There is 1 Thing you can do to solve 99% of your problems, but it may not be what you think. One of the inherent challenges of practice is the shear number of moving parts we have going on in any given day.
That coupled with our culture of celebration of multi-tasking has steered us in the complete wrong direction in terms of our best practice when treating patients AND running a successful small business. We solve that today.
You Will Learn:
- Why you should avoid Multi-tasking like the plague, but how using smart focus can actually make you better
- What the 1 Thing is for your practice to grow and how to make that 1 Thing foremost in your team’s mind
- How to install an office “Eagle Eye” so you ALWAYS know where you are needed next so you don’t have to stress about it.
And Much, Much More…
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The Dr. Chris Griffin Show – Season 1 Episode 5
“Multitasking is a lie” and here’s another one for you, “You can do two things at once but you cannot focus effectively on two things at once.” Now who said that?
Welcome to the Dr. Chris Griffin Show. Your resource for leveraging systems and technology to easier workload, increase productivity and provide you with the time off you deserve to live the life of your dreams. It’s time to practice productivity in the passionate pursuit of a better life with your host, Dr. Chris Griffin. The doctor is in.
Yes, yes and welcome back everyone. Now that was a little bit of a tricky one, huh? A little bit of a tricky quote there. It could’ve been a few different people. So let me go ahead and just fill you in. That was none other than Texas real estate agent extraordinaire and also New York Times bestseller, Gary Keller. Who wrote an amazing book. I’ve got to say, it’s called The One Thing, the surprisingly simple truth behind the extraordinary results. Okay? It’s an excellent book I’ll recommend that book for you. We’ll try to get a link for you down at the show notes if you want to check it out yourself. It’s one of many books that I have acquired through the years and read through at break neck speed but I’ll tell you that one is the one that I certainly stopped at a few times to smell the roses because it’s a tremendous book and I’ve found after researching him a little bit that before this, he had only published a real estate book and I have absolutely a zero and I mean zero interest in real estate books. But you know what? This one thing book is pretty darn good. So pick one up if you get the chance. Get an app book or a kindle book or however you want to read it.
So today’s episode, the name of today’s episode is Calm Your Stormy Practice with one thing, okay? Sort of play off that book but also you know, it’s Springtime in Mississippi. So it’s not a stormy season. I guess I had that on my mind. And also no matter how good of a manager you are, how good of a doctor, how good of a dentist, how good of a whatever, how good you are of a practice manager, you’re going to have some stormy seasons come through your practice and also your life. And so I thought this was a pretty good episode to dive into some things and really share with you the number 1 thing that we did to calm our stormy way of practicing. And we’ll get to that a little bit later in the show but today, you are going to learn how you can run a very highly productive practice while not violating a law. Now what law might that be? Well if you read this book, if you’ve read this book, if you get a chance to go read this book. There’s a law that’s coming out these days. You know every time you pick up a paper in neuroscience and stuff like that. They’re doing research all over the place that suggests that this American idea of multitasking, which would be, I suppose the idea would be that multitasking is essential if you want to be successful. Well it’s really not only is it not successful, it’s also not possible. Right?
And so there’s a law out there that pretty much says that multitasking is no good because it is not possible. But I’m going to teach you guys today how you can run a very productive practice and a very busy practice. if that’s the way you choose to practice; without breaking that law, without violating those rules. And also how you can harness the amount of amazing power of focused multitasking, okay? So I have named something now. Not only are we not breaking the law of multitasking, we’re out here naming stuff. Boom! That’s just the way we roll right? Focused multitasking, now I hope no one has that trademark, because I haven’t ever heard the term but I just did and just pulled it out of thin air as I was writing up the show notes for this episode. But there is a thing we do called focused multitasking. And we teach it, believe it or not. We’ve been teaching it since 2008. So good grief, it’s been 8 years now. This thing will allow you to unlock your practice goals if you’ve hit a plateau, if you’ve hit a sort of a stumbling block or a block aid. Whatever kind of synonym you can come up with there. If you’ve hit something like that, and you just cannot get passed it. You’re just really, really, really struggling and you just want to hit this goal but you’ve always had it in your mind but you cannot seem to try this. Try this focus multitasking we’ll be talking about here in a bit. It’s really amazing! It’s really good.
