Looking after yourself and your private practice
The most important part of your therapy business is YOU.
When you run a private practice, you become an expert juggler: clinical work, admin, accounts, marketing...the list is endless.
If you don’t manage your time or resources effectively you can become overwhelmed, leading to stress and, eventually, burnout. Working from home is particularly difficult, because the line between personal and professional responsibilities becomes blurred.
In this section, we look at ways to balance and manage all of your different responsibilities.
We focus specifically on clinical work in our article about managing your caseload. We also look at how you can build a support network to stay in contact with other professionals, sharing knowledge and experience, so you don’t feel alone.
Here are our top tips for the healthy private practitioner...
1. If you work from home, try to keep work and home life separate. Have a separate office, keep to set working times, and close the office door at the end of the working day. Try not to check email outside of work hours.
2. Seek advice from a good clinical supervisor or mentor. The right support is vital - both emotionally and professionally.
3. Work out what you’re not good at, then get help. If you hate accounts, get a bookkeeper. If you’re overwhelmed by paperwork, employ an assistant. The right help will repay any investment several times over, and you’ll be free to concentrate on what you’re good at.
4. Don’t overbook yourself. Allow time in your schedule for reflection and planning. You won’t regret it.
5. Create a job description for yourself, just as you would for an employee. List all of your daily, weekly, and monthly tasks. Prioritise the most important tasks, so that you don’t waste time on unproductive activities.
6. At the beginning of the week, create a plan for the week. Once you have scheduled your clinical work, allow time for admin and other projects. Make sure you give yourself enough time for breaks and relaxation.
7. Learn how to say no. There’ll be lots of demands on your time. Often, as a new practitioner, you’ll feel like you have to say yes to everything - taking on difficult clients, providing free consultations, attending meetings or workshops that bring no benefit to your private practice, and so on. Doing this all the time will only lead to you becoming overwhelmed.
8. Don’t procrastinate. It’s so easy, especially when working from home, to become distracted. You may find yourself checking Twitter every ten minutes, or putting off an important task until the last minute. Try to avoid this by giving yourself a clear schedule of tasks, working to set times, and having regular, allocated breaks.