As I have begun to build my practice this past year, something that is clear, and I’m sure resonates with everyone here, is the time commitment and mental energy that goes into it. From figuring out the best practice name, to figuring out what systems to put into place, it requires a lot of work. Many people start a practice after leaving an agency or another full-time job and this in itself can be terrifying. Among the midst of building your practice, you need to remember the reason why you are leaving the full-time job. For many it’s sense of freedom, wanting to be present with your kids and family, and wanting more independence.
So how do you do this while still giving it your all in your practice, first it’s a matter of slowing down and really understanding your why for all of this.
- Why did you leave your full-time job?
- Who is supporting you during this transition?
- Why do you want to succeed?
The answers to these questions will help you feel grounded and give you a reason as to why you need to set boundaries for yourself.
Here is how I have set boundaries for myself:
- Wake up every day with the intention of working when my husband is at work
- At my full-time job I wouldn’t spend the day doing laundry, cooking, or cleaning. So since I sometimes work from home. I make sure that I am not getting caught up with doing house chores.
- Something that has resonated with me from Practice of the Practice is to work the required hours that I would like to be working at the end. I don’t want to be working 40 hour weeks, so I make sure I get my work done during the week in about 30 hours.
- If you only have 3 hours during the day to get things done, avoid any distractions during that time frame. If you give yourself 8 hours to complete something, it will take you the whole 8 hours.
Again, what is going to drive you to meet these boundaries is to remember your why from the previous questions. Put a picture of your kids, your dog, your family, or that dream vacation you are working towards to visually remind you to stay motivated.
One of the hardest things for me at the beginning was turning off my brain when it was time to spend time with family. I spent all day creating different ideas, implementing new things in my systems, or thinking how I can boost my SEO, that at the end of the day, it was hard to turn that off.
Give yourself some time to mentally wind down before spending time with family.
This doesn’t have to be a long period of time, but can simply be taking a deep breath, take a walk around the neighborhood, writing all your to-dos for the next day and leave those concerns and tasks for the next day.
Another way to be strict about your boundaries, is to be strict when it comes to scheduling new clients. I know I wanted to accommodate any potential client that called, but that meant weekends and evenings. I had to remind myself why I went into private practice and had to refer some of these potential clients to other therapists who could meet their availability. This was challenging at first because I knew I could have a larger case load, but the cost was working more evenings and weekends, which I knew for myself, I needed to protect that family time.
I hope some of these tips help you out!
Priscilla Rodriguez is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who owns a private practice, Modern Wellness Counseling, in San Antonio, TX. She works with couples and individuals who are wanting to enhance their relationships and connections with others. She offers online services and an online relationship class; which couples can learn a multitude of research-based relationship skills.