I’ve been in private practice for over 6 years, and there have been some very lean months. What I’ve noticed about myself is that I will work all kinds of crazy hours when my schedule is full to try and “make up” for the slower weeks and months. It’s hard to intentionally slow down and practice healthy self care and boundaries when clients are beating down your door. It’s almost just as hard to practice this when your schedule is relatively empty.
As practitioners, It’s important for us to be consistent through both the busy and the slow times. When we are not consistent with our own schedules, this makes it’s way through to our clients as we attempt to help them through their struggles.
When I don’t follow my normal habits and routines, I lose my sense of space as a counselor. A few weeks ago I began my Thursday as I normally do. I arrived at my office 20-30 minutes prior to my first appointment, got the office ready for the day (lights, AC, etc), and made a cup of coffee. My first appointment was a no-show, my second got into an auto accident, and my 3rd cancelled for an unknown reason. This all happened within a 30 minute span of time. So instead of having a full morning, I was now open to do whatever I needed or wanted to do. Thankfully I chose well and caught up on progress notes, some accounting, and some writing I’d been putting off.
We need to have a plan of action when our schedules change at the last minute. It doesn’t mean that we always need to do something business related, but there have been times that I have taken an open hour or two and seemingly wasted it on Facebook and other mindless browsing of the internet.
What will you do today if you have a two hour window that suddenly opens up? Does your practice or your self need attention? Is there something you’re avoiding that needs to be done?