Here we go again, another lockdown, another diary of cancelled appointments. We can’t do anything about that but how can we make the best use of this time now granted to us?
Do you have non-appointment jobs that usually get pushed to one side when you’re too busy with client appointments?
I know before the first lockdown in March 2020 I reached a stage where my diary was so busy I used to think, “If only the world would just stop for a while so that I can catch up”. Unfortunately, that phrase, ‘be careful what you wish for’, came up to bite me firmly on the bum.
At first, I thought it would just be for a few weeks and so I was still setting the alarm for some ungodly hour in the morning to get straight onto the computer, elated in a way, that I had time to do admin tasks I would normally push to one side.
But as we know, the lockdown was no flash in the pan and as time dragged on, so my enthusiasm waned. Now, 10 months on, that initial enthusiasm is definitely nowhere to be seen. It is easy to fall into a sense of despair especially if it is having a knock-on effect elsewhere i.e. financial worries or health worries.
But we need to stay positive, focus on this hopefully being for a matter of weeks rather than months, and with a vaccine programme being rolled out we are in a better place than we were last year.
What could you achieve in 6 weeks of having no client appointments?
What have you been putting off?
The best way is to set specific times and dates in your calendar. Where you would have client appointments, substitute those times for completing tasks instead.
You will have your own ideas but to get it kickstarted think about some of the following:
- Where are you with your CPD for last year? Have you completed a schedule of hours? I know some professional associations are keener than others to insist on you submitting your hours, but even if yours do not insist on it, it’s a good exercise to make sure it is up to date.
- Get a good start on your CPD for this year. Associations such as the FHT (https://www.fht.org.uk/) run a series of Stay At Home online webinars worth 2 or 3 CPD points. Put the time in your diary to watch those videos.
- Talking of diaries, now is a good time, to get fixed dates in your diary, both for work and personal e.g. insurance renewal dates, membership renewals, tax due dates (sorry), car MOT, significant occasions such as birthdays, etc. How good will that feel to be ahead of yourself and to have reminders set?
- Client medical questionnaires – are there any you could now destroy? Check with your insurance company as to how many years you need to keep the information and then any that are older than that can be destroyed.
- Are your current client notes up to date? Do you need to refresh your questionnaire to take into account the current Covid-19 situation? Take the time to look at the questions you are asking and if any need to be revised.
- How are those accounts looking? Many of you may have a year-end looming on 31 March which isn’t that far away or may have just had your year-end at the end of December? Thankfully, a few years ago, my bookkeeper put me onto an electronic software system called Xero so the hours spent just before year-end trying to find missing receipts and invoices has been reduced but I can’t honestly say I am ever completely up to date and there are still panic moments where I haven’t posted information onto the Xero website! Ditch the panic and get it done now!
- Think about your diary when the lockdown is lifted and all those clients who couldn’t have their treatments this month. It will be tempting to fill up every waking hour to fit them all in but think of your own health too and work out a reasonable schedule that suits you as well as your clients.
I’m sure you can think of more but the best way to get a sense of achievement is to allocate the time so that one day doesn’t drift into another.
And of course, take advantage of the time to recharge and look after yourself.