Stress-reducing Tips for Busy Professionals: How to Change Your Focus

By Julie Morris, Life and Career Coach

Letting go of stress when you’re a busy professional is never easy. If you’re in the dental field, you probably already know how much stress and anxiety can affect you on a given day with so many people counting on you to help them. The mental and physical fatigue that can come with job stress can take a huge toll on your mood and your health, so it’s imperative to look for ways to reduce those feelings and focus on the things that matter most.

One of the best ways to do this is to get organized. Figure out what priorities need your attention first and make lists, checking off your tasks as you complete them so that nothing gets overlooked. Then, look for ways you can take a time out during your day to focus on yourself. Even if it’s only for 15 minutes at a time, learning to take care of your own needs even as you’re doing your job can help you learn a healthy balance that will stick with you for a lifetime.

Get organized

Declutter. Keep a journal or planner. Make sure you have contact information for your clients in one spot, where it will be easy to find. Getting organized means making your life easier, and it can help you become better at what you do while simultaneously reducing the stress and anxiety that comes with working long hours or being your own boss. Take the time to make sure your calendar is up to date so you can keep track of your engagements and keep communication open with your family members so that everyone is on the same page when it comes to your time. This is especially important if you’re working from home.

Manage your time and money wisely

Good time management is the mark of a professional, and it will allow you to stay on top of your responsibilities while reducing the stress that comes with a busy week. It’s nearly impossible to stay calm and focused when you’re rushed to complete jobs, so sit down and work out a timetable for each project you have on your plate and think of ways you can ensure they’re done without delay. Hint: The solution will rarely be to work more hours or take on more tasks.

Typically, the answer to better time management is actually better money management. Maybe you need to hire more staff, invest in better equipment or increase your efficiency. While the thought of taking out a loan can be stressful, it’s more than just another payment. With proper planning and implementation of resources, more capital means more business. Qualified employees can free up your time by completing tasks that steal your time — like bookkeeping or answering phones — and allow you to take on more projects. It also can mean faster, more efficient equipment or increased inventory so you can sell more, faster. In the end, any of these investments can mean less stress for you.


When it comes to managing your time, it’s also a good idea to outsource tasks at home. Some days, there just aren’t enough hours to get everything done without sacrificing eating and sleeping, and that’s when it’s necessary to hire someone to help out. Whether it’s to assist with your lawn work, cleaning your house, running errands or walking your dog, there are companies that can assist you for a reasonable fee. Look online for your specific needs to find one in your area.

Take care of yourself

One of the easiest ways to reduce stress is to take good care of yourself. From eating right to getting daily exercise, it’s important to make sure your body and mind are in good shape. If you’re a dental professional, this can be difficult when you work long hours, so make an effort to keep healthy snacks at your desk, and work in some activity during the day. Get up, walk around the office, do some stretches at your desk, or run up and down the stairs a few times to get your heart rate up. These small actions will help relieve stress and will keep you feeling good at the same time.

Getting rid of stress isn’t always easy, especially when you’re working long hours to achieve your goals. However, it’s important to look for small ways you can change your lifestyle so that the stress doesn’t take over. With a good plan, you can start feeling better in no time.

Julie Morris is a life and career coach. More information can be found on her website at

Why Plastic Deserves Your Time and Attention

By Dr. Lisa Knowles, Intentional Dental Consulting

It’s hard to fathom what 500 years from now will look like, but I do know one thing that will be around if our planet still exists: plastic. Plastic takes about 500 years to biodegrade — if ever. Scientists estimate this number of years based on extrapolated figures using a respiratory test. They take a sample of plastic and see how long it takes microorganisms to digest the plastic. The amount of CO2 respired is the measured indicator of degradation. Except with plastic, no CO2 is made. Instead, plastic is dependent upon photodegradation. And no one is certain how long it will take the sun to complete this process. So, 500 years is the current guestimate.

I could not help myself from thinking about the amount of plastic consumed in our daily lives. After thinking about this sobering 500-year fact, I started to think beyond my traditional reduce, reuse, recycle mode of environmental consciousness. I thought I was doing a decent job of preserving the planet and educating my children about consuming less, but once I began to think with the end in mind — as Steven Covey recommends in “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” — I realized the end for plastic may never come. With that realization, I began my plastic witch hunt at home and in my work places. (Please note that there are pros and cons to paper and plastic usage, and this article focuses on plastic).

Here are 10 ways to taper the plastic temptations:

