Does this scenario sound familiar? At the end of a day full of making decisions and answering questions, someone asks what you want for dinner and you realize I have no idea what I would like to eat for dinner.
The term for this is decision fatigue and it refers to the idea that decision making is like a muscle that can get tired with over-use. Every choice makes you a little less able to make the next choice, until you are unable to decide about supper.
Blogger James Clear has some suggestions about tactics you can implement to fight decision fatigue. Here’s one that attracted our attention:
Plan daily decisions the night before. There will always be decisions that pop up each day that you can’t plan for. That’s fine. It’s just part of life. But for most of us, the decisions that drain us are the ones that we make over and over and over again. For example, decisions like…What am I going to wear to work? What should I eat for breakfast? Should I go to the dry cleaner before or after work? And so on.
All of those examples can be decided in 3 minutes or less the night before, which means you won’t be wasting your willpower on those choices the next day. Taking time to plan out, simplify, and design the repeated daily decisions will give you more mental space to make the important choices each day.
What about you—how do you keep yourself sharp in the face of countless decisions? Leave your suggestions in the comments.
A patient came to our office with a complaint of dental pain. He had not been to the office for two years for any type of examination or treatment.
The patient brought along a form from his employer. He requested that I sign the form after I performed the examination. The form stated that the patient had received a preventive dental examination.
Signing this form would allow the patient to receive more insurance coverage at lower cost from his employer for preventive care. What should I do?
You may be surprised by the answer (ADA Members have access to the complete online archive of JADA including the regular ethical moment column.)
Facing a thorny ethical issue yourself? The ADA ethics hotline is an easy, confidential way for ADA members to get some advice on next steps when navigating an ethical dilemma.
The hotline doesn’t provide legal guidance. Instead it provides a fresh perspective through a consultation with a member of the ADA Council on Ethics, Bylaws and Judicial Affairs (CEBJA.)
To access this ADA member benefit, call the toll-free number on your ADA member card and request the ethics hotline. After confirming your membership, you’ll be transferred to a voicemail system and asked to provide some information about your issue.
You’ll receive a personal telephone call from a member of CEBJA. This dentist will then discuss the application of the ADA Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct to your situation. The goal is for you to receive a response within two or three days. However, if you request a rapid response, volunteers and staff will work to accommodate your request.
It’s December and for many organizations, that means performance reviews and appraisals. If you are the boss, this might be the time of year when you provide feedback to your team. And if you are an employee, this might be the time when you are on the receiving end of an evaluation.
“I’m sure that I’ll have some additional thoughts and questions as I digest all this information. Could we schedule a follow-up conversation in a few days?”
When to ask: At the end of a not-so-great performance review or any conversation wherein your boss gives you valuable, if not altogether positive, feedback.
Why it’s important to ask: It’s hard to think on your feet and ask constructive questions when you’re feeling beat up. By asking for a few days to collect your thoughts, you’ll have time to reflect on your boss’s words and brainstorm ways to move ahead. “The last thing you want to do is lose your cool,” says Glickman. “Remember, the goal of feedback is not to make you feel good. It’s to make you better at your job.”
Seems as though this would also apply if you were the one delivering the negative feedback—you might propose that the two of you meet again in a few days for a follow-up conversation.
What has been your experience with negative feedback, either on the giving or receiving side? Share your observations in the comments.
Build an accountability system–a friend, a group, an app–that will make failure uncomfortable. If you’ve got a run scheduled for Tuesday morning, and on Tuesday morning it’s 25 degrees out and your warm bed seems pretty enticing, what is going to motivate you to get your shoes on and go?
Here’s the thing — if you are a new dentist, chances are you’ve already aced this skill. We continue to be amazed at the level of not just ambition but bona fide accomplishment that new dentists bring to their lives.
So what’s your secret? What kind of system do you have in place so that when the going gets tough you persevere? Give us your answer in the comments.
The ADA is made up of individuals—here’s one of them.
Who are you? I’m Dr. Tyler Scott. I’m a proud member of the Class of 2009 of the Ohio State University College of Dentistry. Currently I’m working as an employee in my father’s dental practice, and we are working with advisors to transfer ownership from him to me.
If you could have any job OTHER THAN dentistry, what would it be? That’s a tough one—this has been my dream ever since I was a kid, so I didn’t ever focus on a plan B that wasn’t dentistry. Although the thought of being a PGA teaching professional or a pro photographer has some appeal.
