Do you want to work full-time? I am sometimes asked if I work full-time, and I always laugh.
It depends on what you mean by full-time…
I don’t see people all day, every day, five days a week, but if you include all the other aspects of my work outside of clinic… then yes my work is pretty much full-time.
I don’t want to work full-time though.
My goal is to work four days a week, with one day per week completely free.
My first career was in teaching, and one of my reasons for training as a homeopath was to get more time, and more flexibility, while also earning a decent living.
Someone recently asked me,
“How do you create good time management? 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?”
I do think about how best to manage 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 to how much I get done each week, it’s this …
…I only see homeopathy clients two days per week.
Yes, just two.
I offer 7 clinic hours on a Monday and 5 clinic hours on a Tuesday and I do all my calls on those two days.
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.
When I started out in practice, I saw people on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays because I was teaching Monday to Wednesday.
I tried variations on three days a week for a few years, but eventually realised that it was hard to ever feel ‘finished’.
I discovered I get into a better ‘flow’ when I see people grouped together.
- ‘What if someone can’t come on a Monday or Tuesday?’ That has never happened.
- ‘It must be tiring to see all your clients in just two days?’ Not really. I make sure I eat well and sleep well. I take breaks.
My Weekly Schedule
Monday – client day
12 – 2pm: Clinic
2pm – 3.30pm: Break
3.30pm – 8.30pm: Clinic
Tuesday – client day
9am – 2pm: Clinic
2pm – 2.30pm: Break
2.30pm – 4pm: Casework, prescriptions etc.
Wednesday – admin day
10am – 3pm: Casework, prescriptions, checking payments etc.
Thursday – strategy day
10am – 3pm: Writing blogs, newsletters etc. and weekly review
I work longer hours on Monday and Tuesday, and shorter hours on Wednesday and Thursday.
Time Management: How My Week Works For Me
The impact of having such a clear schedule is that I know what I am focusing on and I’m less likely to be distracted.
Monday and Tuesday mornings I ‘dress for work’ – I have certain clothes I only wear when I am seeing clients.
Wednesday and Thursday mornings I have time for yoga or exercise, and then I dress more casually as I have no ‘face to face’ time.
I only go to the post office once or twice per week, usually on a Tuesday and Wednesday, after I have prepared homeobotanicals to post.
I have set up ‘Drop and Go’ with the Post Office which means that I top up my account online, and then just drop the parcels directly to the counter. I don’t have to queue.
Thursdays I write newsletters and blog posts, or maybe an article for a journal. I might also take photos on my morning walk or do some ‘flat-lay’ photos for Instagram.
I see Thursday as generally for being creative and using my mind.
(My homeopathy newsletters are fortnightly on a Sunday afternoon. I have experimented with different days and times in the week and this is when I get the most engagement.)
If I have time I will also write for my own website homeopathywithtracy.co.uk or for yourradiantbusiness.com. Sometimes I am writing for the ARH journal, or more recently, the SoH journal. In the past I have written up interesting cases for CleverH.themag.
Writing is always worthwhile, as you can mention this on your About Me page on your website and any mention on a website with ‘authority’ such as ARH, SOH or Clever H gives you a good ‘back-link’ which is excellent for SEO.
On Thursdays I also look do something called a ‘weekly review’.
This means spending time looking back through my journal, and reflecting on what I’ve achieved and where I got stuck.
I also sift through my email folders, bullet 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 look at the week ahead to see if there are any actions or communications I need to do.
If you don’t already set aside time for a weekly review, I recommend you try it.
It’s incredibly valuable in lots of ways.
Rewind 5 Years
My schedule didn’t always look like this.
Five years ago I was seeing clients on Monday evening, Tuesday afternoon and evening, Thursday evening and Saturday mornings.
I would post out a couple of times a week and fit everything else in whenever. I multi-tasked but it wasn’t great and I felt disorganised.
When my husband was made redundant from his University job (the whole department was cut during restructuring) and moved to study for his PhD full-time, I faced a big decision.
Could I make homeopathy work? Or would I have to go back to teaching.
I took a deep breath and decided to hire a business coach to help me figure out how to make my homeopathy work.
The first thing she did was to challenge 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 around 50 clients in a typical month, so I really do have to batch my time.
I couldn’t do what I do otherwise.
Time Management For Growth
I’m not keen on the term ‘marketing’ and prefer to call it ‘growth activities’.
My tried and tested approach involves three things:
- Updating my website (primarily by writing blog posts)
- Sending client newsletters
- Asking for reviews and updating my online Google Business profile
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 marketing my practice.
I left Facebook because it was too distracting.
When I had a Facebook Homeopathy page I had over 1000 people following, but the only engagement was from friends and colleagues.
I still have Instagram, but I don’t ‘promote’ my practice there.
I do have a page for Your Radiant Business which keeps me connected to homeopathy colleagues.
Around 10% of my homeopathy clients are referrals and the other 90% find me through Google and they all tell me they read my reviews.
Google reviews are good for SEO and so I make sure I remember to ask happy clients to write them for me.
My schedule is not only efficient but it also 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.
This is the other reason I try to avoid multitasking (and social media).
Over To You
How could you streamline your week to make more time for flow or for ‘growth activities’?
Streamlining your schedule and planning your practice are the two things I recommend to help you take your practice to where you want it to be.
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 have initially expressed disbelief or resistance to reducing their practice days.
BUT, once they try it they tell me they wish they had done it before. The word they often use is ‘game-changer’.
To find out more about the Radiant Business courses I offer, sign up for my monthly newsletter.
“I highly recommend your courses, especially for newly qualified but also for us with a few years under our belts.”
“Having been in practice for a long time I may be doing many of your suggestions already but it has made me think.”
“Thank you for being so inspiring. Your warmth and support are lovely.”