The power of time


  Posted by: Dental Design      25th February 2023

Do you ever feel that there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done? You would certainly not be alone if you answered ‘yes’. In fact, one study[i] found that 64% of dentists practising in the UK identified time pressures as a leading cause of occupational stress. While you cannot create more time, there are ways to manage your hours more efficiently.

Plan ahead

Planning ahead is one of the most effective ways to ensure you waste as little time as possible. On a day-to-day basis, be prepared for the following day or week by checking stock and filling the cupboard with everything you will need for your upcoming appointments. You could also allocate 15 minutes before you go home to check patient notes for the next day as a refresher.

Outside practice commitments, could you cycle to work instead of driving to combine travel with exercise a few mornings each week? Maybe you can bulk cook or prepare your week’s meals on Sunday afternoon to save time cooking each evening? Planning ahead will make you feel more in control of your time and help you to avoid procrastination – which has also been linked with stress.[ii] An hour spent planning will give you back much more than that throughout the month!


How many daily, weekly or monthly tasks you can allocate to others will depend on your practice and team size and set-up. However, there are usually activities that can be shared with others – either straight away or with extra training. For example, the dental nurse is often more than capable of managing decontamination workflows, taking x-rays and even obtaining digital impressions with an intraoral scanner. There may be ways of optimising skill mix by working with the dental hygienist/therapist to screen patients and the practice manager should be responsible for all daily business running activities. Though not all tasks can be delegated, sharing the workload where possible will free up precious time.

Streamline your services

This is not about removing treatment options from your practice, rather, focus on the structure of the business. For example, could you use fewer composites or implant systems? Perhaps you should stick to universal solutions that enable you to utilise multibuy discounts without compromising quality of patient care? This would also save time during the ordering process and when preparing the surgery for the next patient as you can adopt a more standardised approach. Both the professional team and patients will benefit from time-savings with the implementation of new technology as well – from digital scanning in place of traditional impressions to virtual patient consultations, there are many options available to the modern dentist. It may be time to do some research if you don’t already make the most of the opportunities these products and equipment offer.

Audit your time

To better plan and allocate your time, it’s necessary to understand how you currently spend it and where you may need to make changes. Consider keeping a diary for one week, including times spent doing every task – from waking up to getting to work, how you spend your breaks and what you do in the evenings. Smart watches, fitness trackers and/or lifestyle apps might be helpful as well. When this is laid out in front of you, make small changes like giving yourself time limits for TV or social media scrolling, and fill the extra time with productive tasks. (Did you know, UK adults spend an average of 108 minutes every day scrolling social media?[i]) Even if you only find 30 minutes a week, that could be incredibly important for your selfcare and mental wellbeing in the long-run! 

Combine objectives

When it comes to career development, it is important to enhance and expand your clinical skills, while also growing your professional network. In the interests of time, being able to combine the two is a huge advantage. The British Dental Conference & Dentistry Show (BDCDS) 2023 will be the perfect event to achieve this and more. There will be two days of education delivered by world-class speakers and covering a broad range of clinical and business topics. In addition to the extensive trade exhibition, the show will facilitate networking with everyone from clinical colleagues to product experts, training and service providers, mentors and others. So, whether you’re looking to broaden your treatment offerings, purchase cutting-edge technology or make new industry connections, don’t miss BDCDS 2023!

Time for change

In recent years, we have all been reminded about the importance of finding balance in our lives between work, home and selfcare. Dentistry is a busy and demanding profession, but careful time management can help you to complete tasks and care for patients without causing yourself extra stress. Look after your time to look after yourself for 2023!

The British Dental Conference & Dentistry Show 2023 will be held on Friday 12th and Saturday 13th May at NEC Birmingham, co-located with Dental Technology Showcase (DTS). 

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[i] Collin V, Toon M, O’Selmo E, Reynolds L, Whitehead P. A survey of stress, burnout and well-being in UK dentists. ORCA, Cardiff University’s institutional repository. 2019.

[ii] Beheshitfar M, Hoseinifar H, Moghadam MN. Effect procrastination on work-related stress. European Journal of Economics, Finance and Administrative Sciences. EuroJournals Inc, 2011; 38.

[iii] Statista. Average daily media use in the UK in the 3rd quarter 2021, by media. [Accessed November 2022]

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