Now and I’m telling you, I learned it from a doctor. I learned to kind of, I mean it’s kind of a base knowledge of it. Of course, I expanded on it and I feel like we’ve almost perfected it in my practice and I’ll be sharing that with you today. It’s pretty awesome! And after you learn this, you will be able to solve most of the road blocks that are out there keeping you producing, underproductive, not re-allowing your practice to reach the high level that you would like. Right? So let’s dive right in. Let’s do a little background before I get in all these fancy solutions that we’re talking about. Let’s talk about the multi tasking. Now there’s multi tasking but that’s really a myth. Okay? From what I’ve read, in current referee litterateur, there’s actually no such thing as multi tasking, however, there’s certainly something called switch tasking. And that’s really what you’re doing when you think you’re multi tasking. So I’ve always been the kind of guy that said, I wanted to, you know I thought I was so brilliant that I could actually watch TV and study at the same time for a test, right? It’s really not what I was doing. I was really watching TV a little bit and then I was studying a little bit. And I might have been on it in rapid sequence Back and forth but if I had focused all of my attention on the studying or on the TV watching, whichever was more important at that time, either of those tasks would’ve been done better than what I was doing.
Now how I got through school and got to this point? I’m not sure because I certainly have never really focused on things the way I probably should have. But recent neuroscience proves that you will almost always, always finish to independently focus tasks quicker, you know if you’re doing like one at a time, that’s all you’re focused on than trying to do both at once. It’s every time guys, it’s every time. So and if the tasks that you’re trying to accomplish are complex, that just makes it that much harder. Okay? It’s just that much worse. So that is, that’s the deal. So if you’re out there thinking, okay Chris, well thanks a whole bunch! So I guess we’re in the wrong profession, right? Because I can’t just sit down in the cubicle and focus on this one project for two hours and get done with it and take it to my boss and say “Didn’t I do a good job? I’m so focused and awesome.” I’ve got a practice to run. You know I’m trying to see a patient, I’m trying to numb up a patient that’s very difficult to deal with. I Guess someone is not paying their bill in the back. The hygienist is screaming at me, the hygienists are doing their own thing. You know how hygienists do? They just do whatever they want to do all the time and I don’t know what I can do to single focus things in my practice one at a time. That’s just not happening. Or maybe you’re one of these kinds that got a practice like a cosmetic practice and you’re seeing one patient in the morning, one patient in the afternoon. Or like a military doctor who’s a friend of mine who said, they actually had a quota of 2 patients in the morning and 2 patients in the afternoon. And I mean that’s, well you can do it then, you can do that.
Yeah if you’re in a modern practice and you run it at a reasonable rate without a whole bunch of advance services. Then I think you’ve got to take this and you know, say “Wow!” I mean I bet most of the day I’m trying to multitask but it’s just not possible. I mean, when they’re trying to numb somebody and while I’m doing that, I’m thinking about the cram preps there next door that I got to get to. I’m thinking about the lab case that I’ve got to send off for and we take a shade on that. It’s how the porcelain going to match and all this. I’m trying to think to get my lab first and get the whitening cases poured up. I mean I just don’t know. So I’m constantly multitasking all day.
And at the end of the day, we have an okay day, I feel pretty good about myself and I think “Wow, you’re a pretty good multitasker.” But now you’re telling me Chris, that multitasking’s a myth, what I’ve been doing has just been a sham. I’ve been fooling myself and everyone else. And so how am I supposed to run my practice now? I just don’t understand. Well let me introduce to you your salvation. Okay? Because a few years ago, we came upon this truth and I had to… you know I had to take deep look inside and I had to admit to myself. “You know what? You know Hoss, you admit you’re super productive. You’ve been thinking you’re some kind of multitasking freak, super hero freak in nature.” Well you’re really…you’re not. Thank God! And you probably have been hurting your efforts because you’re just trying to multitask all day long. And don’t our patients deserve a 100% of our attention? And I’m actually, that is actually something I’ve taught since 2008 and I’ve always had trouble trying to reconcile a busy practice with the fact that I knew that patients deserve 100% of our attention at all times.
