from the office. Sounds good, doesn’t it?