Disruption Offers Opportunities: Try Productive Reflection

As we crest the halfway point of an unusual year, it is important for us to reflect back on the first 6 months in order to move forward more productively in the second half.


Make a list of positive, neutral, and areas for improvement that occurred in your practice / team in the first half of the year. 

  • Continue implementing what worked well
  • Make decisions about neutral items
  • Develop an action plan for areas that need attention

During your monthly team meeting, include this productive reflection activity on your agenda.


  • Overachieve:  What did we excel in?
  • Neutral: Did some of our goals remain neutral?
  • Needs Improvement:  Where did we miss our target?
  • What action do we need to take?

I have given you several category ideas, you can add or delete, to customize for your practice.

To get you started, I’ll use the example of ‘ALL TEAM TRAINING’.

If you have not had any team training this year, meaning everyone attends together, check the ‘needs improvement’ category. 

Create an action plan using the What / Who / When format.

  • WHAT: Research and hire a coach to work with your team on an area you would like to strengthen.
  • WHO: Assign a task team to research and present the options at your next monthly meeting.
  • WHEN: Schedule a target date to complete the training.

Sticky Notes Or Apps To Stay On Task?

“Sticking to a checklist itself can not only help you increase focus, but crossing off each task may have cognitive benefits as well’.

Whichever process we apply: sticky note, app, calendar, or one of my favorites, highlighting, we can successfully achieve task completion by applying a single task action.

According to The Brain-Healthy Reason You Should Make Checklists, a systematic approach to our day can improve our wellness. If we are unable to complete a task, it can impact the quality of our next activity.

How Can We Apply This to Our Daily Tasks in Dentistry?


Let’s break it down by dental practice departments.


Start the day by prioritizing and rating what needs to be completed.
We all know, the reception area has continual interruptions all day, every day.
In order to allow each person time to complete their priority tasks, rotate the admin team members to a “quiet zone” where disruptions are limited.
• Confirmation calls
• Insurance verification emails / calls
• Patient follow up from previous days’ procedures
• New patient scheduling
• Consultation / informational calls


The schedule dictates where the doctor spends time for the day.
It is critical to schedule procedure time matched with provider time accordingly.
Remember, each provider has different procedure completion times.
If your practice uses a scheduling template, be sure to adjust for each provider!

Wait times can impact office reviews, which in turn affects production and growth!
Watch my latest VLOG addressing the 20 minute rule.

In the Morning Stand-Up (aka Huddle), identify the available times that the doctor can address urgent issues and return calls / emails.
• Midmorning – Call referring doctors about patient treatment plans
• Before / After Lunch – Follow up with patients who need direct communication from the doctor
• End of day – Lab case review, study club collaboration


Everyday tasks can become overwhelming and time consuming.
Having a process in place to systematically approach the day will reduce stress and help you complete the goals.
• Patient follow up from previous days’ procedures
• Follow up email / text to patients regarding information you discussed
• Referral follow up / call / closure if indicated
• Instrument sharpening
• Operatory re-stock


Dental assisting requires multitasking and staying organized to keep the clinical cases, now-time treatment, and day running smoothly.
• Patient calls
• Lab work: impressions / models, whitening trays, lab Rx…
• Checking in / reviewing cases for delivery
• Ordering clinical supplies
• Operatory re-stock
• Sterilization monitoring

Throughout my 30-year career, I have been employed for every position in the office, except the doctor.
Which gives me an undeniable appreciation for every team member’s role and responsibilities.

Let’s commit to working smarter, not harder, by using a systemic approach to over achieve our practice goals.
Your brain will thank you!