“Successful organizing is based on the recognition that people get organized because they, too, have a vision.” ~ Paul Wellstone
Think back to the time blocking section from the first week. We are now going to start time blocking for your clients.
Even if you don’t have a single client yet, start thinking now about when you will be available to see clients. If at all possible, try to maintain somewhat consistent business days and hours to work within. This will keep you from overbooking yourself and burning out (and yes, you will get busy enough that this will be a real concern!).
Also your clients will come to know what to expect from you as far as availability. You can adjust as you discover the days and times that fit best for you and your clients, but start with a plan.
Answer the questions below:
- What days will I see clients?
- How many clients will I see in an average day?
- How many clients will I see in an average week?
- Between what times will you see clients during those days? You may want to vary it up and work a few days and a few evenings
Time between sessions
You always want to set your foundation to be as functional with 30 clients as it is with two. Even if you only have a few clients now, or maybe haven’t got your first one, ask yourself how much time you need to write your case notes and regroup to go into your next session.
This number varies hugely between therapists – some need 10min, 15min, 30min or up. Consider how many clients you are planning on seeing in a day, and how much of a break you would need to maintain your energy across those sessions. Remember to factor in bathroom breaks, snack breaks, time for meals and time for administration. I recommend also scheduling a slightly longer break in the middle of your day to eat and catchup on anything that has been pushed back during the day.
Answer the question – I will have ________ min between my sessions and after _______ sessions I will take a longer ______ min break.
With the answers that you have determined from above, download the time blocking template from Week 1 here –> Time Blocking Template and fill in what you imagine your ideal private practice schedule would look like. Fill in what days you will work, how many sessions on those days and what the breaks between those sessions will look like.
Does your plan seem realistic?
Having this will help you fill your practice in a more intentional way, and will give you something concrete to work with when booking your clients (even if its your first one).
Even if you don’t know where you’re going, always schedule your vacation time in advance. I recommend a minimum of one week every 3 months or 2 weeks every 6 months. It can be whatever frequency you want, but make sure you have a plan and it’s in your calendar. Therapists often find themselves burnt out and struggling because they don’t allow themselves a break. You are a better therapist when you’re refreshed and taking care of yourself. Model self-care to your clients and make sure you are taking care of yourself – even if its just a stay-cation.
Private practice is a marathon, not a sprint. Make sure you pace yourself.
Look at the next year and see when you would be able to book some time off from seeing clients to keep yourself refreshed, focused and inspired.