The Scheduling Ninja: 3 Keys to Transforming Your Dental Practice

Blog post by Nikki Babcock, FAADOM about The Scheduling Ninja: 3 Keys to Transforming Your Dental Practice

High fives and hugs all around.

My team loves me, and they are all supportive. 

My practice is growing, and my doctor says, “I can’t imagine what I’d do without you.”

Don’t even get me started on team bonus days.


This is my life, and it could be yours, too. Unfortunately, when I talk to many of my colleagues, the most common complaint is that you feel like you are running on a wheel going nowhere. You’re expending all the effort needed to get the high fives and become indispensable, but at the end of each day, you feel more like the hamster and less like the ninja. No one has the answer to every one of dentistry’s daily struggles, but the following methods for scheduling might help you feel more like a ninja and less like a hamster.

3 Keys to Scheduling for Success:

1) Define your success (i.e., choose your goals)

If this is new to you, here is some food for thought: How does your doctor measure success? Is it financial? Is it environmental? Is it the length of the workday? Which providers have goals that reflect team success? Are they quickly evaluated, and does each provider look at them daily? Unless you answered each of these quickly and without reviewing countless papers or doing math in your head, DO NOT MOVE ON!! This is the start of understanding how to act like a scheduling ninja. Unless you set goals, no one will ever win.

2) Communicate what success means and teach your team

Establishing goals or identifying our desires matters if each team member is aware and moving in the same direction. Unless you share a desire to succeed and quantify what that means, high fives and loving compliments will be few and far between. Take the time, schedule team meetings, understand what makes each team member thrive (understand which team members might thrive elsewhere), and get going!

3) Implement your success plan strategically

I am a scheduling ninja, and my team is successful because of my ninja skills.

While I won’t reveal all of my ninja tricks, here is a tip I’ll share. It’s called block scheduling.

Our team defines success both financially and in terms of the quality of our day. Our team starts on time, ends on time, and repeatedly destroys our goals. How? You might ask. We aren’t that special, and I would argue that most practices can succeed similarly if they are willing to look at a day differently. Our team uses practice management strategies common to nearly every large management firm, and while each management firm might call it something different, the secret sauce is block scheduling.

Block scheduling means placing a financial value on larger, lower-volume appointments and building your schedule around these blocks. By selecting and planning for block appointments each day and by remembering not to fill these blocks with something that doesn’t fit (until the day before), we keep our business’s financial success thriving, our patients’ emotional success/experience, both expectational and efficient, and our team is never forced into the crazy grind that many “non-strategic” practices fight day in and day out.

Creating an ideal schedule can be challenging because you want to be productive while avoiding chaos and an exhausted team. But it is also achievable with trial and error and can be rewarding. Block scheduling is a great way to keep your schedule flowing correctly. The most important thing to teach your team is that it must be followed once it’s in place.

With so much information and opinions, you may be overwhelmed with where to start implementing.

Let’s start with these basics:

  • Determine how your office wants to measure success/goals
  • Teach your team what your vision of success is
  • Implement your success plan

There are so many different variables with each practice, but the one thing you will find with most successful practices, they implement a variation of block scheduling. Find what works best for your team.

Remember, YOU have the power inside you, so hop off that wheel!


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About the Author


Photo of Nikki Babcock, FAADOMNikki Babcock, CDA, CDBP, FAADOM

Nikki has served in the dental field since 2006, when she started as a Dental Assistant out of high school. She is the Practice Manager at Rockford Downtown Dental, Dr. Chad Conlin, FAGD. Nikki is a lifetime AADOM member. She received her AADOM Fellowship designation in 2023 and is currently on track to be inducted into AADOM’s 2024 call of Masters. Outside of the office, Nikki enjoys spending time with her husband and two children.







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