Customized Consulting Virtual Academy Podcast Events About Contact SCHEDULE A CALL Login

380: Flipping the Script on “Not Enough Time”

“But [insert supervisor’s name here], I just don’t have the time to do that!”

Aha! The Dental A-Team is here with the solutions to being more productive and efficient with your time. Have you ever noticed that the things we don’t have time for are tasks we don’t want to do in the first place? Yup, we’re right there with you!

But Kiera has efficiency hacks for you, and she explains the steps to do the following:

  1. Find a compelling reason why you DO have time

  2. Change your filter of time

  3. Seek out efficiencies

Remember: You do have time for the things you want.

Episode resources:

Reach out to Kiera

Subscribe to The Dental A-Team podcast

Visit The Dental A-Team website

Review the podcast on iTunes

Podcast Transcript:

Kiera Dent:

Hey, everyone. Welcome to the Dental A Team podcast. I'm your host, Kiera Dent. And I had this crazy idea that maybe I could combine a doctor and a team member's perspective because let's face it, dentistry can be a challenging profession with those two perspectives. I've been a dental assistant, treatment coordinator, scheduler, filler, office manager, regional manager, practice owner. And I have a team of traveling consultants where we have traveled to over 165 different offices, coaching teams. Yeah, we don't just understand you. We are you. Our mission is to positively impact the world of dental. And I believe that this podcast is the greatest way I can help elevate teams, grow VIP experiences, reduce stress and create A Teams. Welcome to the Dental A Team podcast.

Kiera Dent:

Hello, Dental A Team listeners. This is Kiera and this is a podcast that came to me while I was flying. You guys, some of my best ideas come while I'm up high above the sky, flying towards an office. And this one came to me and I'm so excited. I have a running list on my phone. If you guys have topics that you want to hear about or you've got a great idea for a podcast, I want to hear from you. Email us, [email protected], put in the subject line podcast topic, and you will get entered into my phone of a podcast topic if we think it's a great idea. I'm just kidding, 99.99999% of your podcast topics actually get released. I don't think I have one question or topic that somebody has given me that we have not released. Today's podcast topic is coming from yours truly, Kiera Dent. I love this one because I hear it all the time. And it's about time. The adage that we hear often in practices is, "Kiera, I just don't have time. Tiffany, I just don't have time."

Kiera Dent:

You want me to do that? My favorite was, I got a coaching call the other day and they said, "Tell Kiera, when does she expect me to have time to do this?"

Kiera Dent:

I giggle still because high five to that office for calling me out on it. And I want to address this elephant in the room. I'm sure a lot of you have this as well, "I don't have time."

Kiera Dent:

How many of you ... Okay, list out your ideas right now. Grab a piece of paper and tell me, make sure you're looking for this of, what do you not have time for? Okay. Do this exercise with me. Don't just listen. Pause it right now. If you have to pause and come back, that's fine. Do it because it's so important. Write down everything you don't have time to do. For me right now, I don't have time to hire. I don't have time to write my book. I don't have time to create new content. I don't have time to go on dates. I don't have time to work out. I don't have time to eat healthy. Dun, dah, dah, dun. There's Kiera Dent's list. Just off the top of my head right now, I didn't even script this. Guess what? I want you to look at that list right now. Look at everything you don't have time to do. And tell me, are those things generally speaking, things that you don't actually like to do. Okay, mic drop. All right. I'll just stop the podcast now.

Kiera Dent:

No, you might be frustrated with me. You might want to disagree with me. That's fine. I have found most of the time, the things that we don't have time for ... Yes, I agree, there are efficiencies all around. Don't think I'm just saying a blanket statement. However, I think oftentimes it comes down to three things. One, we often don't have time for things that we actually don't want to do. Things that we do want to do, we always find time to do them. True or false. If I were to say, "Hey, you're going to have a opportunity to go to Cancun if you get all your tasks done and you're out the door by five o'clock tonight."

