Independent practice means that we have schedules to keep and expectations from clients to meet. How you keep your schedule, whether yours is online or with a paper date book, is largely a matter of personal preference. How we balance, manage and juggle that same schedule however might well be considered an art form. Different types of practices require different scheduling expectations but the art is still the same; how to get it all done in the time allotted.
Each type of method has its own advantages as well as disadvantages. Let’s go through a quick run down of what those might be. Any computer based or electronic based system requires the system to be working and have power to do that with. When the power goes out, you’re flat out of luck unless you’ve memorized your schedule and tasks or printed them up in advance. A paper system requires you to have the paper, date book or scrap you may have written it down on, in front of you to know what you’re available for. Both types of systems require you put everything down in them. Didn’t put Aunt Lori’s birthday in and find yourself now booked for both a family gathering and client meeting? That’s no fun!
Its best to get in and stay on top of a habit of putting events, meetings, dates into your preferred method as soon as they come up. Long-standing or yearly events can be programmed in once a year on electronic options and carried over (carefully!) when you switch paper methods. I have one friend’s birthday that moves each year because I keep putting it in my book each year a wee bit off…a day before, a day after but rarely for some reason on the correct date! Not so cool!
In order to truly Thrive we also need to be careful to schedule ourselves down time and vacation time. You’ve heard me about vacation time and you’ll hear me again on that topic but down time to do the things that are important to you on a daily, weekly or monthly basis is just as critical. One of the advantages of an Independent Practice is that it is your practice ~ you get to decide what’s important to you!
While Independent Practices still generally mean you are charging for your time it does not mean you need to be available every day of the week at all hours! A starting out Independent Practitioner I was recently talking with was upset that she didn’t have time to do her own workouts since she was so busy scheduling appointments which worked for her clients and not for her. Our clients have their own schedules and own priorities. I strongly suspect if given all the choices in the world our clients would rather see us in just about any other time slot than what we have available! Like any number of other instances we find ourselves in this is one of the times where setting boundaries and limits is a really good idea. Don’t like to work at 7am? Then don’t schedule someone at that time! Want to make sure you get in your own workouts? Make sure you schedule them. Put your own activities, including lunch if you need to, in your scheduler/book. Those then become as important as the meeting with the client.
What to do when a client asks for a time slot when you aren’t available? You can handle it the same way you’d handle it when they ask for a time or a deadline, which has previously been committed to, “That’s not available…how about…?” No need to apologize or make an excuse. In order to Thrive we need to know and respect our own limits.