When was the last time you had a “real”, multi day, relaxing vacation?
If you are like many of the private practice owners I have spoken with, the answer is “not in a really long time!”
Why is this? Unfortunately, many believe that in order to create a successful practice and make more money, you have to work harder.
This is absolutely FALSE (and I can prove it)!
The ability for an owner to take time off, or as I like to call it having “free days”, is critical to the overall success of the business. Since decisions are made at the top, it is ESSENTIAL to have a clear head to think so you can make good decisions. Taking time off to recharge your batteries and revitalize your energy is as important, if not more so, than having a meeting with a referral source. In fact, research shows that it can have huge improvements in our performance and productivity.
Here’s the 4 biggest “I can’t take a vacation” myths I’ve heard through the years… and the eye-opening solutions behind them:
1. “If I go on vacation, I’ll never crawl out from under the work when I return.”
There’s a one-word solution here: Delegation.
Effective delegation lets you make better, more productive use of your time. Delegating also activates your team, helping them become more deeply engaged and involved in your practice goals and mission. And every time you delegate, you get one step closer to being operationally irrelevant. That means your clinic can run like clockwork, without you there managing every detail.
Before you go on vacation, put a plan in place for how and to whom you want to delegate tasks. Is there one person who should handle all your usual daily tasks and to-dos? Can tasks be divided between several people so as to not overload one person?
2. “There are some things only I know how to do”
As a general rule of thumb, no business should rely on only one single individual to know how to carry out a specific task–and that applies to owners too.
To proactively prepare for both your vacation and the vacations of your staff, it is imperative to cross-training your team (ideally as part of the on-boarding process).
To cross-train is to teach employees how to do a spectrum of jobs within your practice. When you cross-train, you create a team with a range of specific, relevant skills that apply to your practice. Successful cross-training means no essential expertise rests with one individual person alone.
3. “I feel like I’m letting my team down and they’ll be overwhelmed without me here to help them.”
We all want to make sure our team feels supported. But you know what doesn’t contribute to team cohesion? Being constantly micromanaged and having a boss who can’t take a step back. That all speaks to a lack of trust—and to a lack of systems that support independent, accountable, mission-driven teams.
Without systems (and a culture to back them up) you’re working with a bunch of siloed individuals—and they’re each coming to you with questions, issues, problems, instead of talking to each other.
Systems take your place as the arbiter of every judgment call, give staff a clear, specific framework for running daily operations without you. That means you are guaranteed time away from your clinic, and time off from even thinking about your business.
Systems that let you take yourself out of the daily equation also enable staff to rely on each other, and work together to solve problems. The result? A happier, more unified, motivated and productive staff.
4. “I’ll just be worrying about work the whole vacation, anyway.”
Taking time off from your practice can be stressful, and a lot of negative thoughts can creep in…
What if something bad happens while I’m gone?I haven’t made enough to deserve a vacation this year.I’m setting myself up for failure.
We’re all hard-wired with what evolutionary psychologists call a “negativity bias.” It’s a tendency we have to focus more on our negative thoughts, mistakes and failures.
But this isn’t helpful. In fact, it can have a negative impact on not just your mental health, but also your bottom line.
This is where self-compassion comes into play. Self-compassion—our ability to be kind to ourselves, especially under difficult, challenging circumstances—is a critical component of success, long-term happiness, and prosperity.
So before you go on your next big vacation, I encourage you to practice some self-compassion and tell yourself:
I deserve to take some personal time to support my emotional health and recharge my batteries. I won’t be able to control everything in my absence, and that is okay.
And most importantly…
I AM GOING TO HAVE AN AMAZING TIME!
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By Jamey Schrier
PT, Founder & CEO, Practice Freedom U
February 20, 2020
4 minute read