Kiera Dent:

Would you do it? Well, if you like Cancun and you got a free trip and you're excited to go, you better believe you'd get it done but oftentimes we don't have time because it's things that we don't actually want to do. We make those tasks take more time. That's number one. Number two, maybe we're not doing it the most efficient way, so we're actually sucking up a lot of time because we're not being as efficient. And number three, because it might be our filter and the way that we're perceiving this task. For example, I tell myself all the time that I don't have time. Well, guess what? I'm going to create that as a reality. Just like when I want to buy a car, I all of a sudden see that car all over on the road. It doesn't mean that there're actually more cars, that they pumped a bunch of more cars out onto the road. What it means, is that's what I'm focused on so that's what I find. If you say, "I don't have time for that."

Kiera Dent:

You're going to find a way to make yourself right.

Kiera Dent:

Hello, Dental A Team listeners. All right. One of my absolute favorite quotes is, "You are always one decision away from a totally different life."

Kiera Dent:

What life do you want to have? Do you want more accountability? Do you want a team that's trained? Do you want to have somebody who thinks outside the box and creates just for you? Do you want to have a coach? Do you want to have team training? Do you just need somebody to kick you in the rear and get you going? Okay, don't worry. I'm in every single one of those boxes. And that's why we created Dental A Team silver, gold and platinum. It's going to be customized team training for you on the terms you want. Silver, silver is more for accountability. Gold, gold includes all of our online training plus the accountability. And platinum includes all of that and in office. You guys, I would strongly suggest you go join Dental A Team gold today because you're always one decision away from a totally different life. What are you waiting for? Hop on over to theDentalATeam.com today. You guys, we only have so many spaces. Get over there today and sign up for Dental A Team, silver gold or platinum.

Kiera Dent:

Let's talk about these. I'm going to give you guys some time efficiency hacks as well for every position today of some different things that have helped a lot of the different positions but first and foremost, I need you to look at that list and I need you to do me a favor. On these tasks that you, 'don't have time for' ... I learned this from The Happiness Advantage. If you haven't read that book, check it out. It's a great book but what you do, is if there's a task or something that you don't enjoy doing that's on there that you don't have time for, I want you to draw an arrow. Put the task, for example, "I don't have time to enter checks."

Kiera Dent:

Don't worry, that was a true statement from an office I worked with one time and I was like, "I'm sorry, what? Do you not have time for a paycheck?"

Kiera Dent:

... because to me, entering checks equals paycheck. I know if I enter checks in the practice, that's what's going to pay my paycheck. You better believe I have a pretty strong incentive to enter checks in a practice. What I want you to do, is put the things on the left-hand side of the paper. You've already listed them out and things you don't have time for. Now, draw an arrow and on the right side of the paper, write down what this task leads to. For example, for me, working out leads to being exhausted. This is a true story. That's literally what first came to my mind, working out. Okay. Being exhausted, that does not motivate me. I'm going to draw another arrow. Being exhausted, that leads to a healthier body. All right, great. Now I just realized that working out, although it might lead to exhaustion, is actually going to lead me to a healthier body. I want a healthier body. That's going to motivate me.

Kiera Dent:

If your tasks that you don't have time for, what it leads to ... Maybe entering checks leads to a lot of mistakes or balancing. Okay. Well, that's probably not very motivating. What's the next thing? What else does that lead to? That leads to increased case accept or collections of a practice. Okay, great. Does that motivate you? If not, then draw another arrow to, that leads to my paycheck and a job. If that doesn't motivate you, well, I don't know what else to tell you but the point of this exercise is to keep drawing an arrow with these tasks that you, 'don't have time for', until you see that the outcome of this task is something that does inspire you. I hope that made sense. If it doesn't, email me and I'll walk you through this a little bit more because as I read The Happiness Advantage, it was so cool for me to realize that tasks I don't have time for just don't have a strong enough reason. For example, answering emails, "I don't have time to answer emails."

