Well, I have officially made it through my first week in full-time private practice! It felt so odd to say to people that I was my own boss. It felt even weirder to not have to go to one facility (my full-time job) for 40 hours/week. It felt totally different for me to JUST do my practice and not juggle it with my full-time gig. I would see clients here or there and chunk everything I needed to follow-up on (insurance claims, billing, etc) on my days off. It felt good to just focus my time and energy on my practice for once.
I was lucky to have an intern with me for my first week. She was with me during my full-time job and still has 2 weeks left to go during her dietetic internship. I love having interns; however, I especially loved having this one since she was able to be apart of my transition to full-time private practice (also, she’s pretty awesome). Since I work out of my home, there was always the want to stop what I was doing to do the dishes or various house chores. I felt like having an intern with me really pushed me to be productive in the hours of the day that she was there. Once she moves on to her clinical rotation, I am planning to translate this type of work schedule into my own. I want to set up “hours” I am working and really stick to it. Everything else can wait!
After my first week, I started to think more on what kind of schedule I wanted to build for myself. While I don’t have an exact plan just yet, I do know that I want to keep 3-4 days of clients/classes and at least one full day dedicated to insurance calls and office type work. I already know the days that I see clients back-to-back that I don’t get much else done on the back end of things.
One huge thing I realized this week is just how much my email/notifications are distractions! Every time my phone went off, I checked the email in case I needed to respond. This was a huge concentration breaker. I took some advice from friends/family/books and set aside windows of time where I would answer emails. Usually, I check email in the AM, mid-day, and at night (7pm or so). I want to cut this back to twice per day instead. I find I am way more productive if I focus on one task at a time instead of just switching back and forth. This has been harder to stick with than I thought, but turning my sound off on my phone really helped!
One last thing I learned from my first week was that I needed to prioritize and not overbook myself. I would stick 15-20 items on my list to do for the day and only end up getting to maybe 10-15 of them. I would never know how long I would be on hold with an insurance company for a claim status, or what questions my intern would ask, or what phone calls came in. Though I would get a lot accomplished, I still was bummed I couldn’t do EVERYTHING. Honestly, that is so unrealistic! Not only am I putting undue pressure on myself, but I am also making my daily goals ones that I know I won’t reach. For this week, I decided to make a priority list and a to-do list. My goal was to complete the priority list and if possible do 1-2 items on the to-do list. This was way more manageable and I felt more accomplished at the end of the day.
I have been keeping a journal of everything I have learned thus far, so each week I will share with you my tips, tricks, slip-ups, and more!