Running your own business requires patience and persistence but not only that, it requires you to be great at time management and prioritization. Chances are, if you are beginning your practice you already have other means for income in another job or career. You may also be juggling family and caregiver issues. Learning how to be effective at prioritizing and time management will give you the skills to become a great therapist without you losing your cool or experiencing burnout. It is important to note that you need to establish limits and boundaries for yourself. Failure to acknowledge this can lead to high expectations and perfectionism with resultant burnout. Let’s face it, you cannot be in all places and do everything at any given time. You should give the most time to the most pressing of issues and realize that you are human. For example, I may prioritize attending a workshop over researching for my next website blog post. I have to admit, I wasn’t always the best at time management. You would think as a registered nurse I had mastered time management…but this didn’t translate to counselling in the beginning for me. I sometimes got overwhelmed with the amount of things I needed to do to market myself or expand in my practice and expertise. That’s when I started to turn towards a to-do list. I’m not a to-do list type of person in my personal life but I have used one frequently for my practice. Checking off items on my to-do list gave me a great sense of accomplishment. My to-do list is always full as I am ambitious; however, I have realized the need to put self-care first so I don’t burnout as a counsellor. I don’t berate myself if I don’t meet a deadline I’ve set for myself as tomorrow is another day. You may even use your calendar or agenda to map out some key items you’d like to accomplish that day. Another great tip is to have an effective work space in order to accomplish more. I personally use my office more as it forces me to work; whereas my home office is subject to distractions. Your ability to block out or limit distractions is essential to getting more work done. You may find it beneficial to turn off your phone and make specific time allotments to work on your career development. Give yourself more time to work on higher priorities. Time management also translates to the counselling sessions themselves. It is important that you have some time between clients, especially if some cases are emotionally draining. Having at least 10 minutes between clients allows you to prepare for the next client.
If you are still struggling with time management, I suggest seeking online resources and/or books to assist you. Remember not to overextend yourself. You need to take care of yourself so that you can effectively counsel your clients.
Andrea Cashman is a private practice counsellor who has founded Holistic Counselling Services for individual clients seeking therapy in Ottawa, ON. She also practices at the Ottawa Hospital as a registered nurse. Feel free to comment below or contact her at [email protected] or visit her website at www.holisticcounsellingservices.ca
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA