Last week I shared with you how you can deal with your dwindling summer caseload by chunking your clients. I loved reading the responses I got:
"Thank you for this - I absolutely needed to read this email today as I sit here freaking out about not having as many clients per week as I'd like, and not feeling productive in the rest of my life." -Jessica C.
"I love this! I actually just did this and am so happy. I'm not working on Fridays, and Tuesdays I'm not working in the evening. " -Norine V.
"You've read my mind. I was freaking out since June 1st. The phone had completely stopped ringing!" -Melyssa E.
"I was JUST saying yesterday how I need to chunk some clients, and how I think it would be a gamechanger. I was like 'I have like 1.5 hours between so i just go and waste time of Facebook.'" -Lindsey B.
You see, when you're super full during the year, you're too busy to keep up with everything and then you get behind.
But when your caseload takes a hit in the summer, you end up dicking around on social media. You hop on Facebook and waste time when you know you have a list of shit that you need to get done.
Then, as it always does, your caseload eventually builds back up and you're like, "Fuck. Why the hell didn't I get my shit organized when I had time?!?"
It's almost like I know you, <<First Name>> (*cue evil laugh*).
So here's a list of the TOP FIVE things you need to be doing this summer while your caseload is as depressing as your bank account:
- Catch up on your notes.
Yes, you. I see you there. You can't hide from me.
I know you keep looking into this, but they literally can't write themselves, I promise. I've tried.
Here's the thing...overdue notes are like those old leftovers in the fridge: The longer they hang out in there, the more unappealing they look. They start growing shit and taking on this unrecognizable form until you just give up on them completely.
After about 2-3 days, you don't even remember what the fuck you talked about and you end up writing garbage.
Then the shame sets in.
You know what I'm talking about, <<First Name>>. It's a deep, deep shame that actually serves to keep you in the same loop of staying behind on notes and avoiding them completely, just like those nasty leftovers.
So do yourself a favor: Commit to sitting down for 1 hour every day and start catching up on your notes. Set the mood with some chill instrumental music, light a candle, and just start. It doesn't matter where. If you get into a groove and write for an hour and a half, great. Otherwise, stick to 1 hour a day and repeat that until those bitches are done and can no longer torment you.
Review/update your paperwork
Even more fun than catching up on notes is looking over your paperwork! I kid, I kid.
But seriously, your paperwork kind of sucks ass.
It's the sloppy bastard child of what you used in grad school mixed with what you used in your last agency job. You even put a few lines in there that you stole from another therapist's paperwork because you thought it sounded good. You little thief.
This summer, look at every piece of intake paperwork you use and make it better. Take off shit you don't need and add in stuff that'll help make your intake process easier. Review your state & licensure requirements, educate yourself on your legal & ethical responsibilities, and take responsibility for your paperwork.
Update your website
Remember when you first designed your website? You started off so energized and excited. But by the end, you just wanted the thing to be done, so you slapped up a few half-assed pages with dull copy just so that you could say you were finished.
You know it needs a facelift, but you're been avoiding it because you don't even know where to start. I know, it's overwhelming and almost always takes way more time than you thought.
But your website is your #1 marketing tool. It's the face of your brand, and it deserves to be as badass as you are.
So choose one page (only one!), and work on it until you feel like it's where it needs to be. Then, AND ONLY THEN, should you move onto another page. Don't task-shift this one, because you'll end up with 10 half-updated pages with broken links.
Get those CEU's and look into any additional trainings/certifications you've been eyeing.
I'm not gonna waste time talking about CEU's because we all know what they are and why we need them, blah blah blah....so just do it. Now. While you have the time.
As far as additional trainings, you've probably thought of getting a certification that could make you an even bigger badass (EMDR, CAC, Gottman, EFT, CSAT, etc.), but something has been holding you back. If it's money, then now is the time to start a separate fund so that you can stop using "I just don't have enough money" as your lame-ass excuse. If time has been the main barrier, then you really don't have an excuse at all during the summer, so get on it.
At the very least, look into that certification you've had your eye on and make a decision to either get moving on it this summer or start planning how you're gonna make it happen.
Slow. The. Fuck. Down.
The irony of a Type-A, balls-to-the-wall, high-energy coach writing about the importance of slowing down isn't lost on me. I sometimes really suck at slowing down, I'll be the first to admit it.
But we need to.
Remember these two things:
1. The "Summertime Slump" is only temporary. Beginning around mid-late August, things seem to pick up for most therapists. Then it's off to the races until the Holidays (so start preparing financially NOW by setting aside some reserves).
2. The "Summertime Slump" isn't a reflection of you or your practice. Your clients have a lot of other shit going on, and even they need a break from it all sometimes. Use this unexpected slow period to organize your systems, revamp your website, and anything else that needs a little TLC in your life.