And so, we actually came up not only with the term and a theory, but we actually put it into practice. So I came up with this term called Focused Multitasking. How how’s this, how’ this work? So it’s really not multitasking. So I’m not breaking those laws. I’m not violating the myth of multitasking. I just called it multitasking because it’s the common usage term. That’s what people would call what we do but you as the individual doctor, you have the power to change them. You know, you can change the way that it’s perceived then actually create a situation that’s ideal or very, very much better than historic multitasking; a lot of us do. And a lot of the way that we do that is divide up complex procedures which we have a bunch up, and you do too in your practice every single day. So we divide up these complex procedures into very small independent chunks. And then, we execute chunk after chunk after chunk after chunk. Okay so let me go into little details. So you’ve got a, you’re doing Crown prep, okay? You’re doing a crown prep and in one room, you’re doing an emergency exam in another room, and down the hall, you’re supposed to go check your hygienist out and doing a few exam on that patient, okay? After the hygiene appointment, well you’ve got 3 things going on at once right? This sounds bad. It already sounds like this is multitasking. Well guess what? It becomes focused, what I’m calling, Focused Multitasking. If instead of worrying about those 3 things at one time and thinking about all 3 at one time, you just chunk it out.
So on the crown prep, you walk into the room, you’re going to focus on that patient with 100% of your focus and you are going to give an injection. Okay? You talk to the patient and do a little chit chat, and check through medical history and make sure everything’s on the up and up. And you’re going to give an injection, you’re going to give the best injection you can possibly give. You’re going to give that injection, and give that anesthetic without any regard, whatsoever, for the patient across the hall waiting on your exam that’s in pain or the patient in the hygiene room who’s getting ready down there. And once you’ve given that injection, and you leave the room, you’re no longer going to think about that patient and take them back to him. And you’re going to cross down the hall and you’re going to talk to that emergency exam, you’re going to find out what’s wrong with them. You might order some x-rays and while you’re in there, you’re going to absolutely focus 100% on that patient. And then you’re going to leave the room and you’re going to forget the patient for a few minutes and you’re going to go down the hall, you’re going to check hygiene and you’re going to give them 100% of your focus for that procedure. Okay? And you go throughout the day and you just focus on little chunks at a time.
So to the outside world and everyone else that looks like you’re multitasking, but as we all now know, you’re not multitasking because it’s really impossible. I guess it’s much closer to switch tasking, but the way we’re describing it we’re focusing as we do it. Okay so in that way, we also don’t violate our own personal code of providing each patient 100% of our focus while we’re with that patient, it’s not that I feel like it’s absolutely essential. I will not take shortcuts on that, that is 100% the way it’s got to be. Okay? Alright, so that’s how it operates and practice that can be productive and yet focused. Now how exactly did we harness this in our practice and that’s what we’re going to talk about now. In our practice, well let me take you guys back a few years. So this is a little bit of a funny story, I would assume that my friend does not mind me telling the story on the radio. So back in 2005, it was an interesting year. We were trying, I’d actually come to the conclusion that in all cosmetic practice, it was not going to work in Ripley, Mississippi. Now some of you out there who are a lot brighter bulbs than I am, would probably come to that conclusion a lot sooner but I’m stubborn and bull headed as they say around here. And I wanted to make it happen. I wanted to be known as this great cosmetic dentist through Ripley, Mississippi and just show everyone it could be done if someone went to work and study hard enough.
Well somewhere between the year 2000 and 2005, you know it became obvious to me that was not going to happen. And so, you know, I said “Okay, what do we need to do? Because I do not want to live a life where I’m not productive and successful you know I have goals and I would like to meet financial goals, personal goals, achievement goals, and so I decided that I just wanted to be very, very good general practice. And you know, not be this amazing, famous, cosmetic guy but however, be a very well educated general dentist who could do a you know, good percentage of almost every procedure while we’re referring to highest end stuff. And so I embarked on a journey all over the country to find doctors who represented different aspects I wanted to learn. Well this so happened that my good friends, Dr. Steve Deloach, Dr. Pat Clark and myself, we were riding to Atlanta Georgia taking on a course on ortho and one of it, I think it’s me. It’s always me. Right? I’m the guy that studies CE, I was just that guy. So I always came on trips with these stacks of CD’s and nobody would want to listen to them but I kind of forced just to listen to one or two on a road trip right? So I pulled out this CD, and one of them was a Dr. Vince Monticciolo and he was in New Port Richey Florida. You know, and so we go t the course, we listened to the CD on the way down there. It was awesome! I mean we were so, all three of us were like “Wow!” This guy knows his stuff. He sounds super awesome, we want to go learn from him. And so I called him up and I scheduled for not only us three, but I think 5 more that are good friends who graduated from Tennessee together, to go. Now we did. Some of us flew, some of us drove. We played golf, we stayed in this amazing Country Club down there and played golf and went to his office for a full day. Really, Vince was such an awesome guy, such a nice guy, such a smart guy. It just blew you away how intelligent and what a great dentist he was. So while we’re down there, you know, we made friends with him and it was a great day. And we all took away tons of just valuable information.
