As you know, I seriously encourage forming good habits from the start of your career in Dentistry – both clinically, and non-clinically.
New habits are easier formed than having to change old ones.
So, this week I’m going to share an idea with you that I discovered some years ago.
Put simply, it helps you to get more done every day.
You may be familiar with the concept.
Here it is:
'Eat your frog first thing in the morning, before you do anything else.'
So, what is that frog?
My favourite definition is:
“Your biggest, most important task, the one you are most likely to procrastinate on if you don’t do something about it now. It is also the one task that can have the greatest positive impact on your life and results at the moment.”
As a fellow dentist, your day no doubt fills up very quickly.
I know the feeling.
Comes as part of the territory.
“To Do” lists just keep growing.
Don’t get me wrong...
I do believe there is a good, healthy and productive level of business.
However, if this becomes too much, it will only lead to indecision, overwhelm and getting much less done than you need.
Being pro-active, decisive, and working with such clarity will allow you to pick the most important task you need to complete – and accomplish this early in your day.
These items are not necessarily the most difficult or time-consuming tasks to complete – rather those that are the most important to finish.
The things that annoy you in the back of your mind all day, that you know need completing.
There are several reasons why it is best to eat your frog first thing in the day, so you become even more effective as a Dentist:
1. Even if you are not focusing on that task directly, you often still keep thinking about it in the background. Particularly when it is something you have to do. As a result, the frog will steal your energy and motivation.
2. By getting that task out of the way early in your day, you will have achieved a big win early on. The added boost you feel having completed this task will energize you to be even more productive for the remainder of the day.
3. You only have so much motivation, energy and will power certain days. If you try to tackle your frog at the end of a day, when you are more tired and less enthusiastic will mean it will take much longer to eat!
This can apply to non-clinical matters as well, such as getting caught up with referral letters or returning phone calls to patients.
Or clinically, for me...
I prefer to tackle my more difficult procedures earlier in the day.
I would rather start my crown preps and molar endo’s early on, not at 5 o’clock in the afternoon.
I prefer my afternoons to be filled with more routine work, such as posterior composites and families for recall.
Not always possible, but what I aim for.
Some of the most highly efficient people I know clear their desks every day.
You know the type I mean...
They are exceptionally busy, but also just seem to get more done than others.
Remember – we all have the same 24 hours in a day.
With all of this in mind, what’s your task for today?
Every day this week, schedule your day to get your frog out of the way first.
It’s a habit that will allow your productivity soar.
Dr Leonard J Maguire BDS LL.M MBA
General Dental Surgeon
P.S. If you have 2 frogs, eat the bigger one first!
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