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The 5 Ways To Make The Best Use Of Your Downtime


Communication practice systems teamwork Dec 09, 2020


How many times have you thought to yourself, “I’ll do that tomorrow when I have more time,” or asked a team member if they finished a task, and the response was “No, I didn’t have the time.”

Every day we tell ourselves, and we tell each other, “I’ll take care of it next time, when I have more time.”

 In the past weeks and months, many practices have experienced more “downtime” than ever before. 

As we face more last-minute changes to our schedules and navigate team members working remotely for the first time, and thus “down” from some of their day to day tasks, we suddenly find ourselves in the unfamiliar position of having time to spare.

 Here at Act Dental, one key component we see in successful dental teams, particularly in this current climate, is their ability to turn downtime into productive time with the creation of downtime task lists. These teams capitalize on openings in their schedules, creating an opportunity to work out their kinks, embrace new learning, and increase the predictability, and ultimately the productivity in the practice.

Creating A Downtime Task List

Creating this critical system should be quick and easy, and once it’s up and running, every team member will know how to utilize their downtime in the office best. At your next team meeting, spend a few minutes brainstorming with the team about the following things:

  • What tasks do we never have time to work on?
  • What items, if given a little more time, would make a significant impact on the team or practice?
  • Are there items in the daily, weekly, or monthly task list that often get overlooked?
  • Are there systems that are not clear or not working?

 I promise, in a few short minutes, you’ll quickly see this list of items to do when there is “nothing to do” filled to the brim.



In addition to the items you and your team come up with, here are five additional ways you and your team can make great use of downtime in the practice.

 1: Revisit your hygiene recare system

Too often, this important system does not get the attention it deserves and is treated as a reactive rather than a proactive system. Make sure your recare policy is up to date, and spend time contacting patients who are due for their hygiene visit!

 2: Follow up on all outstanding insurance claims

This critical task may be overlooked as teams get busy. Run a report to identify all your outstanding insurance claims, contact the insurance companies who haven’t paid, and resubmit claims as needed.

 3:Review the unscheduled treatment list

The unscheduled treatment list in many offices grows and grows and grows, and soon becomes inaccurate. Take the time to look through this list, updating treatment that has been completed, or treatment plans that have changed. 

 4:Clean up your inventory

Team members are frequently too busy to dedicate time to review the current inventory and make sure it is accurate. With downtime, we also want to be conscious of budgets and spending, and an inventory review can often lead to a few dollars saved!

 5:Write and send thank you notes to referring doctors and patients

Few things are as simple or as impactful as a handwritten note. This is one of the best ways to show your gratitude and appreciation to those who have supported you over the years. This small act of kindness can truly brighten someone’s day, and it will set you and your team apart from the rest of the offices out there!

 Download our productive downtime task list for more great ideas on how to use this time in your office. Remember, downtime in your dental practice is an opportunity to push up your sleeves and get to work on the items that all too often fall to the wayside in the hustle and bustle of our average days. Use this time as an opportunity to create a better practice, and a better life!


Kirk Behrendt

Kirk Behrendt is a renowned consultant and speaker in the dental industry, known for his expertise in helping dentists create better practices and better lives. With over 30 years of experience in the field, Kirk has dedicated his professional life to optimizing the best systems and practices in dentistry. Kirk has been a featured speaker at every major dental meeting in the United States. His company, ACT Dental, has consistently been ranked as one of the top dental consultants in Dentistry Today's annual rankings for the past 10 years. In addition, ACT Dental was named one of the fastest-growing companies in the United States by Inc Magazine, appearing on their Inc 5000 list. Kirk's motivational skills are widely recognized in the dental industry. Dr. Peter Dawson of The Dawson Academy has referred to Kirk as "THE best motivator I have ever heard." Kirk has also assembled a trusted team of advisor experts who work with dentists to customize individual solutions that meet their unique needs. When he's not motivating dentists and their teams, Kirk enjoys coaching his children's sports teams and spending time with his amazing wife, Sarah, and their four children, Kinzie, Lily, Zoe, and Bo.