Systems aren't sexy, but they can make a huge difference in your therapy practice.
Many good systems cost a bit of money. Some systems tools cost over $100 a month and may be totally worth it if they save you time or money.
My favorite systems don’t cost a thing. I'm about to geek out about my checklists.
Here's how I stumbled upon the life-changing magic of checklists.
Until a few years ago, I wasn’t using checklists in my business. I had a to-do list and strived to get things done at a rate faster than I added to it. I did pretty well with this for a long time. Then I noticed that some administrative tasks kept hitting my to-do list every day or every week.
Lightbulb! I created a checklist with all of those daily and weekly tasks so that I didn’t have to remember them each time.
This checklist, called “daily administrative checklist,” lives in the notes section of my phone where I still check it daily and update it every time I need to add or edit a new regular task. I noticed right away that this checklist helped me become more efficient and on top of things.
My first checklist worked so well that I started making more checklists. Now I use more than 10.
Why am I so strange? Oops, I mean, why am I so in love with checklists?
When you use systems in your work, your work gets easier. You don’t miss steps, and you don’t have to think through what order you’ll do things in every time. Think it through carefully one time, and you’re set.
Checklists improve customer service. Using checklists, you always remember to take steps that impact your clients.
When you use checklists, you know exactly what to do so that even on those days when you’re feeling spacey or dumb, you can just follow your checklist.
Checklists make you efficient. When you start using checklists, you get stuff done much more quickly.
Ask a virtual assistant, office manager or any incredibly efficient and organized person, and they will tell you they use checklists. They’re part of every well-run business, from the solopreneur next door up to Google.
Here are some signs that you should embrace at least one checklist in your business.
- Your to-do list is out of control.
- You hold a ton of information in your head.
- You sometimes drop the ball.
- You feel pressed for time.
- When you have an hour available to get stuff done, you’re not sure where to start.
Start with one.
Maybe you don’t want 10 or more checklists like I have. I already admitted I'm strange, right? A year ago, I only had a few. Start with one. You’re probably holding at least one checklist in your head. Turn it into a physical checklist.
Then use it and get comfortable with it. Once you experience how much it helps you, you’ll probably want to create more.
Here are some checklists to consider creating:
Daily administrative tasks checklist: all the things you have to take care of and wish you could hire someone to do, written down in one place. This might include writing session notes, answering emails, charging credit cards, sending invoices, and even using other check lists.
Potential client checklist: steps to bringing a new client into your practice, from 1st contact to 1st visit.
Blog publishing checklist: the steps you take after writing a blog post to get it up on your site and then sent out to social media and shared over email. (I’ll share an example of this below).
Social media checklist: the steps you take to check in and contribute to social media platforms.
Payday checklist: the steps you take to calculate your owner’s draw and/or profit every month or quarter.
Monday checklist, Tuesday Checklist...you get it. You can break down your tasks and assign them to particular days.
What should your first checklist be?
Pick a task or set of tasks that fits at least one of these criteria:
- It’s important
- It’s got a lot of steps
- It’s got to get done often
- It’s complicated
- It’s unpleasant but really helps your business
Ready to choose one?
A good one to start with is the process of responding to a potential client.
I’ve created an example of that for you. Borrow it if you like, and adjust it to fit your situation.
- Return call or email (within 2 hours when possible)
- Enter person’s information into spreadsheet (inquiry tracking spreadsheet)
- Follow up again after 24 hours with email or phone call offering next steps (Tell them how to contact you again or how to set up an appointment online.)
- Schedule free consultation.
- During consultation, give next steps. (Schedule or tell them how to schedule, tell them you’ll call again to follow up.)
- Update information on inquiry checklist after consultation (You’re done if they aren’t a good fit.)
- Enter client into practice management system
- Enter appointment into schedule
- Send email with forms and confirmation
Where should you keep your checklists?
Put your checklists wherever you’ll actually use them. For me, that’s the notes section of my iphone. For you, it may be a physical notebook, a set of spreadsheets, or even a set of paper lists on your wall. The right spot for your checklists is the place where you’ll be able to find them every time you need them.
Do checklists sound boring? Uncreative? Stifling?
You won’t be using checklists for the most creative parts of your life, but they will give you more time and energy so you can let go and be creative more of the time. When you lean on checklists, room opens up in your mind and in your day. There’s less stuff to remember, so you spend less energy trying not to forget.
Bingo! MORE room for creativity.
Are you ready to set up your business like a true boss? Check out my program, The Superpower Method For Therapists™ Program. Registration opens up soon.
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