Running your own practice as an online therapist comes with its own set of challenges.
Sure you don’t have to choose between your love for therapy and love for your family (or travel) anymore, but it can get lonely. Not only are you a therapist listening to others and helping them navigate their problems, you’re a business owner. Self-care takes on a whole new meaning.
We trust that you know how to take a day off and golf or get a pedicure, so instead of giving you a “pampering list” we’ve rounded up five effective ways to staying engaged and productive as a therapist who runs their own online practice for the long haul:
SCHEDULE TIME FOR BEHIND THE SCENES TASKS
Filing, sending emails, staying on top of insurance (if you accept it), keeping up with your CEs can pile up. A lot of therapists have found that setting aside time to knock out these mundane tasks gives them peace of mind. Instead of trying to fit it in “here and there” you can have confidence knowing you’ve scheduled time to care for your business.
You might want to schedule this first thing every morning so that you know everything is taken care of before you get on your first call. You might be someone who wants to dedicate one afternoon a week to these tasks. Either way, your brain-space and self-care meter will thank you for SCHEDULING the admin time (or hiring a virtual assistant).
QUESTION: if I look at your calendar will I find dedicated time to the business-side of your practice?!
LEAVE BUMPER ROOM BETWEEN SESSIONS
Ever feel emotionally drained when you get to the end of your sessions?! Like making dinner is even too much to ask, forget helping your kids with homework?!
There’s nothing wrong with going from session to session to session. But making sure you end one session on time so you can start the next session on time can be emotionally draining. Scheduling bumper room between your sessions could be all it takes for you to get to the end of the day and with enough energy to be the family person you want to be.
Even if it’s just 15 minutes between sessions that would be enough for you to grab a cup of tea or move through three yoga poses. Space for you could even mean forward planning your sessions so you do all your session at the beginning of the day, and knock out some admin work before stepping back into your personal life. Space means different things for each person. You can do this!
Not only will your sanity benefit but so will the service and attention that you’ll be able to give your clients. Adding 15 minutes between sessions might feel like it’s gonna add up to a lot of the end of the day, but how would it feel to get to the end of the day and not feel miserable as you walk into your kitchen to make dinner?!
QUESTION: How can I schedule my calls so I’m able to show up to my personal life in a way that make me proud even after a long day of sessions?
SPEND TIME WITH LIKEMINDED PEOPLE WHO LISTEN TO YOU
Let me guess, you work from home! It’s great, isn’t it?! But it can also get VERY lonely – I know. Whether networking or scheduling a coffee date, it’s important to be intentional about spending time with like-minded people who are willing to listen. Consider booking a flight to visit a friend that really gets you or a scheduling a standing phone call to chat about life with someone you trust.
You spend most of your time listening to people. It’s okay – healthy even – for you to talk to someone who listens to you. That doesn’t mean you need to schedule a professional therapy session for yourself (although that might not be a bad idea), but it does mean you need to make sure you’re living your life, voicing to your feelings, and not losing your humanity to your work. Afterall, you’re a human serving humans!
QUESTION: Who do I (can I) talk to weekly just about life?
GIVE YOURSELF OFFICE HOURS
Ever feel like you’re eternally accessible?! You control that. Office hours are like boundaries in the relationship, while a lot of people think boundaries are for the people you’re in relationship with they’re really for YOU. To tell you when someone has gone too far or you’re giving too much. Boundaries are to help you protect what’s important to you.
If you feel drained by continually answering emails and picking up phone calls give yourself dedicated office hours. “Between this time and this time, on these days I can schedule calls. For this many hours a week I commit to knock out the admin side of my business.” Protect your business and your person life by establishing office hours.
You might make an exception now and again to schedule session outside of these hours, the hours might even shift week-to-week, but you’re giving yourself a structure to work within more often than not. Sound good?!
QUESTION: What are my dedicated office hours?
SET UP A DESK FOR YOURSELF
A desk can mean a lot of things but at the end of the day is a designated space where you work. Somedays that looks like a coffee shop for me. Other days it’s my balcony. Some afternoons it’s the library. Once upon a time I even had a legit desk, no-clutter zone, lots of space, and a picture that made me smile.
I don’t think it was the space or location that made my work effective, but the mental dedication that space allowed me to enter into every time I sat down. When I show up to my desk (wherever it is) it’s to work – focus and work. Setting up a physical desk also provides a sense of official-ness and helps keep office hours (if you were inspired by the previous section).
QUESTION: Where is my designated work space?
Now that you made it to the end we’ve got two things for you:
1) We’d LOVE to hear where your designated work space is in the comments.
2) Did you know we’re in the business of simplifying the business-side of your practice?! Book yourself a call with us to see how much sanity we can save you by simplifying your practice with around the clock live support and easy streamlined payments!