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Time and Task Management for New PT Business Owners

Have you ever heard the phrase, "You can always make more money, but you can never make more time"?


For many new practice owners, this phrase is spot on. Transitioning to working full-time for yourself is exciting, but also full of overwhelming unknowns. You’re everything to your business including the manager, clinician, marketing team, finance person, customer service representative, and so much more.


Wearing all of these hats comes with great responsibility, and one of the most challenging things I see new practice owners struggle with is time management. It’s hard to know when and where to spend your time, afterall you started a practice just to treat patients, right?


I can tell you firsthand, as a solo practice owner myself, developing a structured routine for my business has been challenging, but also very rewarding. Having the flexibility both time wise and financially is great, but it has taken me some time to create solid routines for my business. 


Learn more about the downside to time freedom in my blog post here.


During this post, we’re going to dive into valuable time management tips, tricks, and insights to help you structure your schedule, prioritize the tasks that must get done, and make sure we’re maximizing productivity as a new practice owner. 


Starting with a Blank Slate

When setting an achievable schedule for yourself as the business owner, my first piece of advice is to start with a blank slate. This can look like a blank calendar, either physical or digitally. Personally, I use Google calendar to keep track of my life, personal and business, but there’s no wrong answer to choosing your scheduling template. 


Having a blank slate in front of you helps you to envision the time you have to allocate to different tasks throughout the week. 


Start by scheduling out any obligations you “have to” complete, especially if you’re working part-time or PRN for another company while working on your own business. These things have to be on your schedule because they’re something you’re committed to doing at the time and can always be removed once you transition to full-time in your business.


From there, start with making a list of all of the tasks and priorities you want to prioritize for your business such as client sessions, admin work, content creation, and also personal time. Personal time is a big one, so make sure you are specific about the personal time activities you want to partake in, whether that be working out, walking your dog, spending time with your spouse, or spending time reading a good book.


Establishing Non-Negotiables

Once you’ve got your list written out, it’s time to determine your “non-negotiables.” These are the tasks or activities that you have to commit to doing consistently, regardless of circumstances, and most importantly if they are personal desires. 


You already have your part-time or PRN work on your schedule if applicable, so the next step is to pencil in personal tasks for yourself. As I mentioned before, scheduling out personal time for yourself is essential to take care of yourself, and thus your business. If your mental and physical health is suffering personally, your business is not going to thrive either. 


I know how hard it can be to prioritize yourself. It took me several years myself to not feel guilty about taking personal time, but I will admit it has helped my physical and mental health, and since doing so I have seen great improvements in my personal and business roles. If I can give you one piece of advice to take away from today’s post, ensure that you hold yourself accountable to the “non-negotiables” just as you would expect your clients to adhere to their scheduled appointment times and home exercise programs.


Client-Facing Versus Non-Client-Facing Time

Now that you have your part-time and PRN work, along with your non-negotiables to prioritize yourself on your schedule, it's time to designate client-facing time and non-client-facing tasks. Some examples of client-facing time include patient sessions or meetings and non-client-facing time can include admin work, marketing, and sales.


Learn why every PT should be doing content marketing in the blog post here.


There needs to be a good balance between the two in order for your business to continue growing, to ensure good client-satisfaction, and make sure that all tasks of running a business are getting done.


One thing I would suggest, and what seems to work best for me, is designating specific days and times for both client-facing and non-client facing time. Pick a couple days a week for each and stick with it. This allows better focus during your days because of the consistency you’re creating with keeping client-facing and non-client facing separated. 


Once you determine your days for both roles, start time blocking out slots for tasks that include client sessions, admin work, sales calls, content creation, continuing education, and professional networking to name a few. Time blocking is a very effective way to ensure good productivity throughout your days.


If you’re struggling to find clients, check out the blog post here where I share tips on finding your first 5 clients fast.


Tracking Your Time

Now that you have your schedule and routines in place - part-time or PRN work, personal time or non-negotiables, and client-facing and non-client facing time, it’s time to get to work. 


Another suggestion I would make is that you find a time tracking method that allows you to keep track of how much time you are actually designating to specific tasks. Personally, I use the time tracking software called Toggle, but any other one would work. Keeping track of time helps you to better understand how you are spending your days so that you can determine if you’re putting enough time into each aspect of your business. 


As I’ve mentioned before, balance is key so if you find that you’re spending the majority of your week doing client work and minimal time on non-client-facing tasks, it’s time to re-evaluate your schedule and make changes. I would encourage any business owner to prioritize at least 10 hours a week of their time designated to non-client facing tasks such as admin tasks, marketing, business development, sales, etc. It may benefit you to designate more, but this is a good starting point.


Personally, I function best working a maximum of 5-6 hours per day, but this can look different for everyone. I just know that I am the most productive if that’s the amount of time I spend working for the day on whatever tasks I’ve scheduled for myself, so keep that kind of thing in mind too. Get a feel for how you’re doing at the end of an 8 hour day and if you’re completely drained, it may be necessary to scale back on the time you are actually working.


Conclusion

Time management as a new practice owner is not a skill that people are born with, it is learned over time and requires a significant amount of troubleshooting. After you’ve established a routine that seems to be working well, take some time to reflect on the current routines you have in place and determine if there is room for improvement.


While planning out your days and physically adding tasks to your calendar may seem boring, this part of being a business owner is essential to ensure you achieve the success you’re hoping for. 


To revisit the key steps of creating structure for time and task management, start with a blank slate, add your part-time or PRN work to the schedule, list out all of the personal and business tasks you wish to prioritize, add personal tasks to your calendar first and designate them as non-negotiables, and finally add in client-facing and non-client facing time to your calendar.


Remember, the process of creating structure as a business owner isn’t easy, and it’s something that I continue to personally re-evaluate and improve myself, and I’ve been a business owner for multiple years now. The key is that you set a schedule, stick to it, and make sure to prioritize your health and well-being along the way.


If creating structure as a business owner is a challenging task for you, feel free to reach out! I offer free consultation calls where we can discuss your current struggles and determine the next best steps for you. You can schedule a free call here.


Or if you are looking for 1:1 individualized guidance to all things running a practice, business, and marketing, I encourage you to check out our DPT to CEO Business Coaching program here. DPT to CEO is the step-by-step guide you need to start, launch, and grow a successful cash based practice!


Listen to this episode on my podcast!!

DPT to CEO the podcast

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