Top Tips For Optimizing Your Calendar

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Welcome to the Productive Therapist Podcast! My name is Uriah and I’m a licensed marriage- and family-therapist and I’m the Head Nerd in charge here at Productive Therapist.

My goal is to give you some tips and tricks that will save you time so you can be a productive therapist. I really do want you to get more done so you can have more fun.

So here’s the thing – you are in control of your time and your schedule. If you are stressed out and overbooked, it’s time to take a closer look at how you’re managing your calendar.

It’s true for me. It’s true for you. If we don’t apply some intention to how we plan and run our days, things can quickly get out of hand. I know you know what I’m talking about!

So here are a few of my best tips for effectively managing your calendar. And here’s a side note for anybody who cares: I use Google Calendar for everything, but I don’t love the Google Calendar interface, so I actually view it with the calendar app on my Mac and then WeekCal on my iPhone.

And the reason why I like that one is because, as the name says, it gives a really great overview of the week where you can see everything in one screen. It’s really nice.

So the first thing that I do is…I have done this for many years, is I create different calendars and I color-code them. So, at a glance, I can tell exactly what’s going on.

For me, I have a work calendar that is all green, my home calendar is blue, clients have always been orange, for some reason! And then I also have a calendar for Gusto which is purple, that shows me all of my employees birthdays, work, anniversaries, when they’re out of the office, those kind of things. That’s really convenient and easy.

The next one is, I have a reminder set to go off ten minutes before every work-related appointment.

And this is helpful for me because it allows me to switch focus, because on the days when I have appointments and meetings, I’m doing tasks in-between those. And I can quickly get deep into something and then forget that I have a meeting or call or something. So those reminders are very helpful and actually pop up on my desktop as well as my watch.

And speaking of the watch, I actually have used this watch face for my Apple Watch for years that has a number of different things. They actually call them complications for some reason! But in the middle it shows me just my next appointment. And I’ve enjoyed having that, especially when I was seeing clients on certain days where they were back-to-back appointments. And when I was taking my break in-between client sessions, I could just take a look at my watch and see who was coming in next. And now it just helps me keep on track with where I need to be and what’s happening.

Let me take just a quick pause and tell you a bit about our sponsor. This episode has been sponsored by Simple Practice, the leading practice-management platform for private practitioners  everywhere. More than 75’000 professionals use Simple Practice to power telehealth sessions, schedule appointments, file insurance claims, communicate with clients and so much more. It truly is an all-in-one, HIPAA-compliant platform.

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Okay, back to the tips. The next thing is that I use Schedule Once to automate the process of setting up coaching calls, networking meetings or any other phone call or meeting that’s necessary. And if you’ve been around for any length of time, you know that I love online schedulers like Schedule Once. I’ve been using it for years for a number of things, and that really eliminates the back and forth of emails and messages to coordinate calendars. So love that.

Next up, I work hard to keep Tuesdays and Fridays free of meetings. So this kind of goes under the category of batching tasks or possibly theming days where you have certain days that you focus on certain things. For you, it might be certain days of the week you see clients, other days are set aside for admin tasks or managing your practice, working on marketing or any other tasks.

Next up, I make sure to create enough buffer in the mornings and between appointments so that I don’t feel rushed or stressed.

And I also have some other rules, basically no calls or appointments before 10:00 AM because I want to do my slow morning routine, which I think I’ll have to create a podcast episode on in the future! But I have these certain rules about my calendar that make my life just a little bit more deliberate and and enjoyable.

And as well, the next and last tip I have here is related to that one, because the rules that I have for my calendar and for scheduling anything, I actually give those to my assistant – along with access to my calendars, of course – so that she can schedule meetings and events for me and help me sort of organize and plan my days and my weeks so that everything runs smoothly.

So those are just a couple tips. There’s a lot more that I could say on this topic! But the most important thing is that you manage your time and your calendar instead of feeling like it’s out of control and sort of managing you.

I would encourage you to get intentional, set up some new rules if you need to and you’ll be well on your way to feeling more organized and productive.

So if you want more helpful tips and tricks like this, make sure to subscribe to this podcast and listen to future episodes – as well as past episodes!

Have a good one!

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