Biggest surprise so far about this career path? Practice management is such an underlying key to success. I’m working to learn the science of running a dental practice.
What’s your schedule like? I’m working in the office four days a week. For fun I like spending time with my family. I also officiate high school wrestling.
Any advice for someone considering your career path? My biggest influence has been my father. I would encourage everyone to find a mentor to help guide you and increase your chances for success at making your dream become reality.
Interested in sharing your experience as a new dentist? If you are fewer than ten years out of dental school we’d love to hear from you! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are the owner of a dental practice, you might already have an employee agreement for use in clarifying expectations between the practice and the dental team. If you don’t have an agreement in place, consider Preparing Written Employee Agreements. As the title suggests this brief document is not a substitute for legal advice, but it is a helpful list of topics that are customarily included in an employee agreement. For instance:
What are the expectations around uniforms?
What is the arrangement for professional liability insurance?
It’s the day before Thanksgiving and, to be honest, we are already focused on the upcoming holiday.
We have been spending a lot of time with this video How to Toothpaste. The video was made by Vi Hart, a self-described “Recreational Mathemusician” and therefore this video is purely aesthetic, rather than clinical in nature. Still, we are of the opinion that this is the finest existential toothpaste video we have ever seen.
But what about a situation where the worst has happened?
The ADA Foundation understands how difficult it can be to recover from an unexpected calamity. To help dentists in their time of need, the ADA Foundation’s Emergency Disaster Assistance Grant Program may provide up to $2,000 in immediate financial assistance to help meet eligible dentists’ most urgent and vital needs immediately following a declared disaster – such as food, bottled water, clothing, blankets, medicine and medical supplies, and emergency shelter. Any dentist who is a victim of a disaster may apply to the ADA Foundation for a grant. The ADAF’s Emergency Disaster Assistance Grants are not intended for more long-term needs such as rebuilding homes and or other structures, or replacing household and personal belongings. In addition, funds cannot be used to replace lost income.
November is Diabetes Awareness Month and the ADA is taking the initiative in spreading the word on how uncontrolled diabetes can affect individuals’ teeth and gums.
A recent study in the Journal of the American Dental Association found that one of five cases of total tooth loss in the United States is linked to diabetes. While complications are part of managing diabetes, for the nearly 26 million people in the U.S. living with the condition, tooth loss and other dental health problems are unlikely to be on their radar.
An upcoming webinar aims to educate dentists on how to interview patients with addiction problems and identify those who are just seeking drugs. Interviewing and Counseling Patients with Substance Use Disorders and Drug-Seeking Patients is scheduled for Feb. 18 from 2-3 p.m. Central time. Michael O’Neil, Pharm.D., professor of pharmacy practice at South College in(…)
Time outs are performed minutes before a procedure begins. In dentistry, this is commonly done before an extraction or a root canal. Do I have the right patient? Is the correct radiograph displayed? Is the necessary equipment present? Do I know which tooth? How often do we breeze through this checklist or not read it(…)
According to ADA News, government actuaries cited slower growth in dental spending than projected just three months earlier in a study revising the post-recession National Health Expenditures narrative from “low rates of growth” to “slowdown.” The 3.6 percent increase in the 2013 rate of growth in the overall health economy is the lowest on record(…)
For dental students wondering whether a career with the Indian Health Service Division of Oral Health or a position at a specific IHS or Tribal site is right for you, an IHS externship can give you the experience to help make your decision. The IHS Division of Oral Health (DOH) is currently accepting applications for(…)
“Dentist” is number one on U.S. News & World Report’s list of best occupations of 2015 for offering “a comfortable salary, low unemployment rate and agreeable work-life balance.” Dentists also top the publication’s list of best health care occupations. “Dental hygienist” is number 5 on the top 100 list and number 4 on the health(…)
Do you know a dentist who has generously given their time, talents and skills by volunteering internationally? Applications are due April for the Certificate for International Volunteer Service, a program that recognizes ADA members who have volunteered in developing countries to improve the oral health and overall health of individuals. Criteria for applying for and(…)
In a year where high-profile accusations of family violence have rocked the National Football League, the ADA House of Delegates streamlined Association policy on family violence during its meetings at ADA 2014 — America’s Dental Meeting in San Antonio, according to ADA News. Resolution 89H-2014, Educating Dental Professionals in Recognizing and Reporting Abuse, states that(…)