  1. If you have to use plastic, ensure that you are buying a piece of plastic that was made from recycled plastic. There is no need to make more new plastic than we already have on this earth if we do not need it. There is a type of toothbrush called Preserve that is made from 40 percent recycled yogurt containers. It’s a start. When you do buy plastic, recycle it after using it. Every piece of plastic thrown in the trash ends up buried in a landfill, and it will not see the light of the sun. There is no chance it will photodegrade. That plastic toy, fork, bubble wrap or fast food container will likely be there for eternity.
  2. Ask for less packaging, and think ahead and eliminate plastic bags and wraps. Take reusable cargo bags or backpacks to drug stores, grocery stores, shopping malls and markets.
  3. Ignore the undereducated or put off checkout worker who looks at you with grief when you ask for paper bags (or no bags) while gathering up your purchases. And, choose retailers that gladly offer environmentally conscious check out options.
  4. Consider less disposables in your office. We chose sterilization pouches from Enviropouch instead of thousands of little plastic bags for each instrument cassette. When I price compared how much it takes to buy the bags and all of the wrapping and taping products, the Enviropouch purchases evened out. When I add in the long-term cost savings to the environment, the Enviropouch killed the competition.
  5. Think about purchases on small things like polishing disks. I could have purchased a kit with plastic polishing disks and rubber attachments that came packaged in a plastic holder, but I chose the paper sand disks that come in a small rectangular cardboard box. Sure, it’s not as fancy looking, and it’s not the latest and greatest packaging and marketing color-pleaser. But, it pleases the environment, and it was much, much less expensive.
  6. Insist on a recycling program within your office. The amount of stock we all receive in our offices is extensive. When stock, cardboard boxes go into the landfill, it takes up unnecessary space, and landfills get used up faster. Landfills are inevitable, but we can reduce the rapid filling of them by recycling every thing that is possible. Shredded office paper and regular copy paper can be recycled (shred the confidential materials).
  7. Print on both sides of the paper and use fonts that use less ink. Comic Sans is a font that uses much more ink than some others. Patrick Allan, author of a Life Hacks article recommends Calibri, Times New Roman or Century Gothic; be careful with Century Gothic, however, because its wide font uses more paper. Use draft mode or fast mode to use less ink when it’s not crucial to have the best quality. The less ink we use, the more money we save, and fewer ink cartridges go into a landfill. Do not forget to recycle the ink cartridges. Most office supply stores take those back and recycle them.
  8. Save all the paper and ink costs and waste by emailing documents and using shared file folders within the office. Although paper biodegrades faster, the pollution factor for paper and plastic manufacturing is quite high. Paper mills often use bleach to whiten paper and this releases dioxins into our waterways and grounds around paper mills.
  9. Find local recycle events to recycle unusual things like batteries, bicycles and eyeglasses. My local event (Ingham County, Mich.) is called Recycle Rama. Also, unwanted medicine often is taken at these events, and great for us to remind and recommend to our patients when they ask us what to do with their unused prescriptions.
  10. Be an advocate for environmental consciousness. The healthier we keep our environment, the healthier we keep our bodies and minds. Clutter clogs our minds and physically impedes our outdoor recreation. Pollution from manufacturing plastic and paper produces potentially harmful diseases and illnesses in our bodies and increases our overall health care costs.

When we begin with the end in mind, and actively help to promote a total health and wellness environment for our patients, the choices we make as business owners and health care professionals can impact the environment and our way of life for years to come — maybe even 500 years to come. Small changes in our daily lives not only save us on business costs, but also helps to preserve the future health of our planet and of our patients. As health care professionals, shouldn’t we be leading the way?



Dr. Knowles has a consulting business, Intentional Dental Consulting, and can be reached at

Get Out There! Tips for Networking

By Sarah Woods, Dental Marketing Consultant

Networking is a necessary evil in all businesses, and for dentists and dental employees it’s important, whether it’s with colleagues or in your local community. Here are a few tips for successful networking:

Manage your expectations, less is more

If you’re attending a networking event, it is important avoid putting pressure on yourself to meet everyone attending. Focus on connecting with a handful of people and really be attentive during these conversations. One quality conversation is more beneficial than 20 superficial ones!


I learned this a long time ago when I was a waitress: The easiest way to break the ice with someone is to find something you have in common. This can be ANYTHING! A few examples: “I have that same outfit,” “I have children, too,” “My friend works at a company similar to yours,” etc.

Be genuine in your interest

As Dale Carnegie, the father of building business relationships, once said, “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get them interested in you.” Mr. Carnegie believed that the best way to get others to want to engage with you is to take a genuine interest in them. Asking questions and REALLY listening is a great way to successfully network.

The introduction

Create a small introduction to use when you introduce yourself. It’s helpful to practice your introduction in front of a mirror or someone you trust. The introduction should include who you are and what separates you from everyone else. This is important because what you say will either compel the other person to learn more or turn them off.

Most important

Just be yourself and relax!

Ms. Woods is a dental marketing consultant with extensive experience working with dental practices to maximize their patient potential. With in-depth experience in various levels of a dental practice, she has a unique perspective that allows her to be effective at implementing strategies throughout the office that can be easily executed. She can be reached at   

Five Tips to Keep Mouths Healthy This Halloween

Halloween is coming up soon, which for many children (and adults) means celebrating the holiday with candy and other sweet treats. While it’s fun to enjoy the holiday, parents should be mindful that sugary foods can increase the risk of tooth decay, which is the most common chronic disease for children and adolescents.

When you eat or drink foods containing sugars, the bacteria in plaque produce acids that attack tooth enamel, and over time this can cause tooth decay, the breakdown of tooth enamel and lead to cavities.

The good news is that you can let your children enjoy the holiday and teach them good oral health habits that they can benefit from during any holiday season.

So, before you take your kids to Halloween parties or trick-or-treating, download these five tips to keep their teeth healthy.

And of course, continue to practice ongoing oral health care, including flossing daily, brushing teeth twice a day and visiting your Florida Dental Association member dentist regularly. To find your FDA member dentist, visit

Click to enlarge the image.

FDA Halloween One Pager