Kiera Dent:

Well, why? Because answering emails means it's just a lot of projects and a lot of issues. That's what I feel like. That'd be my arrow. What do answering emails do? More projects, more issues, more things on my plate. Well, then the next line is company growth. All of a sudden I just changed that answering emails are annoying, to realizing answering emails is company growth. You better believe I'll find time for company growth all day long. Do you see how you can actually trick yourself on these tasks that you don't want to do or you don't have time for, when they lead to a motivating result? For example, dental assistants, "I don't have time to present a treatment plan to a patient."

Kiera Dent:

Okay. Well, why not?, "Because that's just more work for me to do."

Kiera Dent:

Well, I bet you don't want to do it because that's highly unmotivating. If that's more work for you to do, what does that mean? That means we get to help more patients. Well, all of a sudden, presenting a treatment plan means you get to help more patients. That might become a more motivating reason for you to present treatment plans. Taking payments in the back, doing notes, cleaning as we go. There's a million things that we don't have time to do. First of all, I would have you guys check to see, can you draw an arrow to what this task actually leads to? And can we find a way to make that more motivating for you just right there? Next up, is by saying you don't have time for it, you will find a way to make yourself correct. Period. If you say, "I don't have time for that."

Kiera Dent:

You will not find time to do it. Period. It just won't happen. You've already set yourself up for failure. Just like if somebody who's trying to stop smoking says, "I'm a smoker."

Kiera Dent:

Well, guess what? They believe that they're a smoker. They will probably not find a way to quit. It's when you don't identify with that, that you actually can break the habit. This sounds like Pollyanna. If you don't know what Pollyanna is, check it out. It's a really old movie and I hope you ... I don't think I've actually ever really watched it. My mom played the game but if you think this is Pollyanna, all happy and excited about life, it's not. What this is, is truly they've proven what we tell ourselves over and over and over again, becomes a reality for us. You could flip that, does it empower you to say, "I don't have time."

Kiera Dent:

Probably not. Let's flip the script to, "I'm a master of time and I get the most important projects done."

Kiera Dent:

Okay. Well, that actually feels way better. Let's do that. Flip the script to something more positive and you'll start to see more positive results in your life, truly. I remember I had a hygienist and she's like, "I don't have time to do fluoride."

Kiera Dent:

And then I said, "Okay, just try me out. Give me a week or two and tell yourself, 'I always have time to do fluoride for patients because it's the best benefit to them."

Kiera Dent:

Just say that instead of, "I don't have time.

Kiera Dent:

Lo and behold, she was able to put fluoride on almost every single patient, conveniently found the time to do it because now it was something she wanted to do versus something she was dreading to do because she connected it to something she wanted more than having time. That would be my second suggestion for, "I don't have time."

Kiera Dent:

First and foremost, it was list the tasks you don't have time for, draw an arrow to what that task leads to and find a compelling reason that this task becomes exciting for you. Second, flip the script. Instead of, "I don't have time."

Kiera Dent:

"I have time for the most important projects. I have time to make patient's lives happier and that means adding fluoride. I have time to make sure ... "

Kiera Dent:

Whatever it is. Just flip the script to something that empowers and inspires you versus something that does not. Okay. And now what you've been waiting for, the actual efficiency hacks. For dental assistants, here we go. Tiffany and I have actually done this in two different practices that I can think of. There're I'm sure more but dental assistants, oftentimes they say, "We can't add another patient."

Kiera Dent:

I'm like, "Well, why not?"

Kiera Dent:

And they're like, "Well, we can't get our notes done."

Kiera Dent:

I'm just going to walk you through a couple efficiency hacks that we know of. There might be more so if you've got great ideas, with us because honestly, sometimes just doing it a little bit different will actually save you a couple seconds or minutes here and there and that stacks up over the day. For clinical team, clean as you go. As a dental assistant, I always had my notes done before my doctor even numbed the patient. They weren't perfectly done but they were pretty darn close to being done. And I knew that I would just change them up. You guys, doctors don't vary very often. They usually do about the same thing. I know that their favorite color of composite was A2 for my doctor. I know they're going to go gluma and then they're going to do prime and bond. That's just the flow of what we're going to do. Put that note in.

