4 Signs Your Daily Routine is Getting in the Way of Your Potential

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Fri, Oct 21, 2016 @ 01:30 PM

student-struggling.jpg“Killing time” is not in the dental student’s vocabulary. With how busy the average dental student’s life is, it’s easy to find yourself adhering to a daily routine. While it’s good to have structure, and be able to get all of your necessary tasks done in an orderly fashion, doing the same thing every day may lead to burnout, a depressive state of mind, or even a lack of constructive days.

It's hard to juggle so many things, and having any free time might seem like a longshot. Even at times when you might find yourself with a good stretch of time, you might not know what to do with it. Life is full of these situations, and for any dental student running from class, to clinic, to making sure to eat, it’s only more of an issue. Make sure the free time you DO have is maintained well. Seize the days!

Here are some signs that your daily routine is getting in the way of your productivity:

Not Susceptible to Change

Does change scare you? When the grind of hours of class and clinic move in a slightly new direction, do you overreact? Falling into a daily routine may mean that any problems against that routine may be overwhelming. You may find yourself scrambling to get things back in order. However, change, even in the slightest sense, may actually benefit you in the long term. If you find yourself burned out by your typical day-to-day, find a new study spot, try a new food, or just turn on a new light in your room. You might be surprised by how good you feel.

No Wiggle Room

If your schedule is maxed out every day, you may not have any wiggle room to set aside for some of the more drastic things that may arise. Emergencies and other last-second rearrangements cannot make their way into your current routine. If you cannot conceive the possibility of one of these situations coming into play, you might need to rethink how tight your schedule is. No matter how busy you might be in any given day, make sure to at least be prepared when these things occur. If you had a medical (or even a dental!) emergency, would you be prepared?

No Creativity

Creativity is defined as the use of the imagination or original ideas. You might think of creativity as leading to big things out of your talents. You don’t have to paint the Mona Lisa to show some creativity, it’s much simpler than that! Think of creativity as more in terms of creating something, and you’ll have a much better time being more creative! Make a figurine or other craft, bake some food, or write a blog for THE NEXTDDS! Make sure to sprinkle some creativity into your daily routine in an effort to make each day different than the last. The reward will definitely be worth it!

Stress and Taking a Look at Yourself

When’s the last time you did something for yourself, in order to relax? With so much going on around you, it can be easy to overlook the fact that you haven’t been taking very good care of yourself. In the modern dental student curriculum, stress is sure to sweep its way into your life. Don’t let stress buildup in your psyche and be destructive. It’s important, every now and then, to treat yourself to something that relieves that tension. Going to the gym, getting a massage, or just doing something you really enjoy can help lower your stress and get you back on the right track in your dental career.

No matter how tight things get when you’re in school, it’s important to liven things up every now and then, or you might risk doing some serious damage to your well-being. Stress and anxiety affects so much of the body and mind that it’s important to ease your feelings and emotions to remain healthy and continue working hard on your journey to becoming a successful dentist.
Find more helpful information by enrolling in THE NEXTDDS

Related Readings:

Top 10 Ways to Make Time for Exercise

Being Flexible: Yoga for Dental Professionals



Tags: dental school, stress management, stress relief, daily routine, productivity

Productivity: You Got This

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Mon, Oct 10, 2016 @ 01:00 PM




the effectiveness of productive effort, especially in industry, as measured in terms of the rate of output per unit of input.


student-studying-resize.jpgAs a dental student today, you have incredible expectations placed on you, both by yourself and by others. You have lots of competing demands with everyone seeming to want a piece of you. Classes, preceptorships, study sessions, exams, not to mention family, budget, friends, and personal needs all want 100% of your attention. When you step back and look at the big picture, it can appear overwhelming and insurmountable. How do you juggle it all? Can you do it all? Should you?

As you know, should work smarter, not harder. Fine, you say, but what does that even mean? To the rescue, THE NEXTDDS has developed an approach for you that is by now comfortable and familiar: the history and exam, a logical sequence of thought, investigation, and action that can help you organize your life and become more productive. This is easy for you. You got this.

In the grand scheme of things, it is unreasonable to expect that one be highly productive every single day. It is the sum of averages that counts: if you could follow these tips every day, you would be a superhero. Follow these tips more days than not and you will find that you’re way ahead of the game. If you can improve your productivity one day per week, you will still be better off than before.