And now Vince, he was into things at that time we we’re not ready to get into but some of us got into it later but like obvious sedation and you know, crazy really complicated implants, stuff like that; stuff that’s taken me 10 years to really get into. But one thing I knew I could do and I could take away, was he had lot of operatories but things weren’t running really smooth, I mean it’s really amazing how smooth of an operator this guy was and so one of the keys I thought he had was just a little bitty like a white board. Not even a whiteboard, it was just like a piece of white laminated wood or something on the wall that had a glossy surface and they were using dry erase markers on it and some of the assistants were just writing down what was going on, where they need to go, what patient was wearing blah blah blah! And it was a little bit chaotic but boy they were using that thing and they were hopping. And there was a scene I said, “Boy this was brilliant! I’ve never seen anything like this.” And so you know, I took that concept and I brought it home. We started working with it and you know first thing I did is put a big old white board into the hall of our practice and we used it to start writing on it.
And as time passed, it became more and more obvious the things we should write on it and the things we shouldn’t write on it. And over the course of a couple of years, we modified and modified until we think we came up with a pretty darn efficient way of doing it. I actually even came out I think in maybe 2010 with a product that I sold dentist when I go speak at lectures and I would sometimes offer this manual in these DVDs of called “The Route Board”, that’s what we called it because it routed me from place to place throughout the office. This thing, I mean I’m telling you, it is a lifesaver. So I took Vince’s initial concept and I sort of blended it with the surgery boards I’ve seen in hospitals and so what you have is you have this board. That’s a route board for lack of a better term and we actually have 3 columns on it. One column’s priority, one column says procedure and one column says place. And so you know in our office, we’d number the operatories right? And so I guess I have 9 ops. That’s not to say that I suggest to have 9 ops, just for the sake of argument, we do have 9 ops. And let’s say that I’m in a room doing something and I come out in the hallway and I find a board and I look at the board and it says, priority number 1 is for me to go to room number 3 and check hygiene. Well that’s what I do, I forget everything else I was doing, I go to room 3 and I focus on that patient and check hygiene. And then when I come out, the board has a new priority number 1 because in the background, my staff, they’re just scribbling and erasing and updating and organizing and sequencing things behind my back so that the only thing I ever see into the board is priority number 1. And that’s all I do all day long. Follow the trail, priority number 1; priority number 1.
Now the reason I came for the product is because this is something that’s very hard to explain. And darn near impossible to get the whole concept just over the radio like this but you know, it’s a very powerful concept if you see it. And the only way one will learn it for years was if they actually came into my office in Ripley. We occasionally have these in-office days. We call them navy seal days, it’s just a…out of respect for the navy seal who I think are maybe the most awesome fighting force in the world. We try to help you learn how you can make your practice some small fraction of a percentage as productive as the navy seals. Which you know is still pretty darn doctor for a dental office. And so people come to these days and after they spent the day with me, they will be like “Oh, I get that now.” You know for the longest time, I did not see how that will work in my practice but now I see, that’s how you go from one room. Don’t how you don’t get confused, that’s how you don’t get stressed, that’s how your team always knows where you are and we have rules you know. Like we have, we write time zone there and writing injection times whenever we leave a patient more than 20 minutes after injection and stuff like that. It is just a really, really good practice organizer tool. So some of it, we call it different things, we call it the practice air traffic controller. We call it the office eagle eye because over time we found that it was necessary not to just have one board but to have multiples. I think Oh goodness! Right now I’ve got maybe 9 monitors throughout the office that are linked and have a camera that’s on my central board and they’re all linked to it.
