The Power of Less

Professional Organization and Interior Decorating

Every now and then, I pick a winner. 

Real Simple is a popular magazine, and while I have picked one up here and there over the years, I never felt compelled to subscribe to the periodical – it just has never left me thinking, ‘a-HA!’ 

Until now. They got this one just right. 

This Special Edition of Real Simple “The Power of Less” has wonderful articles that will help bring some clarity to creating more space in our lives, minds, homes, and calendars.

From step by step approaches to clearing out the email inbox and how to say “no” to avoid over-commitment, to how to disconnect without becoming a digital hermit and a discussion on Swedish Death Cleaning (it probably isn’t what you think), this edition has great take-aways, action plans and conversations about generally living with less.

I encourage readers to purchase this magazine the next time you are in your market (it’s available until March 2020).

And it got me thinking about conversations I have had in recent months. 

It’s about time….

As we begin 2020, I have heard many colleagues talk about the need to approach this new decade a bit differently.

I hear more and more friends talking about paring down in their lives. Not just the things and stuff and clutter – but their time, their commitments away from home and family, and their distractions from what is truly important.

Learning how to politely decline commitments of our time and resources is critical for our own well-being. And yet, it can feel selfish and personal to say no. A gentle “I would love to do that for you, but…” can be a helpful way to decline the favor being asked without implying it is a personal matter. 

It’s about having enough… 

I am a fan of Marie Kondo’s method of tidying up – I read her book a couple years ago, and binge-watched her Netflix show last year at this time. And I have employed several of her techniques in my home as well as clients’ homes.

When talking about this with friends and colleagues, invariably, the conversation steers toward the idea of minimalism. Most people think of austere, stark, all black and white spaces. And while that is certainly an approach, that isn’t what minimalism actually is. 

Minimalism is not about living without; it is about living with enough.

Enough to fulfill the aspects of your life that need satisfying and allow you to really enjoy that satisfaction. Enough to allow you to focus on what is really important, to find happiness and joy. Enough to bring you peace. 

It’s about being connected…

I am sure no one would deny that as a society, we are becoming less and less connected with our fellow man. From cyberbullying on social media (not just a problem with teenagers and children) to observing families that eat dinner with their noses in their phones, our hyper-connectivity on the internet certainly has its downside. Making small changes in our online time can make a big impact on our mental health and our happiness.

My hope is that we make a swing in a different direction and that we begin to see a decline in anxiety, suicide and polarization, especially in young people that are shaping our world. 

I wish you the best in this new decade – the hope of a fresh start is palpable, especially this year. If you happen to pick up the magazine, I hope you find it as interesting as I did.

I will be making some changes from the pearls I gleaned from its pages, and if you do the same, share them with me. As always, I would love to hear your thoughts. 

And if you need help with any of these I’m always an email or a phone call away! You can contact me here or at (970) 218-2209 or

Nine Tips for a Smarter Workspace for 2020!

Professional Organization and Interior Decorating

dental office organization

We are in the home stretch of 2019 and the new year is almost here!

I know that many practices are in the thick of their busiest schedules as patients are taking advantage of ‘use it or lose it’ insurance benefits, and perhaps are looking forward to having a break for the holidays.

As you look ahead to 2020 and strategically plan your next year of serving patients, I encourage you to take a view through patient eyes at your business desk. Remember this is the first thing your patients often see – what does it say about your expertise?

Many practices that I enter have amazing business team members with unbelievable knowledge and experience, but their workspace appears disorganized, unprofessional, and frankly, unclean.

Good news! It does not take long to improve the perception your desk is projecting! 

Science has shown that a workspace organized and free of clutter creates an environment that is conducive to creativity and more efficiency, which leads to more productivity.

Mentally, clutter is distracting and creates stress. When discussing art, photography, and interior design, it is desirable to include ‘white space’ – areas where there is no content or strong color – in order to allow the eye and the mind to rest.

Open space on a desktop or the backdrop behind a computer station accomplishes the same result and reduces stress.  

Here are my top 9 tips for creating a workspace that is more efficient and more professional.

Clear the clutter!

Understand that anything that is sitting on horizontal surfaces reads as clutter and sends the message that the space (or the person working in it) is disorganized. In the extreme, the message can even be read as ‘dirty’, although I am certain that this is not the case – it is a perception. 

Clean off Counters and Desktops

Limit items on the counters or desktops to those things that really must be there, and if there are a number of small items, such as pens or business cards, keep them contained and in finite amounts – you do not need 20 pens available to your patient checking out!

Any containers or baskets should be new in appearance – replace chipped and discolored pen cups or frayed baskets.

Limit Personal Items

Limit personal items, such as pictures and cartoons.

