Setting Boundaries for a Better Practice

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This week is all about the strategies I’ve used in order to set boundaries in my professional life. These helped me handle my burnout and ended up being a valuable tool for everyday use. In December 2011, I was a bit of a mess. I was endangering my personal and professional life, so I took my wife’s advice to go and seek professional help. I went to see five different specialists, and they each gave me their advice. I started implementing it, and slowly, but steadily, I started improving. This episode is a heartfelt testimony of my journey. I share the three types of boundaries I’ve set that made the biggest difference for my well-being. Key takeaways: If you feel overloaded, ask for help Establish administrative time Say no to distractions and set gatekeepers Links: The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It Join me for a talk on some important strategies to use in order to overcome your burnout. Seeking help from five different specialists This week I do something a bit different: this episode is actually a speech I gave at the Voices of Dentistry in Scottsdale in late January. I talk about how setting boundaries personally improved my practice and my life in general. In December of 2011, I was in a very tough spot. I was angry, resentful, just plain miserable. My wife finally told me that I needed to get professional help, otherwise, I would have ruined my practice, my family, and my life. I wasn’t happy doing it, but fortunately, I did take her advice. I chose to go to five different people, and get five different opinions. The first person I went to was my primary care physician. He told me that I had chronic fatigue syndrome, that I was mentally and physically exhausted. He suggested that I took some time off. The second person I went to was a clinical psychologist. He told me I was depressed. He was also right. The third person I went to see, a business consultant, told me that my chaotic state is destroying my practice and that it’s spilling over every other aspect of my life. The fourth person I saw, who also happened to be a business consultant, told me that I was a perfectionist, that I can’t be happy with what I do because I can’t do everything perfectly. He also told me I was expecting way too much of other people. Finally, the fifth person I asked advice to told me that I had no boundaries in my life. Having set no boundaries, everything was plain chaos. I am a people-pleaser in general, like many of us, and this ended up affecting my life. Establish some administrative time every day I took their advice and started implementing it in my life. I started setting boundaries. As dentists, we need to focus on what brings in revenue for our business. What pays the bills is doing the dentistry work, standing by the dental chair. But as owners of our practice, we have a ton of other things that we have to take care of every day. I found three things that enormously improved my life and my practice. I will share them with you. Some of my thoughts are based on Michael Gerber’s E-Myth Revisited, a book I strongly recommend to all of you. The first one is establishing a block of administrative time in your schedule. This admin time block will allow you to do all the administrative work that needs to be done outside of your clinical realm. The end result of this will be the fact that you will have the rest of the day to focus on your clinical dentistry. Why is this important, you may ask. Well, think of how you normally do things. You normally multitask, right? However, multitasking has been long proved to be a myth: we can’t really focus on two things at once. We task-switch pretty well, but when we do that, lose focus. Some studies mention the fact that we may lose as much as 28% of our work day by task-switching. Now isn’t that plain crazy? On top of that, as well as losing focus,

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