Busy, busy, we are all busy.

I broke my own rules over the weekend and decided to work Saturday until such time as I had reached email inbox zero.

The perfect imperfectionist is allowed to do that – aiming to be on target with calendar management 80% of the time – not beating themselves up when the plan fails 20% of the time.

My original objective was a Saturday morning bike ride – so as to get at least some exercise done while my recovery from Achilles tendonitis enters its 8th frustrating week (with little sign of improvement). I’ve added around 6lbs to my body weight and, frankly, it is getting me down a bit.

Even so, when a freelancer has a pile of work to do, it can be very difficult to enjoy the open road whilst wondering “when the hell am I going to answer all of those emails?”

The usual answer for me would be “on Monday because it’s your Bunker Day” (that’s my one day a week working at my home office) but I’m off to Milan to visit my Italian client later today.

So – I’ve been doing this long enough to know that I wasn’t going to be happy about the weekend until I was up to date with those emails.

I’m fortunate to have a wife who “gets it” and supports me 100%, so when I announced, over a Friday evening glass of wine, my plans for the following morning, they were accepted immediately.

A lot of my end of the week emails are generated by our automated weekly progress report – The Extreme Weekly Tracker.

Every Friday morning we email all of our clients (and their senior team members) and request an update that includes the chance to ask me for help.

You probably won’t be surprised to learn that we have about 40% compliance on completing the report – and that practice/business managers are far more compliant than owners.

Paying a business coach and then not completing a weekly progress report is similar to joining a gym and then never showing up. Some people do and the gym owners know that when they sell their memberships.

I don’t enjoy it when clients miss their “coaching gym” but neither do I nag them. It may be that some enjoy the placebo effect of knowing that they can email me when and if they need to.

Saturday’s emails from managers had a common theme (by the way, that’s another benefit for me of collecting those weekly reports – it allows me to take the pulse of my client base).

A theme best summarised as:

“We are now three working weeks from Christmas and there aren’t enough hours in the day to get done all the stuff I want to get done before the break.”

Whether it’s compliance paperwork, appraisals, accounts analysis, marketing plans, treatment plans, calendar management, ordering or just dealing with the ups and downs of team members – pretty much everyone seems to be BUSY.

This weekend, it reminded me of just how much the role of the manager in dental practice has changed over my 20+ years supporting the profession.

There is more “to do” than ever and this digital age of ours seems to have expanded the scope of practice as well as the hours required to Get Things Done.

So here I am, Monday morning in The Barrow Bunker, with a busy morning ahead of meeting follow up from last week, a couple of client video calls and a task list of stuff ON the business that needs doing before I depart for the airport.

I count my blessings. So should we all.


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Chris Barrow

Chris Barrow has been active as a consultant, trainer and coach to the UK dental profession for over 20 years. As a writer, his blog enjoys a strong following and he is a regular contributor to the dental press. Naturally direct, assertive and determined, he has the ability to reach conclusions quickly, as well as the sharp reflexes and lightness of touch to innovate, change tack and push boundaries. In 2014 he appeared as a “castaway” in the first season of the popular reality TV show “The Island with Bear Grylls”. His main professional focus is as Coach Barrow, providing coaching and mentorship to independent dentistry.