We talked recently on the podcast about the different ways that entrepreneurs and employees burnout: All Kinds of Burned Out. We weren’t able to go deeper into some solutions, so I thought I would dig in on one of the most important things that creates a sustainable career: a manageable schedule.
If you’re ready to get a handle on your therapy career, do these things:
Define your work schedule.
If you’re an employee, there’s a good chance that most of this is managed for you, but make sure that it is fully defined, and that your expectations are clear. For entrepreneurs, you have a blank canvas upon which to create your schedule, so this task is even more critical (and more challenging) than you might imagine.
Make sure before you get on with the business of therapy, answer these questions:
- When does your workday start?
- When does your workday end?
- What qualifies as work? (this one is mostly important for entrepreneurs, but those of you in agencies… remember that venting with your colleagues doesn’t actually qualify as work 😉)
- How many hours will I be working each week (if all goes well)?
- How many clients will I see? (Related: What is my productivity or income needs?)
- What other types of activities do I need to complete during my work week?
Structure your work schedule strategically.
Now that you have the basic parameters of your schedule, it is time to put the puzzle pieces into your work week. I’ve written about this in a ton of different articles, but here are some basics that you’ll want to consider:
- Batching or time-blocking. You want to minimize task-switching, if you can. When you change your focus, you lose momentum and things take a lot longer to accomplish.
- Putting in buffers and breaks. Make sure you have time in between activities to re-charge, change gears, manage unexpected crises, and park your car. When you rush, if you’re like me, you have more anxiety and adrenaline that can easily be avoided if you allot enough time for the task and have a buffer in between.
- Timing your activities to your motivation and energy levels. This is one that many people struggle with. I know I sound like a broken record, but please take a peek at the book When by Daniel Pink. It gives you ideas about how to maximize our energy and motivation by framing and timing your activities appropriately.
Hold to your work schedule.
This is a challenge no matter who is your boss. Whether you are putting clients in or your supervisors are adding meetings, it is important to set some boundaries and hold firm on your work schedule. Squeezing things in or consistently extending your workday can lead to exhaustion and burnout. If you have too much to do and too little downtime – good luck taking care of yourself or processing your vicarious trauma or keeping in touch with your family and friends.
How do you manage your schedule? Join us in The Modern Therapists Group to talk about your ideas, your struggles, and your successes.