I thought it might be appropriate at the beginning of the new year to list a few resolutions. Some of these may warrant further elucidation in a future blog. But, to get us started, in true David Letterman-style, here’s this year’s Top 10 list. Starting with No. 10:
10. Compliment your staff; affirm to them—daily if possible—that their work is appreciated. They will be better employees, the office will run smoother, and patients will notice and appreciate it.
9. Give your hygienist that extra time he or she needs, especially on difficult cases. Your staff members don’t like to feel rushed; I know I don’t.
8. Invest time in your staff; learn one personal thing about them each month. Do they have kids? How many? How old? Do they have pets? What do they like to do with their free time or on vacation?
7. Give back to the community. You can do this by:
- Helping folks in need, maybe by writing off a balance if they are having financial difficulties due to health problems or joblessness.
- Supporting a teenager who is working to serve the underprivileged here or abroad.
- Supporting anyone else who may be serving the underprivileged.
The list of needs in our immediate and expanded communities is endless.
6. Carve out time for your family. Make an effort to get together with scattered kinfolk— parents, kids, and grandkids. How about planning a family reunion? As a corollary, how about spending less time on the computer and more time with your spouse? (I’ll be right back—I have to go say hi to my wife, Kate.)
5. Plan a monthly date time with your spouse or significant other.
4. If you don’t have a significant other, make it a goal to get one—or to connect with a very close friend on a very regular basis—one who you can confide in and be honest with. The fellowship of a partner or close friend will keep you grounded.
3. Take time to enjoy your passions, like reading, hiking, skiing, or biking, or just hanging out and shooting the breeze with friends.
2. Enjoy dentistry more by removing life’s little irritants: If you don’t like making dentures, refer them to someone who does.
1. And, finally, stay fit; don’t turn into Quasimodo, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” like too many other dentists do. Allow your receptionist to pencil in a 15-minute afternoon break for you to enjoy a coffee or tea, a brisk walk, or just time to stare out the window and recharge before the final evening push.
There are so many other resolutions you might consider. And, of course, it’s not easy sticking to your goals. However, I did make one resolution about 30 years ago that I’ve managed to faithfully keep: “Never…ever…make another New Year’s Eve resolution.” I’ve broken all of the others, despite good intentions, but keeping just this one clears me of any guilt trip.
Happy New Year!
Jim Rhea, DMD