Kiera Dent:

For me, I would seat the patient, pop the blood pressure cuff on and go start my note. And I would have my note basically done before blood pressure was done. That way, I'd stick it in there, put the blood pressure in. My note was 95% done, place a topical, go get doctor. My notes are 90% done already.

Kiera Dent:

Okay. There's going to be things that will come up for sure. Make sure you change that note. I'll teach you where to do it. Then as you're assisting the ... As you're assisting on that patient, make sure you're always thinking one step ahead. And I purposely timed myself to see, "Could I do this faster?"

Kiera Dent:

That was always my question like, "Kiera, can you do this a little bit faster and a little bit more efficiently? Let's find out how."

Kiera Dent:

That was what I did. You guys, I literally would time myself and I would challenge myself to see if I could find a way to help out and make it just a little bit quicker. I would set a timer for myself to see how quickly I could flip a room. That's how these efficiency hacks came about for me. With that, I would be cleaning as I go. You guys, you know when you're about at the end of the procedure and guess what, there were probably 10 times that I cleaned up too early. Well, guess what? That's 10 times out of about a thousand times, I'll take my loss. That's okay. I will take it. And I think my doctors will too. At the end of my appointment, I'd put all my instruments to one side, all my sharps up in the corner on the top left. Instruments always went to the left and my disposables always went to the right. Doctors usually chit-chat at the end of an appointment, "Okay, you're going to be numb. Dah, dah, dah dah, dah."

Kiera Dent:

At that point, I'd be cleaning all the materials that I could as they were talking to the patient. Also, as we were going along, if I knew I was done with my composite gun, oftentimes I'd have my cabby wipes right there and I would wipe my composite gun and put it away as the procedure is going on. I'm done with it. There's no reason for me to keep it out. Same thing with when I'm doing an impression or making a temporary. You guys, that blue mousse, if you're using that to take an impression or to make a temporary, I always wiped my blue mousse when I was done with it and put it back in the cupboard because there was no reason for me to keep that out. No reason for me to keep an impression gun out that I was already done with. I can wipe that and put it away.

Kiera Dent:

Next up, as soon as I was done using temporary material, wipe that, put it away. Same thing with cement, wipe it, put it away. You're cleaning as you go. It's the same thing when your cooking. I learned this in college. I hate having a ton of dishes at the end of my night when I'm cooking. It's a literal cleaning as you go. If I'm done cooking my chicken or using the scissors to cut up the chicken, I rinse them in the sink and pop them right in the dishwasher versus putting them in the sink that I'm going to have to then rinse later. It's just finishing each project to completion and always thinking ahead of, "How can I clean this up as I go?"

Kiera Dent:

My goal was before the patient left, most of the time, my notes were always completed before the patient left, so when doctor was sitting there chit-chatting, updated my notes real quickly, started wiping everything down behind the patient. Yes. Spray, wipe, spray. Make sure you're not breaking cleaning rules. I would have all my disposables there, throw those away. Sometimes doctor was talking enough that I could literally run my instruments into sterile, wipe my tray and be coming back before the doctor was done chatting. I don't need to be there for them to answer all the questions, most of the time. I'm not saying abandon your doctor in the name of efficiency but I can't tell you how many times I've been able to clean up, flip a room and have it ready to go within a couple of minutes of my patient leaving. Right there, saving on those few seconds. My notes about that, I used to be the assistant that would have to stay at night with a stack of chart notes to get done. And I thought, "There has got to be a better life than this."

Kiera Dent:

That's how I learned how to do my notes so much faster. Blood pressure on, start the note, have it done and completed. Hygienists, you can do the exact same thing. You know what you're most likely going to see. I get it, there will be some patients that have really deep pocketing that you were not expecting. That's fine. Change those up but generally speaking, you know what your patient's going to be like, enter those notes in. You know what your exam most likely will be like, so enter that in. Yes, you can change it. Also you guys, I learned ... You guys, I don't type correctly. I will tell you that. I learned how to type insanely fast because my goal and my standard was that before the patient left, my notes had to be done. Well, guess what? I used to type really, really slow. I practiced, legitimately practice after hours on my own time so I could type notes faster. I will tell you, that is a skill I am never sorry to have.