A family photo in a nice frame is lovely, ten photos poorly printed on curling paper taped to the backdrop of the counter are not.

Cartoons cut from the local paper discolor quickly, are often derogatory to dentistry, and send an unprofessional message to patients.

Signs, Signs and More Signs

Limit signs communicating office policies on the countertop or taped to the wall. Printed signs do not replace verbal communication and do nothing to establish trust and rapport.

Purge, purge, purge!

If you have not touched an office supply or file for a year, consider letting it go or at least relocating it so that it is not taking up your precious drawer and cabinet real estate.

Do You Have too Many Pens?

Gather all the writing utensils in your practice. If the pen is not working, the eraser on the pencil is gone, or the marker is dry, pitch it! If the imprinting on the pen is for another practice, or if it is not promoting your own business, offer it to your teammates to take home or donate it. 

Goodbye Random Scraps of Paper

Get rid of random scraps of paper that you will not use, last remnants of sticky note pads or scratch pads, etc.

Again, if it bothers you to throw them out, offer them to the team or for use in the staff lounge or private offices. The key is to remove them from the front office where they might send a negative message to the patient family. 

A Word About Sticky Notes

For the love of dentistry, please clean up all the sticky notes around the computer desks!

Invest in an inexpensive label maker (don’t use handwritten stickers as labels) and make small labels for important numbers that always need to be accessible, such as NPI numbers, tax ID numbers, etc., and place them neatly on monitors, or inside cabinets.

If you can’t let go of the rainbow of squares around the desk, consider using the Sticky Notes feature on your computer. It is a free feature that is standard on all Windows operating systems. It can be found in Accessories listed with the programs that are installed on your computer. They will live on the desktop of your computer, and you can even copy/paste from a Sticky Note if you create one with a template for information that is entered often into another program, such as insurance benefit breakdowns.

Bonus tip: If you right click on Sticky Notes in the list of programs, then click Pin to Taskbar, you will always have them available at the bottom of your screen. 

Organize it all!

Now that you have cleaned off the horizontal surfaces and purged the outdated, useless and obsolete supplies from your inventory, let’s get it all put together for maximum efficiency!

Group Like With Like.

This will be a logical process – all writing utensils will be stored in the same area, paper goods such as letterhead and envelopes together, etc. They may be separated further, but the entire team should be able to find a particular supply at any given time. 

Store Items Based On Usage And Need

Limit the different places that a supply needs to be stocked and stored. If you only need window envelopes once a month during statement generation, and rarely outside of that, don’t store them in the drawer next to your desk. They will be just fine in the cabinet behind you, and this will free up space in your drawer for other items that you need more regularly. 

Label Everything Clearly.

Again, invest in a label maker and use it! Label files clearly, label shelf space for supplies (inside cabinets only) and perhaps binders that are dedicated to a particular purpose, such as practice reports or insurance information.

Bonus tip!! Don’t Buy Supplies In Bulk

Avoid the temptation of buying supplies in large quantities for minor bulk pricing reductions. The space that is taken up with excess supplies is expensive in commercial real estate.

I worked with a client who purchased 10,000 imprinted folders for treatment presentation and after 2 years of boxes tucked into every corner of the practice, they have not yet opened the second box!

With free shipping available from so many suppliers, it just does not pay to save those few pennies. 

Holiday Break Is A Great Time To Purge and Organize

Depending how much time has passed since you have last done a major purge and organization session, this may take anywhere from an afternoon to as much as a week.

This kind of project is a productive one to complete over a holiday break if it is approved by the practice owner. It will allow the team to start the new year with a clean slate.

The business team will breathe a sigh of relief in the coming year and will be able to improve their focus and efficiency, and patients will comment about how clean and professional the office looks!

For more ideas on getting your dental office organized and ready for 2020, contact us for your consultation.

(970) 218-2209

One Thing You Need to Make Your Home Office/Guest Room Perfect

Professional Organization and Interior Decorating

entrepreneur working from her home office/guest room sofa

Many entrepreneurs and business owners have a home office and do a significant amount of work in that space.

Some are fortunate to have a room that is designated or designed to serve that single purpose. More often, the home office is ‘dual-purposed’ to meet other needs of the household.

The most common situation I hear about is the home office that is squeezed into the guest bedroom. Or worse in some cases, the home office is sacrificed altogether so the family has a room for the occasional visitor. Sound familiar?

As someone who loves to entertain, I personally love the idea and understand the want of a dedicated room for my guests. For many years, I had exactly that.

However, as my life and career evolved, I understood that I had to evolve with it and I determined that I needed an office more than I needed a bed taking space – after all, it was only used 3-4 nights a year at most.

I decided that my hard work did not deserve less honor simply because I don’t travel to an office space.

