SpouseTales Snippet 15: Try to stay out of the weeds!

In Motivating Women, Self-Help by JoAn Majors, RDA, CSP®

Today more than ever, whether you are in a practice full time or part-time, it seems challenging to stay out of the weeds. On any typical day in the dental office, my duties are pretty straight forward. However, following the pandemic reopen, it’s changed for many of us.  This isn’t limited to a spouse or a manager by any means. You see, it’s as though we started shorthanded on our return. Now, with curbside check-in and the screening process, it does take more time to deliver a patient to a treatment room or hygiene suite. What I know is that I can get in the weeds and get distracted with the best of them!

If you believe anything you read or hear about distraction and how long it takes to get back to focus work when we have distractions, it likely now resonates for you daily. According to a University of California Irvine study, “it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back to the task.” Now stay with me for just a few minutes here. Think of the average hygiene visit being an hour. Consider that we have likely asked them to arrive early and text that they are here so we can begin the process of checking them in while watching the flow in the back of the office.

We are the front lines to protect and promote production in many cases.

When we receive a pop-up text, 10-15 minutes before their appointment, letting us know they have arrived, it’s the first distraction. We write back, “we will see you in momentarily.” Then I check out how the back is flowing to gage when I should see them in. Then I go back to my desk and wait as I watch the doctor go in for the exam; I send another text, “we can see you in now.” Then sprint to the door to open it. We stop at the screening area and dispense some hand sanitizer.  Then, I review the ADA screening form they (may or may not) have filled out two days prior for changes. Finally, their temperature is taken and recorded. At this point, my smiling eyes escort them to the hygiene room. 

Depending on the previous patient, I or someone like me will decide to take the BP and ask them to rinse with hydrogen peroxide two times for 30 seconds. We are all doing the best we can to stay within the guidelines of what is required and expected following the pandemic. Many people can’t comprehend it can be challenging for an admin team member to get focus work done while keeping things moving for our clinical colleagues.

Time doesn’t add up

Quick math tells me if I have 1 of the 10-minute blocks, seeing a single patient in, and then approximately 23 minutes to get back to focus on what I am doing. Hypothetically, I’ll be back in focus at about 10:24. I could have approximately 20-25 minutes of focus work before my next pop up text shares that another patient has arrived. I’m not taking into account if there is double hygiene or double doctor day. It also has nothing to do with the personal issues that might come up because I was on the phone with the disability insurance company or like my SpouseTales podcast co-host Kathy Cigno…on the phone trying to find her husband’s stolen Jeep and wallet. 

I share all this only to say, I love you, DeW Crew.

I love the smile I get on my face when I read what you share.  Or I get a message from someone like Jodie Pearson, who always knows when to send cheer. And, I love that Anne Duffy is seriously committed to growing this movement, even if it means she has volunteered to do it for so many of us. He commands us to DeW good work. I share this to remind you that sometimes you have to work hard to stay out of the weeds! It’s easy to get distracted and sometimes a bit down about where we are and what’s happening if we keep a myopic view. Just remember that someone in the DeW crew has got your back if you choose to let them.  

There are a few DeW’s who keep me out of the weeds, and I thankful. I want to urge you ladies to discover what you are. DeW–a group of great minds and souls, working to empower others. You just need to be open to it. Make time to share this group with others you care about in dentistry. This caring and promoting group is not something that we should take for granted.

It takes work and intention to stay connected.

If you want to feel better about your situation, do something for someone else. It’s the perfect medicine. If you are too weak to do something for someone else, you might be DeW for a coffee chat or another opportunity to tune in. Meanwhile, we’ve got a lot of patients to care for and serve at a high level. Let’s work hard to stay out of the weeds of disruptive and destructive distraction! 

See you on the road…or the web,


You can read more SpouseTales HERE!

You can learn more about my other skills HERE.