Productivity

Time Saving Productivity Tips

 July 25, 2020

By  Uriah Guilford, MFT

minute read

I had the privilege of being a sponsor and also give a sponsor presentation at the 2020 Group Practice Owners Summit. This is the transcript of the talk I shared.

You can check out the slides by clicking this link for the PDF file – Presentation Slides

Some Challenges

Here are a few challenges that you might be facing right now.

As a group practice owner you are likely all too familiar with many of these things.

  • Disorganization
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Panic
  • Exhaustion
  • Lack of focus
  • Distractions
  • Drowning in tasks

You wear a ton of hats and sometimes you work ridiculously long hours. You have a huge heart and you shoulder a massive amount of responsibility.

It’s tough to balance the demands of your group practice and the needs of your family, not to mention taking care of yourself. Remember self-care?

What you want!

This is the good stuff.

You have desires when it comes to how you want your daily life and your work/life integration to feel like.

You want more . . .

  • Motivation
  • Focus
  • Creativity & Flow
  • Confidence
  • Ease
  • Balance & Calmness
  • Progress
  • Freedom

Also, you want to feel these things for more than five minutes, once a month. πŸ˜‚

We often hear from our clients that having a rockstar virtual assistant has made a huge difference and made many things possible that were previously out of reach.

Take a moment to imagine what it could be like if you had more balance, calmness, flow or motivation. Fill in the blank with the thing(s) you most want to experience right now.

Make a note of that and hang on to it throughout this conference. You can definitely take some important steps and make decisions to bring more of the good stuff into your life and your business.

Your Big Why

I want to give you a quick reminder about why you work so hard and why you are seeking to improve your group practice.

I don’t want you to be more productive so you can check all the boxes and get stuck in a loop of overworking. That is way too easy.

There are bigger reasons that you are so motivated.

  • You genuinely want to help others
  • You are seeking growth because it excites you
  • You want to enhance your quality of life

One of my biggest motivations has been to support my family and create possibilities for my wife and my two daughters.

I have worked so hard over the last 12 years to build a practice that allows us to have time together and financial freedom.

In 2018 we became debt free (finally paid off that student loan!) and we took an epic 3 week European family vacation. And just last month I paid for a new car all in cash. Such an amazing feeling!

For me it’s not just about the money, but about what it creates for my family and that keeps me going.

Think about your big why and keep that front and center in your mind!

The 3 keys to productivity are elimination, automation and delegation.

This is a helpful framework to organize a handful of productivity tips that I want to share with you.

Elimination is key because saying no is an important skill and your time is limited. You need to create time and space for the things that really matter.

Automation is super helpful. Anything that you can put on autopilot is something you don’t have to remember and manage. I will give you a few good tips on this.

Delegation is an area that we are all working on from the first year group practice owners to the super established people like Maureen Werrbach, Ken Clark & Joe Bavonese.

When you delegate successfully it creates so many possibilities for your time and also allows you to grow while avoiding burnout. Sounds good right!?

Alright, let’s get into the tips.

Elimination

1. Start by reviewing your commitments and quit something.

There is a good chance you are over committed somewhere right now.

This makes me think about a therapist in my group coaching program. She is an amazing human and an amazing therapist who helps so many people.

She told me about all the things she was committed to and I had to encourage her to review her commitments.

She did go ahead and quit being the β€œfull on” program chair for her state convention and quit a volunteer group as well. She decided that if it wasn’t #1 For her health and family or #2 For her business, she was not going to do it right now.

2. Delete “I should really do this” items from your list.

We all have these! Somehow you convinced yourself it was critical, but then you realize it just feels overwhelming and is not actually important for your goals right now.

You have three main options at this point.

  • Just totally delete it
  • Move it to an ideas folder for later
  • Delegate it to someone else (more on that later)

3. Move to a 3 or 4 day work week

Many of us desperately need to see less clients. I have talked to so many therapists with a growing group practice who are seeing 20-30 clients per week and doing all of the things. It’s just too much!

You can take action on this right away, even if it takes some time to pare down your caseload.