Now I often challenge clients that find themselves in this same predicament with the question: “do you work hard?”

And when they inevitably answer in the affirmative, I follow with “is your work important?”

In fact, in my experience solopreneurs work especially hard and have an amazing capacity for creativity.

The very next challenge I present to them is to answer honestly how many nights a year the guest room is actually used for visitors.

Most often the answer is somewhere along the lines of “I could count the nights on one hand!”.

I begin to see the light bulbs turn on.

They realize they are delegating a space that is used 1% of the year to the comfort of guests, when more than 60% of the year.

They realize the space is actually used to work!

They stare down the barrel of resentment when they begin thinking about the creativity and productivity they have sacrificed to the queen (or king) sized bed in the room that rarely sees a person that doesn’t live in the house.

When I realized this myself, I sold my bed and bought a sweet little (pink!) sofa for my office that I sit on almost every day at some point. It easily converts to a bed for my occasional guest.

The best part, I get far more use out of it than I ever would out of a guest bed.

Create a comfortable seating area with a sofa, like mine, that can be used as alternative seating for the day to day activities performed in the running of a business can be perfect solution for your home office/guest room too.

Before you roll your eyes with memories of the paper thin mattress with the crossbar digging into the small of your back from the ‘pull-out’ couches from your youth, take a look at this New York Magazine article that gathers a list of almost twenty sofas, chairs and sectionals in all price ranges that pull double duty as an impromptu bed for your guests.

BONUS – this curated list from interior designers includes a variety of styles and tastes for the modern home office entrepreneur. 

This is the best of both worlds and makes me smile every time I walk into my office – does your office do that for you? 

For more ideas on improving your home office, contact us for your consultation.

(970) 218-2209

Warrior On! Lessons Learned From the ‘Big C’

Professional Organization and Interior Decorating

January 15, 2016. I was away from home on business. It was late Friday afternoon, and the call I expected to receive that day hadn’t come. Desperate to know the results of Monday’s biopsy, I called my physician’s office and asked to speak to the nurse. She said the words no woman wants to hear: “I am so sorry to tell you this, but you have breast cancer.” This short phone call was the beginning of a very scary year, and looking back, an unexpectedly hopeful journey filled with blessings and joy. I met amazing people, learned amazing lessons, and unintentionally inspired other women. I became a Warrior!

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Consulting | Get Organized, Get Productive

Professional Organization and Interior Decorating

Time is money. If you want your practice to be as efficient and economically prosperous as possible, you don’t want to spend valuable time dealing with the effects of clutter and chaos. Disorganization is shown to have a direct negative impact on productivity and, by extension, your earning potential as a practice.

Whether you feel like you’re drowning in papers or you want to learn tips to take your efficiency to the next level, here are some tips to help you and your team get organized. Contact our team today to learn more about the strategies we can help you implement to ensure you’re getting the most out of your practice.

Clean Up the Clutter

When you have so many different things demanding your attention throughout the day, it can be difficult to keep on top of everything. If you’re not careful, papers and other clutter can accumulate faster than you realize. Once the pile starts to get away from you, it can be hard to ever work your way back through without having to set aside valuable time to sort through everything.

It’s easier to avoid getting yourself into this mess in the first place once you have organizational strategies in place. You might create a unique filing system for handling the various kinds of mail that comes through your office. Perhaps you set specific team members in charge of returning calls. The best system of organization is the one that works for you and your team.

Don’t Let Your Time Manage You

It can be difficult to prioritize the different duties of your work. It’s rare that even an hour will go by without a variety of different distractions. While you’ll have the occasional emergency that demands immediate response, most of these interruptions will not need to be addressed right away.

Resist the urge to drop everything every time a new email or task arises. Operating this way will only make it harder to actually accomplish any of your duties on time. Instead, learn to prioritize which things need to be addressed immediately and which can be done later. Delegate what can be passed to another and clarify deadlines for things that must be completed by you to allow accurate prioritization of tasks.

The day-to-day efficiency of your business can impact its long-term success. Don’t waste your time digging through clutter because you’re working without a plan. For more strategies for your success, contact our office.

(970) 218-2209

Dental Consulting | Avoiding Occupational Pain

Professional Organization and Interior Decorating

Movement is the key to keeping your body healthy. Many people may not realize that working in dentistry can be taxing on your body. From working the front desk to sitting in a chair for long periods, an average day can put a lot of pressure on your body. If you’re not taking care of yourself, you could run the risk of serious chronic pain or injury later in your life. Below are some tips to help promote a healthier lifestyle for you and your dental team.

Make stretching a daily routine.

One of the easiest steps you can take to reduce the strain put on your body is to build a stretching routine throughout the day. Even a short stretching session in the morning and at night can help loosen up your body and promote blood circulation.