Kiera Dent:

Other things, like just learn little efficiency hacks everywhere you can. Shave off a couple of seconds here, shave off a minute here. Look ahead, think ahead because that's actually going to help you out for. An office, efficiency-wise, thinking about ... It's always being one step ahead and proactively thinking versus reactively, I guess, acting. Proactively thinking versus reactively acting. And so with that, for front office, you can balance at lunch. I used to have all my claims batched to send out before lunch. At lunch, I would balance out to make sure I was totally balanced by lunch. That way, at the end of the day, I had a less amount to have to balance, could make sure it was done. Pre collecting, if you're not collecting on all of your patients, you can pre collect at least on your last patient so you can balance and close out the end of the day. Most of them ... You guys, yes, I've had patients where all of a sudden it's like, "Oh, we're doing treatment on them."

Kiera Dent:

Well, guess what darn it, that was one night that my balancing got delayed but guess what, I was probably going to be there late anyway. I had a standard that I was out of the office, out, out. All notes done, everything clean, within 15 was my goal. 30 minutes was my standard after my last patient left, always. I don't care what I had going on. That was my standard. And I started looking for efficiency hacks. If you knew that that's when you need to be out of the office because I could go to Cancun. And I knew if I had a vacation there, I could do it. I thought, "Why can't I do this every other day? I need to look for the efficiency hacks."

Kiera Dent:

Looking for when you confirm, is there a way for you to confirm via text? Can you batch all your insurance companies when you're doing insurance verification so all your Delta patients together, all your MetLife patients together, all your Blue Cross Blue Shield, so when you go on to the computer, you are actually looking at every Delta patient together versus looking at Delta, then switching to MetLife. And I know it doesn't seem like it's a lot of time but guess what, time compounds over time. Meaning, a couple seconds here will actually compound later on and it will save you up more and more minutes, the more you're actually able to look for these little time hacks. When people ask me, "Kiera, how do you expect me to have time for this?"

Kiera Dent:

I think, "Because guess what, somebody somewhere can do it and if they can do it, so can I."

Kiera Dent:

The four-minute mile, they believe that if you did a four-minute mile, you would keel over and die. That was literally what they thought would happen. As soon as they broke the four-minute mile, everybody started breaking the four minute mile. People started breaking the four minute mile left and right. Once we know it can be done, now it's up to us to see if we're willing to push ourselves to be our next best level or if we're willing to be complacent with ourselves. For me, complacency is not an option. I will always strive to be the next best version of myself. And it might come in shaving off a couple seconds because I thought through, "How could I clean my tray while my doctor was working and still keep their life moving smoothly?"

Kiera Dent:

It doesn't mean I'm going to disrupt or slow down my doctor. That's not an option for me. It doesn't mean I'm going to ruin a patient experience. That's not an option for me but I always know that there are little pockets of time every single day that I actually waste. You guys, I finally deleted Facebook and Instagram off of my phone. Well, then I'm searching on Redfin because we actually didn't get our dream house. Don't worry, more on that another podcast. All my podcasts listeners, thank you for those who reached out and told me, "Congratulations, I'm so excited for you."

Kiera Dent:

And then I was embarrassed to admit that we actually didn't get the house. It's fine. Again, another story another day. We're in the process of building a house. That's the update because I know I just left you on a cliffhanger. That's the update. Again, another story another day but so I started scrolling Redfin because that was what I was doing with my time. I now have deleted Redfin off my phone and guess what that means, I have actually read more books in the last month than I have probably in the last year because there's nothing else on my phone for me to do, except for Kindle or look at photos. That's it. I've deleted everything else because I realized I was wasting so much time.

Kiera Dent:

That doesn't mean I have to always be hyper productive. It doesn't mean I'm always hyper productive but I realized so much time was being wasted there, that if I could just get rid of that, I would actually have more time for things that would make me a better person. Again, you don't always have to be hyper productive but at work I feel like, "Hey, I'm here. I need to hustle and I should always be looking for the next best thing."