And so you can see the updates and live real time. And I don’t really…this is not the show where you would get in to the reasons while we do a, you know, close circuit TV instead of software which you tried many different softwares or Iphones. Or what I mean, listen, it is a whole day’s lecture but we use it every day and it keeps an eye on things and everyone knows what’s going on. We have feeds that go on into the front office so the scheduler knows where I’m at. The front office manager, she knows where I’m at; everybody knows where I’m at. You know I have a feed in my office so when I go eat lunch for 10 minutes every day, I keep an eye if somebody put something priority on the board, I get up and go do it. You know I hurry up my lunch or I know when I can chill out and listen to a little more or my talk radio or whatever, you know. Instead of rushing through, but yeah this is what we do. And it has made the entire difference; it is the one thing that we would probably could…I couldn’t practice the way I could practice without it. I just couldn’t and I know a lot of teams that I’ve taught over the years couldn’t practice to the level of productivity they do without it. They just couldn’t. I mean once you get into the flow with it, you just can’t practice without it. Now that’s fine, if you want to practice in a slower pace but if you want to do a faster pace, more high volume, more productive and still have a very high quality, you pretty much need to do something like this. At least follow the basic principles.
So that’s it, I mean there’s the promise. That’s the promise I promised you at the beginning. I told you exactly what we did to harness that amazing power of focused multi tasking. That’s exactly what we do, we have our Route Board, our office eagle eye, our practice air traffic controller and that’s how we’ve reconciled the myths and the laws and we don’t break them. Okay? So we’re going to take a couple of seconds here and when we come back, we are going to have a very productive book report. Something that I haven’t done much yet but I love books and you know I mean I just one of these days I always want to do something, I have right now I have serenity in my office. Just by rows and rows of business books I have actually had to take cases of books to my warehouse, you know and file them because I ran out of space and my wife doesn’t want me stacking books all over the place you know because she thinks we might get mice, rats or snakes or whatever you get when you have piles of books all over the basement. But I’m going to have a book report and I think you guys will enjoy it. So we’re going to talk about the book we talked about in the very opening. Everybody let’s get a few seconds here and we’ll see you on the other side.
This is John Lee Dumas of EOFire. And if you’re ready to ignite your productivity, explode your growth and burn down the barriers to your dream life, the Dr. Chris Griffin Show is where you need to be.
Okay well thanks John. By the way, John’s going to be a guest on an upcoming episode, so look forward to that when I give you a little tease; maybe a month or so, we can get that out there. But like I promised you, today we’re going to talk about a book and we’re going to talk about that book “The One Thing”. I guess the whole title is “The One Thing That’s Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results” by a Texas Real Estate Agent, Gary Keller. And you know, first off, go buy the book. I mean that’s what successful people do, they buy the book. They don’t read the 10 page sampler on Kindle and then say “Oh that’s all it was.” They go buy the book and you know Gary deserves it. I mean he’s wrote an awesome book, he and his co-author. You know go buy it, I mean it’s what they deserve. So you write an awesome book people should buy it. I don’t care how you buy it but you should. Now if you just want the quick and dirty thing to get you interested in it, I would say that some of the things that I pulled out of it that I hope will be loved. He has an idea that “Time is the currency of achievement.”
I think last week we talked about how I think time is the most precious commodity on earth. He says time is the currency of achievement. Time has always made more money but you can’t make more time. And I think that’s pretty much the truth, right? Some more things I got out of the book, Gary says “Success is built sequentially one thing at a time.” They kind of goes back to our focus multi tasking theory and that’s how we do it. We focus sequentially one thing at a time. And at the end of the day, we’re very successful doing that. I think, I think that the whole jest of this book is kind of, it’s not really geared towards a busy practice. What is geared toward is saying these in life were bombarded by things all day long. Stimuli that is in it in every angle – Facebook, Linkedin, TV you know, whatever. Anything you enjoy you’re bombarded by it. Social media, it’s crazy. But if you can, instead of just focusing a little bit on all this stuff, and trying to be a you know, jack of all trades master of none, if you will. If you will narrowly focus on things and go super deep and rich in just a very narrow field, you can achieve extraordinary results.
