Are there ever days that you feel just won’t end? Or weeks where by Thursday you find yourself thinking more about your weekend plans than the work you have waiting for you at your desk or in your exam room?
If you don’t answer yes to that question congratulations! You don’t need these tips for being more productive because you’re probably already living them. But for the rest of us mere mortals a few tips on how to fight through a sluggish work day can definitely come in handy.
After all, 52% of Americans have reported feeling unengaged with or unmotivated by their work at some point or another (Brandon Gaille, 2017). This lack of engagement makes it difficult for people to remain productive and enthusiastic about their jobs—even if they do enjoy them. And while dentistry is definitely one of the most worthwhile and challenging professions out there we’d be shocked if there weren’t days now and then when even the most passionate dental professionals had their moments of lacking productivity.
So what’s the solution?
Don’t let yourself believe that slacking off “every now and then” is acceptable! The more you do it the easier it is to start repeating the behavior. Instead, allow yourself to acknowledge that you’re feeling unmotivated or unproductive and then use these 7 tips for increased productivity to help you feel re-energized and tackle whatever your practice throws at you.
- Keep your practice free of clutter
Don’t leave that stack of paperwork on your desk until tomorrow or leave items in your exam room in an unorganized pile before you leave for the day. This will just start your morning off on the wrong foot and set you up for a lackluster day. After all, who gets excited for work by cleaning up yesterday’s mess? Tidy things up before you leave the night before and you’ll start off your day on the right foot.
- Talk to your co-workers
This might sound counter-intuitive, but if you’re having a slow day take a few moments to talk to someone in the office. Just a short conversation can spark some energy back into your day can get you excited about work again.
- Plan out how you want the day to go
Right when you get into the office take a look at what’s on your schedule for the day. If you have an appointment with a particularly tough patient or see that there’s a lull in your schedule plan accordingly to ensure you’re prepared to make the most out of the situation rather than letting it catch you off guard and not at your best.
- Know the power of your practice atmosphere
Your environment can help or hinder your productivity. Some music softly playing throughout your practice can make it feel upbeat. Bright colors or artwork on the walls will help provide a fun balance to the serious, clinical side of your profession. And if there’s something that you find makes it more difficult to fully focus say something about it! You can’t control everything but it never hurts to make a suggestion.
- Let yourself take a break (when you can)
Obviously, you can’t up and take a break when you’re taking care of a patient. But if you’re in between appointments take a minute to give your mind a chance to decompress from a hard day and refocus on what you have left to do. Sometimes the harder you push the harder it becomes to stay motivated.
- Ask for more responsibility or more challenging tasks
If you find yourself feeling unmotivated due to boredom or a lack of things to do you should absolutely reach out to see if there are other tasks you can do. This will give you something new to look forward to and potentially help a fellow staff member who may have too much on their plate.
- Don’t forget to be thankful
There are many people who are either unemployed or make a living doing something they feel lacks meaning. But dentistry is a profession that makes a positive impact on people’s lives every day (yes—even those patients who might not see it at first). So take a step back and remember that the work you do for your dental practice is meaningful and takes skills that not everyone has. By refocusing on how your work helps others you’ll feel more passionate and excited to tackle each day.
Those sound like pretty manageable productivity tips, right?
We know that every day won’t be perfect. But if you make your best effort to keep focused you’ll find that staying productive and enthusiastic about what you do will be much easier.