It’s easy to become overwhelmed marketing your private practice because there is always an ongoing list of things to do. As soon as you cross one thing off your list, there’s another task that must be added. Unfortunately, it never ends.
Prioritizing is a skill that must be learned if you want to succeed effectively and not go around in endless circles trying to figure out what to focus on. I see a lot of counselors and holistic health practitioners that either don’t prioritize or prioritize ineffectively.
Mistakes Therapists and Holistic Practitioners Often Make When Prioritizing
- Not having clear goals.
- Not understanding that prioritizing is critical.
- Assuming that whatever pops into your mind, or arrives in your inbox needs to be dealt with immediately.
- Spending too much time thinking about things, as opposed to writing things down and getting started on completing tasks.
- Avoiding making a decision in fear of making a “wrong” decision.
- Making “to-do” lists that are way too long and unrealistic – or mistaking a to-do list for an “ideas list”.
If you are overwhelmed building or marketing your therapy or healing practice, you are likely doing at least one of the above. If you want to feel more in control and less overwhelmed, you’ll need to become skilled at prioritizing.
Below I describe 5 ways that you can better manage overwhelm by prioritizing more effectively.
How to Prioritize Your Marketing Tasks
Not every method of prioritizing works for all people. You have to experiment and figure out what works for you. However, the following tips should help you along the way.
1. Have a clear picture of what your goals are.
I find a lot of counselors and healthcare professionals that contact me or take my courses don’t know what their goals are. Or, their goals are something vague like, “I want to build a full practice.”
You need to be very specific when setting goals. For example, is one of your goals to make x dollars per year? And if so, have you done the math on how many counseling or healing clients you’re going to need to see per week in order to achieve that? If you are not clear and specific about your goals, it’s going to be impossible to prioritize.
2. Set priorities for each day that you work on marketing.
While you may not be engaged in marketing activities every day, it’s a good idea to plan and prioritize tasks for all your working days. Rather than check your email when you begin work in the morning, take a few minutes to plan (I actually plan for the following day at the end of each day).
Sure it takes a few minutes to plan and set priorities, but I’ve read that for every minute you spend planning it equals 10 minutes of execution. Once you plan your day, you won’t have to make any more decisions about what to do. Your time and your mind will be free to simply complete your tasks.
3. Separate your “to-do list” from your “ideas list.”
Many helping professionals do not understand the difference between an ‘ideas list’ and a ‘to-do list’. The former is a list that you use to jot down all the ideas that may come to you so that you don’t forget them. In fact, you may have several ‘ideas lists’ for different aspects of your business.
Depending on the viability of your ideas and your time, some ideas you may never get to. In other words, some ideas will never get put on a to-do list.
A to-do list, on the other hand, consists of things that you actually plan to do. It’s a realistic list of the things you need to complete in order to achieve your goals. It’s a good idea to break down your to-do lists into weekly and daily lists. It will be less overwhelming if you only focus on your daily list each day.
4. Work on projects that are likely to bring the quickest results first.
Many therapists underestimate the time it takes to complete tasks. Take some time to think about which marketing projects are likely to bring the fastest results. It helps when you start out to get rewarded by seeing the fruits of your efforts as soon as possible.
While you will sometimes have projects that take longer to complete, and thus will take longer to see results, it can be motivating if you see success earlier by completing at least some smaller projects first.
5. Choose one project to work on at a time.
It helps to avoid decision dilemma when you only have one project to work at once. Of course this is not always possible, because sometimes you are waiting for other people to get back to you, or to complete things for you. But, even when this is the case, it will help you keep focus and feel less overwhelmed if you work on accomplishing one project at a time.
The benefits of prioritizing effectively are huge when building your business or practice. You will feel in control, your stress levels will decline, you’ll sleep better, you’ll have more time for other aspects of your life, AND, you’ll see results more quickly because you’ll get more done.
I’ll be talking more about planning and prioritizing in the Marketing Plan Mini-Camp. Check back to see when the next course starts.