The Morning Routine

The Morning Routine

Published by Michelle Haupt on

By Roger P. Levin

When it comes to running a business, those working for a large corporation have a huge advantage over most orthodontists. Business people often “climb a corporate ladder” with bosses who act as mentors and managers to guide them toward improvement. Most orthodontists have none of those things and learn how to run a practice “on the go and on their own”. In addition, orthodontists must learn business concepts while treating patients for most of their day. So, what are the most useful techniques to help make this easier? The first one to focus on is the morning routine.

The Morning Routine

Every day should begin with a morning routine. It might include exercise, followed by shower, then breakfast with the family, dropping a child off at school, and arriving at the office at a specific time. That’s one form of a morning routine.

But the morning routine I’m suggesting will improve your business skills once you arrive at the office. After greeting the team, go straight to your private office, sit down and make your to-do list for the day. Your to-do list should have every item that you need to get done that is not already on your practice schedule. It may be speaking to your CPA, calling a referring doctor, setting up your next haircut, etc. You simply make a list of every item that needs to get done today.

Next you prioritize that list. The easiest way is to break it up into A, B, or C items. Then you can begin to prioritize which of the A items is number one, two, three, etc. Do the same for the B items and the C items. This way you know exactly which items are the most important. You also get much more done and in the right order.

After creating and prioritizing your to-do list, the next item in your morning routine is to participate in the Morning Business Meeting. Ten minutes with the team to review yesterday’s production against goal, today’s scheduled production against goal, new patients and starts yesterday, number of new patients expected today, number of observation patients (this is your gold mine for the future so you should keep an eye on it every day), emergencies, crunch times, or any other items that are not completely normal for a normal day should be discussed.

As you go through your day, when you have a moment begin to attack your to-do list. You start with the highest priority, if you don’t have time to fit that in go to the next one and then the next, but spend your day going back-and-forth between clinical care and your to-do list. At the end of the day, check your to-do list. They are often the items that did not get completed. You simply move them to the to-do list for the next day.

After 38 years of meeting many highly successful dentists and business people, one of my observations is that most of them are highly organized and follow routines. We often look at them and ask how they accomplish so much and get so much done. I can think of one orthodontist that has a very successful and robust practice, sits on three committees, teaches at a dental institute, writes one or two peer reviewed articles every year, teaches two days a month in an orthodontic residency and has a wonderful family life and full life beyond. How does he get it all done? It is not that he is in better shape (although he works out almost every day) has more energy or is that much smarter than everyone else. He is simply extremely organized, plans out his time, and works on his priorities.

It all starts with the morning routine.

Roger P. Levin, DDS is the CEO and Founder of Levin Group, a leading practice management consulting firm that has worked with over 30,000 practices to increase production. A recognized expert on dental practice management and marketing, he has written 67 books and over 4,000 articles and regularly presents seminars in the U.S. and around the world. To contact Dr. Levin or to join the 40,000 dental professionals who receive his Practice Production Tip of the Day, visit or email