How to stop being a worker bee

2015 02 15 23 17 12 996 Madow Brothers 200

We are sure you have heard of the Pareto principle, more widely known as the 80/20 rule. It came from Vilfredo Pareto, the Italian economist who noticed back in 1906 that 80% of the land was owned by 20% of the people. Not coincidentally, Pareto also noticed that 80% of the peas in his garden came from 20% of the pods.

Over the years, this rule has been used for much more than land and peas. For some reason, it works for practically everything in our lives. By the way, did you know that the richest 20% of the world's population controls about 80% of the world's wealth, according to many sources?

Richard H. Madow, DDS, and David M. Madow, DDS.Richard H. Madow, DDS, and David M. Madow, DDS.

Dentistry has many applications of the 80/20 rule. Here are a few:

  • 80% of a practice's income comes from 20% of its patients.
  • 80% of a practice's complaints come from 20% of its patients.
  • 80% of a practice's income comes from 20% of its procedures.
  • 80% of a practice's referrals are by 20% of its patients.

It's amazing how this rule applies to so much more in our lives. We are pretty sure that 80% of the time we listen to only 20% of the music in our iTunes library. And on our iPhones, we likely use 20% of our apps 80% of the time.

So where are we going with this? On a personal level, last year we, the Madow Brothers, realized that we were spending our time with too much "busy work." We got bogged down answering emails, putting out fires, dealing with interruptions, and getting involved with mundane tasks that could have been delegated to others. About 80% of our time was being wasted with crap that we did not want or need to do. Oh sure, our days were generally full and we were stressed. We were busy "worker bees."

“All we can say is, since getting rid of 80% of the stuff that we could get rid of, a whole new world has opened up to us.”

So we decided we would eliminate, automate, or delegate everything that we possibly could, freeing up our days to do only what we wanted to do and what we loved to do. We started to believe even more strongly in our talented team and even a hired virtual assistant to do things that didn't need to be done onsite.

Most important, we also became experts in saying the word "no."

What happened? Our days totally freed up, and we only work at the highest level. Anything that can be delegated is delegated. We work smarter, not harder. Just applying this principle has changed our lives. And guess what? Our business is doing better than ever! It is truly amazing what happened and how fast it happened.

Now is the time to apply the 80/20 rule to your practice. It may mean different things to different people. Some of you may want to get rid of some of the procedures that you hate and are not profitable. Others may want to fire the low-level patients that only bring pain and aggravation. Maybe you want to commit to doing only the things you love and delegating everything else.

It's possible you simply have too much "junk" in your life that is not allowing you to move forward. All we can say is, since getting rid of 80% of the stuff that we could get rid of, a whole new world has opened up to us. Using this principle, we know that only 20% of you will take advantage of this advice. Please let it be you.

In 1989, Richard H. Madow, DDS, and David M. Madow, DDS, founded The Madow Brothers with the goal of helping their fellow dentists achieve success and happiness in their practices. For more information about their e-letters, audio series, New Patient Mail marketing program, Dental Powerhouse group, their live presentations (including "How To Love Dentistry, Have Fun, and Prosper," "The Ultimate Dental Boot Camp," and especially "TBSE"), and more, check them out at

The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.

Page 1 of 505
Next Page