4. Remove the apps from your phone that are creating a massive time suck

This happens to the best of us. Email, Facebook, Instagram, etc.

If you don’t want to completely delete the apps you can at least put them in a folder on the third page of apps on your phone.

Whatever you have to do to get your focus back. Instagram is not going anywhere while you focus on your critical tasks. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€πŸ’»

I have recently changed my morning routine to avoid going straight to my phone to read news, check emails and social media. Instead, I’m now reading, journaling, walking and writing down top 3 priorities to start the day.

Automation

Here are a few of my favorite automation hacks.

I am a huge fan of using online scheduling for the initial contact from potential clients. It cuts down on the back and forth phone tag, especially if you don’t have any sort of live answering service set up.

I personally love ScheduleOnce and also use it to schedule almost all of my professional meetings. Acuity and Calendly are other options you might consider.

One other quick tip is to use something like TextExpander to make every day tasks a bit faster. If you have never used one, it’s pretty simple. You create little shortcuts that expand into sections of text that you use often, like email addresses, websites, or greetings/sign offs for emails.

This makes me a productivity typing ninja!

I can just type a few letters (see below) and then the full text expands. Magic!

LMQ – Let me know if you have any questions

gfC [email protected]

This next one seems almost too obvious to mention, but we all have regular things that need to get done that we need to be reminded about.

Create some recurring reminders in a task app.

Save yourself a little mental bandwidth and make a recurring task for things you need to do regularly.

My favorite example is this one: I have a project in ToDoist called “Ideas” where I dump all the things that come into my brain. All those “Ooh, I should do that!” moments. Then I have a recurring reminder every Thursday to go review those ideas and consider taking some action.

Also, every Friday I have a reminder to complete one training in The Exchange! I don’t always follow through, but it keeps that priority coming back to my mind.

Lastly, make sure to use any automation features that your EHR provides. My examples will be from SimplePractice because I think it is one of the best ones out there.

I love the AutoPay feature. One click of a button and the session gets charged overnight. I don’t have to pay for admin time or rely on therapists who can make mistakes!

SimplePractice can also send out superbills and/or invoices each month without me having to think about it.

Lastly, appointment reminders, which you are likely already using. Super easy to implement and it saves a lot of time and money by decreasing no shows and lost revenue.

Anything you can automate will ultimately make your business run smoother!

Delegation

Delegation is an essential skill that we all need to work on continually.

It’s not easy, especially in the beginning, but you can only scale your practice and your impact by building a team and letting others help you.

If you have kids, put them to work! I have had my kids stuffing envelopes and prepping marketing materials on several occasions. If your kids are older and have some serious skills, they might be able to build your website or manage your social media.

Pro tip: You can even hire them as W2s and contribute to their retirement account. That is something I need to do soon.

Two things that I love delegating are my bookkeeping & insurance billing.

I’m not sure if anyone else dislikes QuickBooks as much as I do! I recently hired Greg Higdon from growthebooks.com. My books were pretty clean, but he has already made things better.

Insurance billing is something that only a few special ones enjoy, like Danielle Kepler from beyourownbiller.com.

It is obviously super important to make sure the insurance billing is done and done right, but you shouldn’t be up at 6am or 12am handling it yourself.

Get some support!

Lastly, you can hire an in-office or a virtual assistant to help with phones, scheduling and other admin tasks.

Joe Bavonese told me a few years ago to never scrimp on office space or admin support. It really does make all the difference in the world.

I started working with a virtual assistant in 2012 and it was a fantastic experience. I worked with Gina for 5 years and she was a big part of my inspiration for starting Productive Therapist.

In order to take a 4 week vacation like Mike Michalowicz, the author of ClockWork recommends you will need to have a competent team behind you.

It’s not easy, but it is possible.

I hope you got some useful tips from this blog post.

Now go take some action!

Uriah Guilford, MFT


Uriah is a group practice owner and the creator of Productive Therapist. He is a technology nerd, a minimalist travel packer, a rock drummer and business development enthusiast.

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