Being honest doesn’t make you a failure
Being honest doesn’t make you a failure
The biggest problem for me and my clients is that we never seem to have enough time.
April 26, 2018

By Hayley Robins, Senior Accountant at Hive Business

The biggest problem for me and my clients is that we never seem to have enough time. People usually still use the work-life split as a way to think about it, but I’m not sure that division really exists anymore.

I answer work calls in the evenings, and I check my emails all the time. Everyone I know does too and I’m pretty sure this is normal, at least it is to most of us at Hive.

The career coach and blogger Penelope Trunk agrees there isn’t a work-life split anymore, and she suggests a raft of new dichotomies, including engaged versus unengaged time. People don’t mind working long hours as long as they’re engaged in what they’re doing, but if you’re constantly unengaged in your work you quickly become miserable.

The most obvious way this split works for dentists is clinical and business work. The right ratio for you depends on which one of the following categories you fall into:

1. Dentist who happens to be a business owner

2. Business owner who happens to be a dentist

Be honest with yourself, does dentistry or business come first? And which one bores you to tears? You can improve your life and your business by becoming more aware of this division. Start by splitting your day between engaged and unengaged activities — go through all the things you do and label them.

Just writing this down might be helpful, because we often apply ourselves to our work in a dogged fashion despite — and not because of — our inclinations. Ideas of competence, duty and respectability can be reasons to ignore our misery even when, from the outside, it’s obvious that our suffering is causing the business to suffer.

Here’s an example. One of my clients had a 10-year exit plan and brought in associates to do all the clinical work. It seemed like the right move because he was building an associate led practice to sell for the maximum value, but he was miserable.

He loved clinical work, and now he wasn’t doing it anymore. He had accepted that that’s the way it goes, misery was the price for expanding, showing the market he was successful and driving up value. But there was another way: he could get rid of the associates and go back into full-time clinical work alone.

Yes, the exit value would suffer but he’d earn far more in fees over the 10 years to offset that, and he’d be much happier. No doubt he would live longer too. This hadn’t been at all obvious to him before he conceptualised his time differently.

So try it. At the very least it will show you where you might benefit from telling other colleagues when you are doing boring activities in order to bring the level of accountability you need to follow through.

When our business adviser Dan sits on our clients’ boards they are essentially paying to be held accountable, which might sound slightly mad, but it works. So what disengages you? Whatever it is, label it — it doesn’t make you a failure, but ignoring it just might.

If you find yourself questioning, “why am I doing this again?”  please get in touch on 01872 300232 or email us at

The information contained in this article is based on the opinion of Hive Business and does not constitute formal tax advice. Any tax outcomes will be based on individual circumstances, tax legislation and regulation, which are subject to change in the future. You should seek specific advice before embarking on any course of action. Hive Business does not provide regulated Financial Advice, including advice on investment, insurance or lending products or their suitability for you. This article is provided for information only and does not constitute, and should not be interpreted as, investment advice or a recommendation to buy, sell or otherwise transact, or not transact, in any investment including Bitcoin and other crypto. Any use you wish to make of any information contained within this article is, therefore, entirely at your own risk.

By Hayley Robins ACA Accountancy Director
If you have any questions or comments about this article, please get in touch.
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