If you’re in private practice, you know it takes a lot of energy to manage, track and do #allthethings! It can be overwhelming to say the least. That is EXACTLY why clinicians need a therapist planner - not just to keep everything organized but as a tool that helps you grow your dream private practice step-by-step. After all, successful practices don't happen by accident! Your passion + plans creates a profitable and sustainable practice....So let’s talk about how to use your therapist planner to put those steps into place!
You might be thinking, What exactly is a therapist planner? That answer will vary from therapist to therapist, but here’s The Primed Practice definition, in a nutshell: A therapist planner is a repository (a journal, notebook, planner or online tool) for outlining a clear roadmap to achieving your goals. A great therapist planner will help you this break these goals down into actionable steps while helping you stay aligned with your values so you achieve authentic, long term success! Essentially, a therapist planner is your business plan and action plan in one place! I created The Primed Planner around the idea that every practice owner needs a tangible framework for approaching goals one step at a time. Big results happen when we take consistent, small steps towards the goal. And because my passion focuses on clinicians in private practice (I'm with y'all on this as a practice owner myself), the planner I created engages you in week-to-week and month-to-month practices geared to your unique needs (including networking, marketing and the business side of private practice as well as self-care)! So, whether you jump into your planning with The Primed Planner or a system all your own, be sure your system addresses each of the following questions:
How Do I Set Goals That I Can Actually Accomplish?
It’s awesome to set lofty goals for yourself. Big goals are good, and they are necessary for expanding your sense of possibility and growth. But if you don’t break those big goals down into smaller steps, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment.
A planner that is organized by quarter (and that includes full weekly spreads) is the ideal place for breaking big goals into actionable steps that build on one another. With this building-block method, your planner becomes a business plan, with yearly goals preceded by quarterly goals, monthly goals, and even weekly goals that correspond to that final measure of success.
And here’s something else to consider: perseverance is important, but so is flexibility! Regularly checking in with your overall annual goal plan gives you the opportunity to reflect on your progress and change direction if things aren’t going as planned. Be flexible - like your GPS when it recalculates after a "wrong" turn!
How Do I Hold Myself Accountable To My Goals?
Be specific and start small! When I completed my MBA, it really drove home the idea that big things are accomplished by tackling small tasks consistently. Tasks that we clinicians sometimes want to shy away from (or avoid all together) — like phone calls to other providers, networking emails, or investing business-focused time blocks on your calendar really DO matter, and shouldn’t be put off. These small actions are how you lay the groundwork for a successful practice. So, hold yourself accountable by using your therapist planner to build these fundamental things into your week. For example, start each Monday morning by calling a potential referral sources and end each week by sending a follow-up email to past clients you haven’t heard from in a while. The great thing about these goals is that they are easy to plan for and easy to check off once you’ve completed them. Sometimes, accountability is as easy as checking an item off of your list! (And who doesn't love checking items off the list)!?
How Do I Stick With It?
Daily goals. Weekly goals. Monthly goals. Quarterly goals. Yearly goals. That’s a whole lot of goal setting! So, how do you stick with it without feeling burdened, overwhelmed, or resentful?
First, all those small goals actually make it easier to accomplish the bigger goals and less likely that you’ll give up before you get there. Why? Because smaller goals are easier to accomplish. Keep checking items off your list, and before you know if you've met a major goal. That’s motivating. And motivation is key to your success. Small action items should support and roll-up into supporting your bigger goals.
Second, it IS possible to make goal-setting fun! The Primed Planner uses stickers and fun layouts, as well as opportunities for self-reflection and scheduled self-care. Yes, your planner is part of your business plan, but it’s also a play space, a creative engine, and a dream journal! So, dream BIG and often! Ideally, set aside an hour per week to plan for, time block and prep the upcoming week.
How Do I Avoid Burnout?
A big part of being intentional (or what I like to call planful) is taking care of yourself. To do that, you need a regular way of checking in with your own energy. Your planner should include built-in reminders to schedule self-care, whether that’s a reminder to schedule a massage, have dinner with a friend, or simply take a night off of work. By taking care of yourself, you not only avoid burnout but also avoid negative therapeutic outcomes for your patients.
A therapist planner, you see, is much more than a datebook. It’s a container for your goals, a vision board for your dreams, and a place to reflect on your accomplishments.
Try out the The Primed Planner today, or get started on a planner of your own. Either way, BEGIN!
Get your practice PRIMED and turn your passion into a profitable practice!