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 email@example.com.
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.
We are well underway with plans for the ADA 28th New Dentist Conference taking place in Kansas City, Missouri July 17-19, 2014 at Sheraton Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center (registration is open now!) One of the great benefits of the conference is the ability to network with new dentists from across the country, as(…)
We’re hard at work on the next issue of ADA New Dentist News, including a piece about FQHCs and dental student loan repayment. An FQHC (Federally Qualified Health Center) is part of the dental safety net — these centers serve locations or populations with limited access to care. They may be located in urban or(…)
Ever had the experience of avoiding something you know you should be doing in favor of refreshing your newsfeed or checking your email? Emily Schwartz, author of The Time Diet: Digestible Time Management, feels your pain. And over at the Fast Company blog she offers a simple suggestion to triumph over those distractions: Log out(…)
Dental patient napkins used during routine dental procedures are often disposable, but napkin holders typically are reusable, although they can be tough to disinfect. There are both disposable napkin holders and disposable napkins that don’t require a separate holder on the market. Dentists need to make informed decisions on whether to use disposable or reusable(…)
Canceled appointments are part of operating a dental practice, but they can be managed to minimize their effect on your bottom line. The ADA Center for Professional Success has an article about minimizing cancelled appointments that includes: What to say (and avoid saying) when leaving a reminder on a patient’s voicemail How to handle changes(…)
The American Dental Association is the #1 organization representing all dentists. Most members say they are likely to refer membership to their colleagues — is that true for you? As an active member, you know first-hand the value your membership provides. ADA Member-Get-A-Member is the ideal opportunity to share this success by encouraging your nonmember(…)
At some meetings it seems like a minority of the participants do a majority of the talking. But urging the chatterboxes to shut up or coaxing the wallflowers to speak up is unlikely to solve the problem. Leigh Thompson, a professor at the Kellogg School of Management and a team consultant offers three techniques to(…)