Get up and move.

Moving more throughout the day can also help keep you limber and stress-free especially if your particular role requires you to remain in the same position all day.

Exercise more.

Exercising can help strengthen your supporting muscles and promote overall improved health. It has also been shown to help you sleep better at night, giving your body a chance to rest and fully recover after a long day. While strength training will be most optimal for building your stabilizing muscles, any type of exercise will be beneficial.

Assess your office.

See if there are opportunities to make your office more ergonomic. Whether that means standing desks for the front office team or better seating for chairside work, there could be ways to reduce the physical stress caused by work through simply replacing the furniture.

A healthy team is a happy team. Do you worry chronic discomfort or pain is limiting the productivity of your team and making them dread coming to work? Maybe you’re starting to feel chronic discomfort after years of working with patients. In order to address this pain and discomfort, you need to first recognize the source. For more tips on how to maintain a happier, healthier, and more productive dental team, contact our firm today!

(970) 218-2209

Dental Consultant | Dealing with Patient No-Shows

Professional Organization and Interior Decorating

No-shows and same-day cancellations can take a toll on your practice’s monthly revenue. Patients with busy or complicated schedules may find it difficult to commit to an appointment months in advance. Here are six ideas to help you keep your calendar full and your patients on track.

  1. Implement a wait list. By providing an optional waiting list, you can turn one patient’s same-day cancellation into another’s earlier appointment opportunity. When your patient schedules their next visit, ask whether they want to be notified if you get an earlier opening. This can give both your office and your patients added flexibility, as well as showing your patients that you care about their convenience.
  2. Add a cancellation fee. While most practices find these fees rarely need to be enforced, the option to apply a fee can impress on patients that your time is valuable and can act as a deterrent for missed appointments. Offer to waive one same-day cancellation or no-show — be it an emergency, mistake, or otherwise — but retain the option to apply the fee for repeat offenders.
  3. Consider offering extended hours. Many patients have difficulty keeping an appointment during their workday. Time off from work, even for health care, can be limited. If your office has the capability, try adjusting open hours by an hour or two before or after standard business hours for flex appointments. Even offering this once or twice a week can help mitigate patients’ scheduling challenges.
  4. Call, text, and/or email day-before notifications. In some cases, appointments are scheduled weeks or months in advance. During that time, work schedules can change, activities may be planned, and the appointment can be forgotten. By contacting your patients the day before their scheduled visit, you provide both a reminder and an opportunity to reschedule, if needed. Even knowing a day ahead can help you fill a time slot that could otherwise sit unused. Ask your patients how they like to be contacted for best results.
  5. Provide context during scheduling. If your patient doesn’t fully understand and accept the necessity of their treatment, they may fail to prioritize it. When you schedule the appointment, restate the reason for the visit and why it is needed. Focus on the benefit of treating on schedule, so they are more likely to think of their appointment as important.
  6. When no-shows or last-minute cancellations do occur, be sympathetic. As we all know, life happens. If your patient does miss their appointment with little or no advanced notice, be courteous and understanding of their situation. This helps instill positive feelings toward your team, which can help them keep future visits a priority.

No-shows and same-day cancellations can negatively affect your office, but they don’t have to be devastating. By implementing these or other ideas, you can minimize the impact on productivity while helping build loyalty and value with your patients.

For more ideas on improving your systems, contact us for your consultation.

(970) 218-2209

“In order for a business owner to be an effective leader, he or she must delegate”

Professional Organization and Interior Decorating

The idea that in this day and age dentists can keep the business side of the practice in-house is considered by some as no longer possible. One of those persons is Andrea Greer. Greer has been working in the field of dentistry for over 25 years and since 2013 has worked as a consultant and speaker, helping a number of practices and dentists improve their business and reach new levels of success. In an interview with Dental Tribune Online, Greer reflects on how dentistry has changed, the most common business mistakes dentists make and what can be done to improve business education for dentists.

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The desperate need for business education in dentistry

Professional Organization and Interior Decorating

I have experience with all types of people in my business. I may not have seen it all, but I’ve certainly seen a lot. When I talk with other dental professionals, they agree: something is missing in their practices.

I’m talking about the business of dentistry. I’ve had the honor of working with hundreds of practices through my 26-year career, and it’s clear there’s a huge lack of business education in dentistry.

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How does poor time management disrupt your practice?

Professional Organization and Interior Decorating

By Andrea Greer, RDH, contributing writer

April 26, 2018 — It is an understood and disturbing fact that when you go to a physician’s office, you will wait. I once waited up to 90 minutes to see a doctor, and I almost walked away. I’m pleased to say that while few dental practices run behind that much, I do see teams that routinely run 15 to 30 minutes behind all day.

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