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  • Writer's pictureEmily Weis, LPC

Mastering the Juggle: Effective Time Management for Therapists


time management for therapists

Congratulations! You've taken the exciting leap into private practice. Now you're the boss – setting your schedule, choosing your clients, and building a practice that reflects your values. But with this freedom comes a new challenge: time management.


As an independent therapist myself, I've witnessed the struggle many new therapists face – feeling overwhelmed, swamped with paperwork, and constantly behind. The good news is, with a few key strategies, you can transform your schedule from a chaotic scramble to a well-oiled machine, freeing you to focus on what truly matters – your clients.


Here are my top tips on how you can conquer your schedule and set up a flourishing private therapy practice. 


From Schedule Juggler to Scheduling Master


Setting up and maintaining an organized schedule can feel like a huge task, but remember that your calendar is your lifeline as an independent therapist – so treat it with respect!


Here are a few ideas of how you can take control of your calendar:


  • Embrace time blocking: Ditch the scattered approach. Block out dedicated time slots for specific tasks to hold yourself accountable. For example, dedicate a morning block for administrative tasks like note-taking and billing – we all know that these are the boring parts of the job, so it’s best to get them out of the way early on in the week.

  • Be smart with your scheduling: Don’t forget that there are loads of online scheduling tools out there to make things easier for you. Get an online platform that allows clients to book appointments within your designated availability for starters, this will eliminate that annoying back-and-forth of finding a mutually agreeable time.

  • Prioritize ruthlessly: Not all tasks are created equal, so don’t spend all your time working on the low-hanging fruit. Identify the tasks that move the needle forward in your practice – client sessions, marketing outreach, and supervision (if required). Schedule these tasks first and delegate or outsource less critical activities.

  • Boundaries are your friend: Just because you're your own boss doesn't mean you have to be available 24/7. Set clear boundaries with clients regarding appointment times and communication outside of sessions. Don't be afraid to say no to new clients if your schedule is full – I know none of us like to turn down clients, but it’s not worth burning yourself out.


Optimizing Client Care for Maximum Impact


Remember, time management isn't just about efficiency – it's about providing excellent care for your clients. 


When you manage your time properly, not only can you relieve some of the stress that comes with being a business owner, but you also free up your time to show up for clients in the best way possible.


Here are some of the things that I try to focus on when it comes to my clients:


  • Pre-session power prep: Before each of my sessions, I like to take 10-15 minutes to review all client files and plan discussion points. These extra minutes mean that I can be much more present and focused during the session, leading to a more productive and impactful experience for the client.

  • Goal setting and time limits: Collaborate with clients to set clear goals for each session. This keeps discussions on track and ensures you're maximizing the valuable time you have together.

  • Technology to the rescue: Use online notetaking platforms to record each session so you don’t have to worry about typing up your notes as you go. Also, it could help to automate your follow-up emails to give you one less thing to worry about when managing communication with your clients.


Self-Care: The Secret Weapon of Successful Therapists


You can't pour from an empty cup – we therapists should know that better than anyone else!


If there’s one thing I’ve learned since being a business owner, it’s that self-care isn't a luxury; it's essential for preventing burnout and maintaining your emotional well-being. 


When you are so focused on your business, it can be easy to put your personal needs at the end of the queue, but this is such a bad habit to get into.


If you think you could do with a little bit of self-care, here are some ways you can integrate it into your busy schedule:


  • Schedule self-care appointments: Treat self-care activities with the same importance as client sessions. Block out time in your calendar for exercise, hobbies, spending time with loved ones, or just sitting back on your sofa and watching your favorite show.

  • Mindfulness matters: Mindfulness techniques like meditation and deep breathing can help you manage stress and stay present in the moment, both during sessions and in your personal life. There are plenty of YouTube videos that guide you through deep breathing if this is your first time.

  • Maintain healthy boundaries: Setting clear boundaries with clients protects your personal time and prevents work from bleeding into your personal life. Communicate your availability clearly and stick to it.


Conclusion


Remember, time management is a skill that takes practice. Believe me, it took months for me just to figure out what type of calendar I wanted to set up for my clients let alone actually pencilling in time for self-care.


If you’ve just started out as an independent practitioner, don’t worry if you haven’t got it all figured out straight away – these things come with time. Experiment with different techniques, find what works best for you, and refine your approach as your practice grows. 


After you’ve figured out what works for you and you’ve successfully mastered your own time, it will become much easier to create a thriving private practice that allows you to provide exceptional care for your clients while maintaining your own well-being. 


If you need some more help getting started, I offer one-on-one coaching to therapists setting up their own practice. If you’d like to schedule an appointment with me, I’d love to hear from you! Just get in touch with me today and we’ll put something in the calendar (which is hopefully just as organized as I claim it is!)











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