Tame Distractions While Building A Counseling Practice

Building a counseling practice can be stressfulDoes this sound familiar? You wake up excited with a very full day planned.

Just before you jump into your first action item, you decide to check your email.

And there it is … the first gremlin to take you off track. And one email leads to another – all seeming emergencies. After that, you need a break, right? Let’s pop on Facebook. What seems like a minute later is really 30 minutes. You have to laugh when you find yourself looking at your college roommate’s son’s funny-dog videos.

Okay, back to work…then the phone rings. It is a client who “needs you.” Before you know it, it is lunchtime.

Why is it that we start out with the best of intentions and can so quickly get distracted? I think it is because we don’t expect or have a plan to handle distractions.

How can we manage these distractions easier? Here are three tips.

1. Triage the distraction

As caring healers, I know you want to help people. But is it critical that you respond to that email, phone call or in-person request immediately? It is tempting to say ‘yes’ to everything. In the book, The Power of A Positive No, the author tells us that in order to say no to something or someone, we have to know what we are saying yes to. To say no to non-emergency distractions is to say yes to productivity, to your schedule and is respectful to you.

By all means take care of all emergencies as you deem appropriate but how to handle the others? That is the next tip.

2. Schedule time each day to manage the inevitable non-emergencies requests that come up. This means no more fully packing your day from sun up to sun down with planned tasks. Consider adopting the ‘swiss cheese calendar’ approach to time management. Leave holes in your calendar throughout the day to deal with the unexpected.

3. Consider being a bit less competent

I started my career in the 1970s. As a female (even though I was a professional) I was the one who was expected to get the coffee ready for meetings. The thing was I didn’t drink coffee nor know how to make it. I would fumble around until some nice man came over and did it. After a few times when I still didn’t get it, (I am a slow learner), management stopped asking me to make the coffee.

When you are slow to respond, it often gives others the chance to do things for themselves. This can be a win-win for everyone.

You are here to do great work. And people who accomplish great things make time to create those things. Be gentle and compassionate with yourself by giving yourself the space, time and focus to give your gift to the world.

Share your tips in the comment box below!

To your success,

13 Responses to Tame Distractions While Building A Counseling Practice

  1. Debbie Mischo says:

    Thanks, Casey, for a message I needed today. While building a foundation for my private practice, writing a book, and recovering from shoulder surgery, I often overdo on items that really can wait — I just get sucked in. I need to remember my own words that there are very few (and I do make distinctions of the exceptions) times in our lives when an answer is needed within seconds. Working for myself I have to make it okay to set my own goals and schedules rather than what others think should be important to me. Thanks again for all your support as we move toward our goals!

  2. Edie Savage-Weeks says:

    Thanks, Casey—your info always has some gem in it to remind me of what’s important for me. I tend to be like Pavlov’s dog when I hear my phone ring–thinking I have to answer it when I’m doing something else. I’ve been doing much better with allowing individuals to leave a message, so I can finish what I was originally doing.

  3. Jamie Matter says:

    The trick is to open your email and ONLY RESPOND TO the ones that you were looking for becauseit was part of your plan BEFORE YOU OPENED the email at all. Of course, if I was doing that diligently, I wouldn’t have opened this tip thingy and responded to it…

  4. This inspires me to take my list making to the next level. That means BEFORE I make my daily list, to ask myself “What are MY priorities today, to stay on track with MY short and long term goal, before my day gets gobbled up in minutia.
    Thanks Casey!

  5. Rabbit holes will take you to see Alice and the gang.
    Thanks for your ever enlightening reminders.
    ( I carry a part of Casey T with me ever since the lasar session on stage in 2011. )

  6. Marie Kish says:

    What you’re describing about distractions is so true. If I let myself check email first thing, I’m waylaid by so many lower priority tasks. I’m starting to try just scanning it quickly for potential new clients that need more immediate responses and letting the rest go until I have a hole in my schedule. Thanks for the tips and good luck with the new center!

    • Casey and the Team says:

      Thanks Marie– I have been practicing not opening email until after I have done at least one important task, it is making a HUGE difference!

  7. Joel Nielson says:

    Thanks Casey.

    The time-management struggle you describe here is classic. And from what I can see it’s often the difference between those who dream and those who experience the elated life of realizing their dreams.

    Until you or me replace the habit of “random behavior and reaction” with the habit of “owning our time and performance” by being forward thinking, deciding, planning, scheduling, and being disciplined, etc. … we keep living life’s “roller coaster of reaction” which invites all to come!

    I love your number 3. It’s a quick way to quick way to tell if people are not respecting your time.

    As always, thanks Casey.

    Joel Nielson

  8. Ivan says:

    Thanks for the reminder. Saying ‘no’ to emails as the first morning task seems very difficult for me.

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