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Session 3: How To Plan Ahead

Having a visual of your workflow is essential for productivity. Being able to see your day on paper will help you prioritize the tasks and events you have each day and in your week. As a dietitian you know how many directions you can be pulled in at once and how busy your day can be. Now add being a business owner on top of that. We convince ourselves that we are well-organized, when in fact the combination of work, school, family, daily responsibilities, hobbies, social life and events tend to take a toll on our bodies, and more specifically our minds.

 
 

Getting Organized with a Planner

Although I have the calendar on my phone and online scheduling through my electronic medical record (EMR), my planner is my most valuable tool. Being able to organize thoughts and a to-do list keeps anxiety low and increase overall efficiency.  To get started, create a template or running master to-do list of all of the projects (and sub-tasks within these projects) you are currently working on. Use a project management tools like Todoist or just a Google doc. 

Start each day by pulling three items from this list to work on for that day so you don't become overwhelmed. It’s actually therapeutic to begin each day with a clear head and a feasible plan.

  • Putting events on a calendar to solidify intentions and keeps you focused and accountable to follow through. It also helps in visually organizing your time and prioritize your responsibilities.

  • Don't look at your master to-do list of all your projects, which can easily overwhelm and decrease productivity.


Activity

Every day, write your top 3 goals to accomplish that day and then set your master to-do list and goals aside.

Examples: 

  1. Post new recipe from blog to social media: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter

  2. Update diabetes handout and print off copies

  3. Check on B. Smith's insurance claim rejection


Know when your most productive time of the day is. This should be when you are working on your biggest projects or tasks that require the most concentration.

Example: Mine is early in the morning before I have used brain power helping others. So I use the early morning to answer emails and write or work on collaborations.

Use your planner regardless if you have a client schedule on your EMR. Schedule non-client events here as well, such as business Skype sessions, doing research, workouts, meal planning for yourself, etc.

Being a business owner is not a 9-to-5 job, but instead a constant job. You must be able to mesh your life and your business together into one schedule. We all have 24 hours in a day, so there is time for everything you want to do. You just have to choose how efficiently your time is spent. Your planner is also a great place to write you daily gratitude which we will be talking more about in Module 6. Here are a few of my favorite planners:

 

Goal Setting

Goal setting is powerful because it provides the focus you need to shape your dreams. It gives us the ability to identify the exact actions we need to perform in order to achieve everything we desire in life. Goals are incredibly helpful in helping us stretch and grow in ways that we never have before.

A business owner should be able to look at their business through the macrolens and the microlens.

  • The microlens is the day to day plan that should be implemented.
  • The macrolens is the big picture or the flow of your business as a whole.

Evaluate and reflect to know where you are currently at, and where you want to be. For example, recognize that you currently may be seeing 10 clients a week on average. Know that your goal is to see 17-20 clients on average per week. 

The reason evaluating and reflecting is important is so you don’t get stuck in the thought process that you aren’t good enough or don’t get enough done. Understand that goals take time to achieve and that reflecting on the progress you have made since day 1 is what will keep you grounded. Not only is goal-setting essential for an efficient and productive business, but it is the best way to measure your success. In particular, evaluating and reflecting on your own progress also keeps us from going down the destructive path of comparing ourselves to others.

Remember: our own success is not measured by what someone else is doing or has already accomplished.

Your goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and have a set time frame. Some examples are:

  • Specific: I want to see 17-20 clients on average per week
  • Measurable: 17-20 on average per week
  • Attainable: What is the national average for a full-time practice? 17-20 clients per week may be harder to obtain in the first few years without accepting insurance.
  • Realistic: Committing to seeing 30 clients per week by yourself may not be realistic for you without compromising the quality of counseling or taking time away from other aspects of your business.
  • Time frame: I want to be seeing 17-20 clients on average per week within the first 18 months of my practice.

Making both short-term and long term goals are important to making progress in your business:

  • An example of a long-term goal could be your 5 year plan you have to complete for CDR.

  • An example of short term goals could be the breakdown of your long term plan into monthly goals.

  • Daily and weekly goals keep you on track to achieve these monthly goals.

Remember that that goals do not have to be permanent. As you are personally changing and growing, so is your business. New goals will be formed or old goals will be adjusted according to where you are at.