There are Gaping Holes in My Schedule!

June 29, 2012

A Day in Clos Apalta

For months I had been working long hours. My schedule was full every day. I could have scheduled even more clients each day but at some point my brain goes to mush and I’m no good for any one. This workload had had a long run.

I have been in this business for thirty years and still get anxious when there is too much open “real estate” in my day. Other colleagues have told me that they have full practices. I’ve never understood that. Patients come, get what they need then move on. My schedule has always been a dynamic, ever changing beast. Earlier in my career seeing the open times a week ahead filled me with deep fear and insecurities. I was certain that I was on the verge of failure. The others with full practices must have been better clinicians than me or at least knew something I didn’t.

After all these years, living through several recessions and summer slowdowns, my fear is less and certainly easier managed. I still get a bit uneasy seeing open space but the years have taught me that business comes my way as we go along. Lately though my business has dropped off significantly. Other than the chicken-little fits, what can I do about it?

First of all I don’t freak out that much. I address the downturn as constructively as possible. My marketing does not directly target potential clients. When I reach out it is to regular and potential referral sources. In the past few weeks I have sent out large mailings of my marketing materials. I have invited several clinicians to lunch during which we enjoy a lively conversation. These “dates” are not hard sell marketing ploys, only staying in touch with members of my network. I also revised content on my website that may have alienated potential clients.

But most importantly experience has taught me to take advantage of down time in other ways. Earlier this week I had a whole afternoon free, a panic-inducing situation some years ago. Instead my wife and I went bowling and had a lovely time. Not having patients scheduled into early evening has allowed us to take long, leisurely walks in Chicago’s lovely Grant Park.

How do you handle the inevitable slowdown in your practice? Tell us by leaving a comment via the “Leave a Comment” tab at the top of this post.

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