I guess in his example, he was probably talking about his success in real estates. Now it came once he really learned how to focus specifically at one thing at a time now in his real estate empire. When he wants to do something new, he focuses on that one thing for a while to be a master of it and then he accomplishes a ton. He has a few things that are really cool in the book like I love the 3 P’s. You’ve got to get the extraordinary results, he thinks you got to live with passion. I’m sorry, that’s a P but it’s not what he said. You’ve got to live with Purpose, you got to live by Priority and you have to live for Productivity. I love that one right. I’m very much love…live for productivity. I mean if you’re not going to be a productive human being, what are you here for guys? Come on. So I love that he talks about his success, his habits, his focusing question. It, I mean the book gives you a reason to say If I want to accomplish something just extraordinary, powerful, something, maybe a goal I’ve set that I never really thought I could I really achieve if I just kind of dropped everything else and focus on that, eventually I will achieve it. And it will be amazing!
And I can look back at times in my life where I, you know have the goal of having this practice right at a certain level and never thought I’d get there. And then when I got there, okay I’m going to focus all my energy on getting down to 3 days a week and never thought that would be really possible but I did it. And you know golly, what was that? 2008 we went to 3 days. That’s you know, that’s a long time guys. 8 years of 3 days a week, that’s 8 years of a 4-day weekends. 4 day mini vacations for me, Yay! Right? But it’s just because I focused primarily on that and I’d be honest, I’ve found myself struggling to focus the last few years. You know, goodness gracious, after my practice burned down, you know it’s kind of, I was kind of tossing around and in the dental doldrums, I you will. Now I was just sort of wondering, it was hard to focus, and I honestly wasn’t as productive as I could’ve been for those 2 years. I was just, I wasn’t. Now the one thing I did focus kind of on was the practice, building it and I feel like we have a very, very nice dental practice now. And I don’t know that it could have been much better so I did manage to get that done but you know what? I got it done so much more but I just…it was tough. I’m starting to come back though and hopefully this podcast, right? It’s a good example, I’ve really focused and started on the podcast for like the last few months and I hope it’s showing some fruits. I hope you guys are enjoying it.
But anyway, that’s basically his whole theory. I think you need to go buy the book and you can read the whole thing. But he pretty much believes that if you’ll focus on one thing at a time, you will achieve the amazing. And the first part of the book is awesome because I’ve actually, I’m like man, did he even look over my shoulder? He wrote about the time currency thing and he’s got a quote in there I always used to use in my lectures. From City Slickers, right? From Curly. Curly was telling Billy Crystal the most important thing in life, in Billy Crystal’s life, what? He holds up 1 finger and he said this you know, I don’t know what he said exactly. Jack Palance, then he’s like this, you know. Then Billy Crystal says, what? What’s that? And he says, that’s for you to decide. Or I’m paraphrasing but that’s pretty much the jest of it. You know, we don’t know what your 1 thing is but whatever that 1 thing is, that’s your 1 thing that you could be amazing at. And you won’t know until you drop everything else and focus on it to the fullest of your abilities. Only then you could possibly achieve it and I bet if you do, it would be amazing. Okay?
So there’s the book report. Like a said, go buy it. Don’t just take, I mean it’s crazy like a little 5 minute ramble but I love the book, I hope you guys like it too. If you have not done it yet, roll on over to iTunes and subscribe to this podcast guys, because it helps me out. It helps my rankings to get up there plus, yeah I’m on your phone or your iPad and you don’t have to worry about finding it there, it just pops right there. Once a week, it’s there. You don’t have to look for it. You don’t have to go on a website or anything. So anyway, I’d love that if you go and do that and I guess we’ll see you next time, right? It has been great. The 30 minutes has rolled by, so enjoy the rest of your week. If you have any questions, go to the website, shoot them to me, I’d love to answer them on the show if you got a good one. And we’ll talk to you then. Alright everybody, see you then.
We appreciate you joining us for this episode of the Dr. Chris Griffin Show. Be sure to visit drchrisgriffin.com for the latest resources and updates to keep you more productive every single day you’re at the practice. So when you’re not working, you can do the things that matter most in life. We look forward to having you join us in another episode of the Chris Griffin Show; where the doctor is always in.