Kiera Dent:

If I'm assistant float, let me go look for ways to make the assistants that are in there, assisting better and faster. For me, standard was sterilization always had to be done. I didn't want people to have to do their trays. I would look for ways to be more efficient and faster in sterilization without cutting corners. That's my point of, "How do we find time?"

Kiera Dent:

We find time in the little pockets of time that we waste. How can we batch our bulk check? Post those. Well, maybe I take two hours of uninterrupted time to do all my insurance verification and then I'm there 110% because I'm not there at the front desk. Maybe I do the same thing when I'm posting checks because I know that I can actually get way more done if I go knock it out in two hours versus having interruptions all day long in the front office. Those are a lot of just little efficiency hacks that I truly think when your mindset is, "There's got to be a better way and I'm going to find it."

Kiera Dent:

That's my mindset guys. That's what I tell myself all the time. That is my mindset of how I'm going to be able to do this. I think for each of you, when it comes up with, "I don't have time."

Kiera Dent:

Number one, is find a compelling reason as to why you do have time. Draw those arrows until your task becomes compelling enough for you to do it. Number two, change your filter around time. Instead of saying, "I don't have time."

Kiera Dent:

... because you will make yourself correct, look for ways to be more efficient. You guys, I literally said, "I didn't have time for hiring."

Kiera Dent:

Well guess what, lo and behold, I was able to delegate that, create a process that was faster, more efficient and I made time because I knew if I hired somebody, guess what would happen, I would all of a sudden, have to have more time to do the things that I really wanted to do. I was literally interviewing at seven o'clock, 7:30, eight o'clock at night. And we found the most incredible operations manager, shout out to Sal. We love him. We found consultants, shout out to Hunter and Britney. We also found ... We haven't found our salesperson yet but I know that they're coming but I actually prioritize what things were the most important that would actually give me the most amount of time. And what was the compelling reason? All of a sudden I had a compelling reason, "Kiera, you're going to be doing this for the rest of your life if you don't hire somebody."

Kiera Dent:

All of a sudden, that's a way compelling reason that, "I don't want to hire for the rest of my life, so I'm going to prioritize hiring right now because that'll free me up in the future."

Kiera Dent:

Look for the compelling reason, change your filter and change your story around, "I don't have time."

Kiera Dent:

To, "I'm a master of time."

Kiera Dent:

I literally say it to myself almost every single day, "I'm a master of time and I get all the tasks done that I need to with ease."

Kiera Dent:

That's my story that I tell myself. Then the next thing is, step number three, is actually look for efficiencies. Raise those standards, try the ones I just listed off. If you have some tips, please share. I think it's the best way for us to actually make each other better. And that's why we have the podcast, is to share and to help others out. With that guys, you do have time for the things that you want, period. Period. I see it all the time. And there's always a next level of how you can actually be more efficient. There's always a next level. Guys, level up. This is your opportunity. We get this one life to be the best version that we can be. And I believe that you have an opportunity to be the best employee your employer has ever been. And let that be you.

Kiera Dent:

Look for how you can level yourself up, be the person that they love. Things that make employers love you, is you're always thinking one step ahead. You're looking for ways to actually decrease your time at the practice to help them out. And then you have a better work-life balance. You're also looking for ways to make the practice better and you act upon it. You're always, always hustling. You walk with a purpose. You're not just lollygagging along. You are somebody that your coworkers love to be around. You're always looking for ways to make your coworkers' lives easier. When somebody asks who can do it, you're the first one who says, "Yeah, I got it."

Kiera Dent:

You follow through with integrity. When you do offer to do things, you actually follow through. Those are the ways that you become that employee that your employers absolutely rave about. Be that employee. You do have time. Find the time, let me know how it goes. As always guys, so much love to this Dental A Team family. I love the loyal listeners. Please share this with somebody that it can make their lives a little bit better. And with that guys, as always, thanks for listening. And I'll catch you next time on the Dental A Team podcast. And that wraps it up for another episode of the Dental A Team podcast. Thank you so much for listening and we'll talk to you next time.

 

Close

Grab your FREE Resources