Another homeopath recently asked me:
“How do you manage your time? You seem to find time to get so much done! You work on your business as well as in your business. How do you do it?”
A friend once commented that I seem to have an extra day in my week. I wish I did! That would be lovely!
It’s true that I’m always trying to get the most out of my time. I’m aware of all the ways I can waste my time, and recently I’ve been making a note of how long things take. That has helped a lot.
But if there was just one thing that made a difference, it’s this …
…I only see homeopathy clients two days per week.
Yes, just two.
I have 4 clinic hours on a Monday evening and 8 clinic hours on a Tuesday daytime/evening and that’s all.
I start every week with my ‘people’ days. I’m refreshed after the weekend and it’s the most important part of my week and I want to be at my best. While I’m at clinic I get into the flow of work. I set up my room with everything I need so it’s easy to dispense homeopathic remedies and homeobotanicals. I put up a small display of Neal’s Yard products and catalogues.
Maybe I can guess what you’re thinking:
- ‘What if someone can’t make it on a Monday or Tuesday?’ That has never happened, but if it did I would refer them on to someone else.
- ‘What if someone wants to come on a Saturday?’ As I work evenings, most people are happy to come after work.
- ‘What if someone wants an appointment as soon as possible?’ If they contact me Wednesday onwards, I offer to book them in for the following week. Usually, they’re just fine with that.
- ‘Isn’t it tiring to see so many clients in just two days?’ Not really. I make sure I eat well and sleep well the day before. I have a long break in the afternoon, and I can nap if I need to.
A simple schedule
8am – 10am: Mentoring
11am – 12noon: Email
12noon – 1pm: Lunch
1pm – 2pm: Prepare for clinic
3pm – 8.30pm: Clinic
8am – 10am: Mentoring
11am – 8.30pm: Clinic
10am – 1pm: Prepare for post
1pm – 3pm: File, invoices, orders etc.
10am – 3pm: Teach or write
9am – 1pm: Plan and tidy
You’ll notice that I work long hours on a Monday and Tuesday, and shorter hours on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. This works really well as I still have time for my family.
Neal’s Yard parties don’t really feel like work, and I just do a couple per month, on an evening or the weekend.
How I find more hours in my week
The impact of having such a simple schedule is that I spend only the minimum amount of time on each thing. I only travel to clnic twice. I prepare remedies and go to the post office once.
When I stopped taking cash or cheque payments I saved myself 2-3 hours every week as I no longer need to go to the bank.
Monday and Tuesday morning
I ‘dress for work’ and prepare for clinic. I am in a routine with this and I make sure I don’t forget anything.
Wednesday and Thursday morning
I go to a yoga class first thing, stop off for coffee or to do some shopping on the way home. I dress more casually as I have no ‘face to face’ time.
Is my home day as I prepare remedies for Skype clients at my kitchen table! I only go to the post office once per week, usually on a Wednesday. Some weeks I take the trip to the post office on Thursday or Friday. It depends on my schedule.
I currently teach the 3-part Radiant Business course on Thursdays.
Otherwise, Thursday is when I’m being creative and using my mind. I feel free to do this with all my client work completed for the week and usually go to my shared workspace.
I prepare the outline of my newsletters and write for my websites homeopathywithtracy.co.uk or for yourradiantbusiness.com. I also prepare my articles for the ARH journal or the SoH journal. Other times I write up interesting cases for CleverH.themag.
I go to a café to spend time sifting through my email folders, journal, and lists for anything I might have overlooked. I also read articles I’ve saved during the week and tidy up my online filing systems.
I also look at the weeks ahead to see if there are any actions or communications I need to do.
Rewind 2 years
My schedule didn’t always look like this. Up until a couple of years ago, I used to see clients on Monday evening, Tuesday afternoon and evening, Thursday evening and Saturday mornings. I felt like I was always working, even though I was seeing fewer clients.
I would post out a couple of times a week and fit everything else in whenever. I multi-tasked but it wasn’t great. I felt disorganised.
When I first started working with a business coach she challenged me to restructure my week. She called it ‘chunking’ my time.
I didn’t see the value in ‘chunking’ initially and it took a while to figure out what would work for me. Once I was seeing more than 30 clients per month I realised I could no longer continue with my ‘ad hoc’ approach to daily scheduling. I knew I had to ‘batch’ more tasks together.
Now I’m seeing a minimum of 40 clients each month, and usually 50-60, so I have to batch my time. I couldn’t do what I do otherwise.
Making time for the right things
I’m not keen on the term ‘marketing’ and prefer to call it ‘growth activities’.
My tried and tested approach involves two things: improving my website (primarily by writing blog posts) and sending newsletters regularly.
Blogging and newsletter writing are both things I have got better at over time. It’s the same as anything, the more you do it, the easier it gets. I’ve only been able to do that by blocking out distractions and creating chunks of time to focus on it.
Social media marketing is very popular but it’s not my way of doing things.
It’s time-consuming and incredibly distracting.
I love Facebook and very much enjoy the groups I’m part of, including my own. I have one called Small Things (all about simplifying life), three for Your Radiant Business (30-day course, 3-day course, and packages course), one for homeopaths who’ve done my hayfever or triad training, and one for my Neal’s Yard team.
I make time for those groups every day, and take a look at discussion threads in a couple of homeopathy groups. Otherwise I enjoy looking at news from friends. Even when I limit my social media to those activities, it still takes up a surprising amount of time.
I want to spend less time on Facebook, not more, so I close it down completely for hours at a time, especially when I am working.
I turn off all notifications, badges, banners, and my phone is always on silent. I never have Facebook open on a tab unless I am actively using it.
I also use Freedom.to, an online App that completely blocks any online distraction that I ask it to. It’s easy to set up and then you can work without the temptation to just hop on to Facebook to check something.
Blocking out social media and having a clear schedule enables me to focus on one thing at a time, for hours at a time and this means I get into ‘the flow’.
There has been a lot of research into the psychology of happiness that cites ‘Flow’ as a state of mind when we are challenged but engaged, and this allows us to ‘perform’ at our optimum. It also makes us happy.
We can’t be in ‘flow’ and be distracted. They are two opposite things.
Over to you
How could you streamline your week to make more time for flow or for ‘growth activities’?
This can be hard initially if you currently see clients throughout the week. It can also feel ‘counter-intuitive’ and I totally get that.
Everyone I’ve worked with through mentoring and on the Radiant Business courses has initially expressed disbelief or resistance to reducing their practice days to two. BUT, once they try it they tell me they wish they had done it before!
If you’d like the idea of streamlining and you’d like more tips and tools, why not take a look at Your Radiant Business School 30 day e-course?
- Authentic, heart-centred marketing
- Simple, effective systems
- Clear, personal communication
Plus a free webinar and a friendly Facebook group for daily support