Prepare For The Day


Before you start your day, you mentally prepare yourself. This helps to sharpen yo ur thinking and avoid mistakes. This same idea helps to improve your productivity. Every night, try to get good rest. Most experts recommend 7-8 hours per night. We all know that, yet we don’t take our own advice. Shutting electronics off late at night can help. Darkness and silence are helpful to get that restful sleep that you need for your busy day.

Eat smart

Nutrition not only fuels the body, it fuels the mind. As the saying goes, you are what you eat, so choose wisely. “Brain foods” include eggs, yogurt, blueberries, avocado, spinach, almonds, salmon, whole grains, eggplant, mussels, and chocolate.1 Notably absent from this list is caffeine, alcohol, junk food, and quarter pounders (with or without cheese). Try to eat foods that provide lots of protein, antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and vitamins to give you the biggest performance boost.


Even light aerobic exercise for a few minutes in the morning can help to shake off the dust from the overnight and get the blood pumping those endorphins through your system. Occupational injuries are common in dentists, and stretching those typically painful areas like the shoulders, hands, neck, and back can help prevent repetitive use trauma, chronic pain, and burn-out. Exercise has been described as a “cheap psychotherapist”, since it is associated with decreases in depression and improved mental sharpness. It is a small but significant investment in yourself.

Assess Your Mind

Are you feeling anxious about anything? Are you distracted? Taking a mental inventory can help you identify and remove hurdles to your day’s productivity. Once these obstructions are identified and understood, you can focus on putting life’s smaller annoyances in perspective and improving your productivity.


Listen, Look, and Learn

Size up our day and the challenges before you. What lies before you today? This week? What is do-or-die? Probably not much. Review your previous day’s successes and opportunities as well as unfinished work. Are you one of those who tries not to leave any work for another day? Many experts suggest that you pace yourself and leave less important tasks to later today or tomorrow. Assess your tasks and be aware of specific challenges for the day.


Evaluate Your Challenges

Look at your schedule for the day, whether you’re at home, in the office, or in the library. Evaluate the resources you have available to make the most of this day. Diagnose your level of stress as well as the etiologies of those stresses. Meditate whenever possible to clarify your thoughts and emotions before you dig in to conquer the world.


Put Your Life in Context

A lot has been written about how to handle those incredible time wasters like e-mail, telephone messages, and social media. Get into the habit of looking at your e-mail – once. Take advantage of e-mail filters on your favorite e-mail program to shunt spam and other distractors to specific mailboxes, and to forward important e-mails to a key mailbox. You can check out the advertisements, funny videos, and Internet jokes later when you get home, and instead try to focus only on those e-mails that are important enough to impact on your productivity. The rest will wait.

Remember The Important Stuff

Check in with your significant other – frequently. Check the news and social media – once. Meditate to put the other competing signs and symptoms in context and help keep the important, centering priorities on top of mind. Effective use of your time and balancing competing interests is central to improving your productivity.

  1. Diagnosis
    1. Write down your challenges, tasks
    2. Prioritize
    3. Rewrite your list
    4. Don’t ignore mundane tasks that are expected of you
  2. Treatment plan
    1. Focus on that 20% that gives you 80% of your personal effectiveness
    2. Try to put off the other 80% until the important stuff is handled
    3. Consider writing out a schedule
    4. You can’t accomplish everything
  3.  Treatment
    1. Follow your treatment plan as best as possible
    2. Be open to “work-ins” and emergencies
    3. When possible, keep your blinders on to improve your focus
    4. Check things off the list as you move through it
    5. Busyness does not equal productivity2
  4.  Follow-up
    1. Ask yourself, “how did it go today?”
    2. Learn from errors
    3. Gather notes on unfinished business for tomorrow
    4. Celebrate successes
  5. End of day
    1. Relax and celebrate
    2. Work less3
    3. Today is done – don’t dwell on it
    4. Tomorrow isn’t here yet – don’t dwell on it
  6. Summary


Find more helpful information by enrolling in THE NEXTDDS


  1. Reader G. 11 Foods That Can Help You Be More Productive. Entreprenuer 2016.
  2. Friedman R. 9 Productivity Tips from People Who Write About Productivity. Harvard Business Review 2015.
  3. Vozza S. 15 Habits That Will Totally Transform Your Productivity. FastCompany 2015.

Tags: productivity

Latest Posts

Posts by category