This content is provided by Brighter Vision, an affinity partner of AAMFT. This information is not necessarily the views of AAMFT and should not be interpreted as official policy.
Time Is Money. You have probably heard this phrase before, but these words become exceptionally relatable when it comes to opening and growing your private practice.
A day in the life of operating a private practice consists of a wide variety of jobs. As a private practice owner, you wear many different hats, from seeing patients to handling billing and marketing your business, it can quickly get very hectic and overwhelming. With so much to be done and only so much time to do it, your time really is money!
In this blog post, we're going to walk you through our top time management tips so that you can spend your time focusing on what's most important - making a more significant impact in your community and growing your practice.
Don’t Take on Too Much
There is always so much to do. And as a driven clinician, you may be tempted to take it all on yourself. But, to maintain a balanced life and avoid burnout, you mustn't be taking on too much. The added stress of doing this will only overwhelm you.
Not taking on too many things at once allows you to direct your focus on the more important tasks and help you be more productive overall.
Before starting a new task, you should always begin by considering the final result. Have a clear target to hit, outline the appropriate steps you need to take to complete the task, and focus on doing the most important things first.
Once you have determined which responsibilities are most important, you can dedicate particular times to handle each item on your to-do list (e.g., when to answer emails, make phone calls, fill out reports, etc.). Blocking out time in your day to focus on specific tasks can help you be much more productive overall.
When it is time to dive into a scheduled task, cut out any unnecessary distractions. Try to minimize potential disturbances ahead of time, especially when it comes to something else you'd rather be doing, but that isn't going to help you complete the task at hand. For example:
- Close all tabs on your computer except the ones you'll need for the task at hand.
- Shut your office door.
- Set your phone to do-not-disturb.
You likely already do all of these things when you are in session with a client. Carry those in session practices over to everything else on your schedule as well.
Delegate Tasks Out
With so much that goes into keeping a therapy practice up and running, it's also important to remember to ask for help. There are tons of resources available to help you achieve success in your business. Delegating tasks out to employees, technology, or even family members can save tons of time.
When you delegate specific tasks to others, you become free to focus on higher-value activities and use your time more productively. We understand that it can be nerve-racking trusting others with important tasks, but when you delegate appropriate tasks, you can trust that others might have more time to dedicate to that task, helping you in the long run.
Here are some of our top suggestions on how you can delegate everyday tasks:
Hire a Virtual Assistant
Hiring a virtual assistant for your private practice is one of the quickest ways to reclaim time in your schedule.
Virtual assistants (or VAs) are completely remote administrative assistants, many of whom even specialize in helping mental health clinicians. While hiring any employee is an investment, you would be amazed at how a VA can help complete all of the crucial tasks in your day – from calling back no-show clients to logging your session notes and even assisting with billing.
If you don't have the resources to hire a full-time Virtual Assistant, there are now companies that offer similar services as a subscription. Therapist Admin is one solution that provides administrative assistance for a reasonable monthly rate.
Get a Bookkeeper
We all know handling your practice's financial side can get confusing and frustrating and take up a lot of your time. Luckily, tons of tools can help take the stress and time out of your practice's financial planning. One of our favorite tools for online bookkeeping and tax help is Wellness Fi.
Wellness Fi can help you keep track of your finances, help with your taxes, and give you suggestions to help save your practice more money. Hiring a bookkeeping service ultimately saves you TONS of time and money in the long run.
Outsource Your Insurance Billing
Something we often hear from our clients is how confusing insurance and insurance billing is. Trying to figure out the ins and outs of how medical billing works can take tons of time and is not an easy task. That is why we suggest outsourcing your medical billing. One company we like to use is Greenpoint Med.
Greenpoint Med focuses on billing for behavioral health services and is experts in billing for mental health, reimbursement, and overall compliance. Their billing services were designed to ensure you collect maximum value from your insurance claims, while also saving you hours from dealing with the insurance madness.
Hire Someone to Build & Maintain Your Website
These days, having a website is essential to the success of your practice. It’s how your clients will find you, where they’ll learn more about how you can help them, and ideally, where they will go to schedule a session with you.
For those in the mental health field, a website can often appear more of a burden than a fundamental marketing tool. Having a website can seem overwhelming, and creating one on your own can be extremely challenging, not to mention the ongoing up-keep a good website needs to stay relevant. Add in concerns such as potentially exposing private information, advertising sensitive issues, and knowing what it takes to ensure you comply with all HIPAA rules and regulations, and suddenly having a website feels like way too big of a headache.
While these concerns are legitimate, they are nothing an experienced web developer who is intimately familiar with the mental health industry can't handle. Hiring someone to develop and maintain your website can help push your online business in the right direction and save you a lot of time in the long run.
Find Ways to Automate Processes
Technology, while sometimes is a massive pain in the butt, can also be a saving grace. There are hundreds of different platforms that you can use to automate various everyday tasks. That way, you can focus your time dealing with more important things.
One thing you should be utilizing is a scheduling automation tool. Online scheduling on your website can help take out the tedious and frustrating phone tag you often get caught playing with clients. Avoid the ongoing back and forth, and let your clients book whenever they want to, even at 2 AM.
Some of our favorite online scheduling tools are:
If you are interested in taking a deeper dive into these practice management solutions, check out our past blog post: Top 5 Practice Management Solutions for Therapists in 2020.
Another task you can easily automate is to set up email templates for emails you send out frequently. Whether that is new client emails, confirmation emails, reminder emails, or anything else, you can set up a template. That way, you never have to waste time re-writing the same information repeatedly.
Automate your social media and blog. Marketing is essential to attracting new clients and growing your practice, but often when things get busy, marketing is put on the backburner. Understandably, marketing can feel overwhelming. A lot goes into keeping up with your marketing efforts, especially when it comes to your social media pages and blog.
That is why Social Genie can be a big help. With Social Genie, you can set aside time once a week or even a month and schedule out all of your social media posts and blog posts for that month or week in just minutes. Once scheduled, they will post on their own, and you can focus on more important things.
Ready to see how Social Genie can help you automate your content marketing?
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Honestly, tons of other automation features can help you complete everyday tasks. Too many to even list. I highly suggest looking into any automation features your EHR might have that you might not be aware of yet. Most EHR tools come with a wide variety of different features that can help you save time every single day.
If you are currently utilizing an EHR tool, here are some of our favorites to look into:
Overall, the biggest takeaway here is to make sure you take the time to take care of yourself. Burnout and stress are far too common for clinicians. It doesn't matter if everything else is in place. If you are not taking care of yourself, you won't make it.
Be realistic with your time. Too often, we see clinicians underestimating how much downtime they need. Make sure you know how many clients you can see back-to-back. Make sure you are setting aside a proper amount of time to focus on yourself. The best helpers can adequately help themselves, and with these tools, we hope you can save time, stress, and energy and ultimately help you become the clinician you can be.
Brighter Vision is a preferred vendor of AAMFT, specializing in making marketing simple for private practices. Their all-inclusive website design service helps therapists grow their practices with a variety of marketing tools and resources. All members receive their entire first year of a new website with Brighter Vision for only $49/month plus no setup fees; that’s a savings of $220. To take advantage of this offer, please click here.