Optician Survival Tips

It seems that pretty much everywhere you go, there is a staff shortage. From the grocery stores, the restaurants, the movies, and especially within any medical field. It’s no surprise that the last two years we all would have to adapt to change, but I’ve found there are times everything starts to get overwhelming when it hits closer to home. So we learn to adapt. We learn to keep pushing ourselves to do better, be better.

First, make two weekly goals

One thing that has helped me tremendously is going into each work week outlining two major goals that I have to accomplished before the end of the week. I know it sounds silly, but this helps make sure I stay on task and keeps me moving forward. Of course this is on top of our normal daily routines running the optical department. Sometimes when I see a laundry list of things that need to get addressed I immediately want to shutting down. So instead now to get started I look at the first task with the highest priority. This helps me jump into the day and stay focused.

Second, grab your Sticky Notes

Being in optical you have to wear many hats and be able to switch gears quick while remembering where you left off with the other task. Sticky notes quickly become your best friend. It helps to just jot down a note real quick, if I’m in the middle of submitting a job and then a walk in comes in, while the phone rings for a contact order. We have all been there. It’s a never ending juggling act and it’s what makes us so much stronger.

Third, start your morning off right

Get that morning playlist squared away for your commute to get you in the right frame of mind. We all have some songs in our personal playlists that are our go to pump up songs. Sometimes I find motivational Ted talks helps as well. I highly suggest you do whatever you need to do, to get you in the right frame of mind to give it your all for each patient you work with. That person walking in the door or on the phone CHOSE to come to your place of business. Give them that WOW experience that they deserve. Actively listen to what their needs are and utilize your knowledge to get them what they are needing. You make the choice to keep pushing yourself to be better than your best version of yourself thus far. I’ve tried out different methods of getting into a routine to figure out what’s going to work best for the business and myself when we are short handed.

Fourth, rotation of priority aspects in hour and a half segments

This will help you touching each task every day to keep a good flow moving. The way it works is, in between each patient here for optical, I spend my free moments for an hour and a half submitting orders. Then I switch the next hour and a half in between patients, to checking in jobs and calling in to the lab orders that don’t pass my final inspection. I quickly switch back to submitting jobs in between patients because we don’t want to further delay the turn around time. The next rotation is checking in inventory. Let’s not forget we are still washing frames so constantly making sure those boards look pristine. Some of these tasks you may only get two minutes in before your interrupted again for a walk-in adjustment or style. Having a rotation has kept the weight of everything feelings less heavy. When you love what you do it makes the crazy moments worth it.

Lastly, breathe

No matter how behind you feel, just remember to breathe and as one of my mentors always reminded me, just keep swimming.

Lauren Millhollin, ABOC, NCLE

Article written by Lauren Millhollin, ABOC, NCLE

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