2020 | The Year of Finding a Work-Life Balance
2020 certainly had other plans for the world. For many, it gave us the reality check we never knew we needed. People lost their jobs, worked less, or suddenly found themselves working from home. As a clinician, you probably found yourself inundated with new referrals as your practice filled up. There’s no denying that this was a shock to the system. Perhaps it has meant taking a step back and transitioning to a better work-life balance where you’re more in control. If you’re nodding your head, you could already be in the process of finding a better work-life balance? Or you’ve taken the plunge but still figuring everything out?
Regardless of where you are in the process, here are 3 simple steps to help you transition to a better work-life balance.
1. As a Private Practice Owner Prioritize a Work-Life Balance
To start, having a well-balanced work-life balance is about prioritizing what’s important at any given time. So during your workday, prioritize assigned tasks with responsibility and complete sincerity. This allows you to enjoy personal time with friends and family once you’ve left work. If you try to mix both at once it can lead to a social and time imbalance.
Another important thing to note is reminding yourself why you transitioned to a better work-life balance. In most instances, it’s because you neglected your family, or put your own needs last. Perhaps you gave your all at work, only to return home to be a shell of your former self?. Write down your goals, and why you’ve made this conscious decision. Hang it up in your office or set it as a reminder on your phone to help you when it comes to prioritizing.
Here are a few tips to help you prioritize and find a work-life balance:
Write down the 3 most important things that you need to get done for the next day – before you go to sleep. This helps focus your brain and stop you from feeling overwhelmed as you lie in bed anticipating – or dreading – your next day. You should also take a listen to Dr. Robert Moss’s Practice of the Practice Podcast Episode 494 as he shares the steps he took to find a better work-life balance and make his practice work better for him.
Assign Days to Specific Tasks
Set aside days to deal with certain topics or work processes. For example, make Monday’s administrative day, or Tuesday’s training days if you’ve recently onboarded new clinicians to your group practice. By assigning days to specific tasks and sticking to this structure, you’ll feel far less overwhelmed and better prepared for each week. Your staff will also work more effectively as there is a clear structure in place and expectations can be better managed.
If you see clients virtually, it’s a good idea to create a room in your home where you go just to work. As tempting as it may be to take your laptop into bed and respond to emails, prioritize spaces in your home according to their specific function. Your office is strictly off-limits for the kids, just like the dinner table is off-limits to your cellphone and opening of emails.
2. Time Management for Your Private Practice
Prioritizing and time management go hand-in-hand when it comes to establishing a better work-life balance. Just ask Alex Sanfilippo who gave his top tips on how you should manage time in your business.
Write an Inventory
Alex recommends writing everything down that you do in a day. Start with how long you’re sleeping, because if you’re not sleeping right then you can’t manage the rest of your time well or be fully productive. Document how long it takes you to eat breakfast, or how long you spend working out. Look for areas where you can be more efficient with your time. Time management comes down to intention. If you don’t have intention with what you’re doing, you’re just seeing what happens and letting it happen, which isn’t optimal if you want to find a better work-life balance.
Learn to Say “No”
You probably tell your clients this, but we all know how hard it is to be okay with telling people “no.” Whether it be “not right now” to a colleague who wants to chat, or telling a client that they cannot see you at a certain time, or saying “no” to friends who’ve invited you out. Just because it may be the right moment for someone else, it doesn’t mean that it’s the right moment for you as well. For more information on how you can manage your time better in-session, take a listen to Joe Sanok’s Q&A on time management in your private practice which formed part of Next Level Practice.
The key to a better work-life balance is knowing when to ask for help. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by how many clients you have, or if you’re trying to be the clinician, marketer, receptionist, and accounts person, perhaps it’s time to outsource some of these roles or delegate? There is much help out there, and just like you’re a professional when it comes to mental health, there are professionals who can help you in effectively running your private practice – which is a business too. If you’re still not fully convinced, we’d suggest reading Cristina Castagnini’s article on why “Outsourcing is a Must”.
Transitioning to a better work-life balance is difficult in that it is not an exact science. It also constantly evolves as new circumstances arise. So be prepared to relook your setup every few months or so. Remember that the transition can also be gradual, but if you implement the above steps, you’re already on your way to a healthier, more balanced you.
Get More Support for Building, Growing, and Scaling Your Private Practice
Here at Practice of the Practice, we know that it is hard to find this magical work-life balance when you are building a private practice. Our team has a way of supporting you as you embark on this journey, find out more about membership community for Next Level Practice here. If you’re further along in your private practice journey, our team offers a variety of other support for practice owners as well.