Balancing on the Wire
Three key considerations for achieving great work–life balance.
Review of Scheduling Software by Shon Isenhour*
Work–life balance is something we all talk about but few of us do well.
Many entrepreneurs and driven management professionals refer to the big 5 of life. The problem with the big 5 is that according to these entrepreneurs and professionals, you can only pick three.
What are the big 5?
How do we mange to turn the tides and increase the likelihood of grabbing all five or at least a bit more of the fourth? Below are 3 tools and processes that you can use to increase your chances with work–life balance.
Technology to Balance Your Entire Life
Schedule everything! Find a scheduling program you like and make it work for every part of your life. Some people prefer a paper planner and others use technology such as Microsoft Outlook, Apple calendar, or Google calendar. If you choose the software path, then the second technique to ramp up your work–life balance as a physical therapy private practice owner will be even more efficient, in my opinion.
Begin by scheduling work, sleep, family, fitness, and friends. This will feel a bit confining at first for some, but will become more comfortable with time. If you and your family enjoy a bike ride, schedule it for Sunday afternoons from 2 until 3. That one checks two of the boxes: family and fitness.
Dos Versus Don’ts
Next create a list of “dos” and “don’ts.” It’s important to get your outstanding tasks onto a list because until then, they tend to haunt you in the middle of the night taking precious sleep or distracting you during time with family and friends. Maintain your “to do” list carefully and add to it as you think of new tasks that need to be completed, but consider bouncing new tasks off to your “don’ts” list.
“Don’ts” are tasks that are not effective if performed by you and could be done better by others due to their talents, skills, and time. Items that hit your “don’ts” list should each be transferred to someone else to complete. An example of a “don’t” might be scheduling meetings with clients. This is a task that can require a substantial bit of back and forth to get a date and time that works for both parties. In this case, the scheduling could be handled by an administrative staff member or a virtual personal assistant through technology like x.ai. Either option allows you to transfer the arduous task and still ensure it is completed.
You can also use technologies like Trello for your “to do” list and Zapier for automating common reoccurring tasks, simplifying the process. As an example, when your health care partner sends you a completed contract, Zapier copies it from the email and saves it to Dropbox for storage. Once it arrives in Dropbox, Zapier then opens a job in your accounting package and lets you know the billing number via text so that you can start working on the project or the case and billing time correctly.
Sharing and Learning to Achieve Balance
Find peers who understand your work and what you deal with on a regular basis. This network may very well understand the unique struggles associated with running a physical therapy private practice and can allow for discussion, without lengthy explanation. Where do you find these peers? First, get involved with the American Physical Therapy Association Private Practice Section and physical therapy private practice groups in your town or state. These conversations become critical as they lower stress and lead to discoveries of new and more effective tools and processes that you can use to continue freeing up time to go after a work–life balance. What is equally important, these professional connections lower stress and may lead to a network of supportive friends.
Another good place to find peers can often be LinkedIn. Find a group and join to engage with folks who are in a similar line of work.
Achieve the Big 5
In the end, there are many tools out there that can help, but first you must create the process for how you want to do things and then have the discipline to stick with it. Then and only then, will the tools begin to save you quite a bit of time. Getting things out of your head will make you more efficient, effective, and can allow you to begin to go after that fourth and maybe even the fifth area that makes you healthy, happy, and balanced!
Shon Isenhour is a founding partner with Eruditio, an adult education and learning consultancy. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*This author has a professional affiliation with this subject.