Do You Really Want Team Members Who Multi-Task?

It’s common for dental practices to seek front office teams who can multi-task.  But what does that really mean, and is multi-tasking a strength?

The columnist Marilyn vos Savant once said, “Multi-tasking arises out of distraction itself.”  Too often today multi-tasking is another way of saying you can’t focus.  When I consider all of the challenges I help unravel in dental teams, it almost always comes down to focus and it’s “cousin,” time management.

When team members lack focus, they spend too much time bouncing from this to that, which is made even worse if they also bounce between personal email or text messages.  The pace of bouncing back and forth unfortunately mimics a pattern many people have in their personal lives.

Yet many tasks require concentration.  Working accounts receivable and outstanding insurance claims, filling the schedule, and executing the steps of a good recall program are just some of the tasks often neglected in practices.  Why?  These tasks do not fit neatly into the busy pace of a day.  You have to regularly plan your work around the flow of patients, which means you have to find blocks of time that are not as busy and maximize productivity.

But this is much more difficult than it sounds for many team members.  Concentration and the effective use of time are skills very different from bouncing from this to that.  Unfortunately some team members are unable to break out of the multi-task mindset.

While we need to be able to handle more than just one task, please keep in mind that bouncing from item to item is not necessarily a trait that will benefit the practice.  Multi-tasking may sound good, but what you really need are team members who can concentrate and get things done.

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