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a blog by Chris Barrow


I wish I had invented the word "COVerload" to describe how many of my clients are feeling right now - but credit where it is due to Dr Susan Watt, who first introduced me to the term when completing her weekly tracker in the last few days.

Here are the causes of COVerload:

As the owner of the practice you see yourself as:

  • Financial Director - making sure there is enough money coming in and the correct money going out;

  • Remuneration Director - making sure that everyone is getting paid fairly;

  • Rota Director - making sure that the shift pattern works and the right people are in the right place at the right time (embracing holidays, child-care, shielded relatives, post-graduate courses and the return to school);

  • Clinical Director - making sure that the right dentistry gets done;

  • Compliance Director - and that the dentistry gets done properly and in line with SOPs;

  • HR Director - making sure that the team are as happy as possible and dealing with those who are suffering from furloughitis, the self-appointed union conveners, the saboteurs and the just plain lazy;

  • Customer Service Director - making sure that the patients are as happy as possible and dealing with those who are impatient, have high expectations, cannot follow simple instructions and clearly think they are immune from infection;

  • NHS Compliance Director - making sure that all quotas, proportions and targets are being met in an increasingly confusing landscape - and that the NHS have no excuse to beat you with a stick later in the year;

  • Dental Plan Director - making sure that patients are provided with the service for which they remained loyal to you during lockdown;

  • Operational Director - making sure that PPE supplies and all other resources are available, that equipment is working and that if power goes out and the software shuts down, you have the solution;

  • Marketing Director - making sure that action is being taken now to secure future new patient enquiries when the current rainstorm of patients subsides.

  • Then, of course, you get home and may well be expected to be a spouse, a parent, a cook, a homemaker, an extended family member, a neighbour, a friend, a volunteer.

  • Did I mention self-care? Exercise, nutrition and sleep?

Here are the symptoms of COVerload:

  • A few too many glasses of mid-week wine;

  • Comfort food;

  • Brainless TV left on too late;

  • Restless sleep that doesn't recharge you;

  • Stress and exhaustion;

  • Irritability around family;

  • Losing the love you had for your vocation.

Here is the cure for COVerload

  • Communication - talk about how you feel regularly - with your coach, spouse, business partners, soulmate, fellow clients (whichever fits the bill);

  • Delegation - find the people who are on the bus with you and give them more responsibility;

  • Prioritisation - make a list, A, B, C the list and do the A's first - that's always going to be the best you can do;

  • Balance - nobody wins when you burn out - everybody loses. In the old days we used to talk about zoning your diary - now you have to zone your life.

You cannot sustain COVerload, no matter how urgent everything seems to be.

So you may as well make a decision today that you are going to stop COVerloading yourself.

If you need a coach to help you achieve that - I'm here.

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