Is It Time for a Schedule Revamp?
When you look over your schedule for the next week or even the next few weeks, does everything feel sustainable or do you get an immediate sense of overwhelm and dread? I imagine most of you will have the latter experience - feeling there’s too much to do in too little time. For Sensitive Therapists, it is our tendency to want to do everything perfectly and to take care of everyone else often at the expense of our own needs and well-being. We might reschedule a client outside of our normal session window or say yes to lunch with a colleague despite being exhausted. Our biggest struggles are often feeling too guilty to say no or not wanting to deal with the discomfort of disappointing someone. Although being highly empathetic is a gift in our clinical work, it can become a burden when it begins to impact our ability to set strong boundaries and prioritize our needs.
In addition, we also have a greater need for downtime due to the energy it takes to have a more finely-tuned nervous system and deeply processing brain which notices every detail and feels all our emotions incredibly deeply. This makes it even more difficult for us to feel productive compared to our non-HST colleagues and loved ones. It can seem as if everyone else has more energy and is accomplishing more than us, yet we’re still exhausted!
What is the answer to this struggle of finding balance between productivity and downtime? Although it may seem impossible to create a sustainable schedule, there are ways to make your days run a bit smoother and to make sure what’s important to you makes it to the top of your priority list. To start, take a look at your schedule for the week ahead and ask yourself a few questions:
Is there enough time for everything I need to accomplish?
Often times we have too much on our plates or spend time unnecessarily figuring out what to do when. To reduce the decision-fatigue of figuring how we should be using our time in every moment, I suggest marking off time in your schedule for all weekly and monthly tasks such as doing notes, checking email, creating superbills, etc. Although it felt clunky at first, this has been a game-changer for me and I haven’t missed a day of doing my notes in over a year.
Are there tasks on my schedule that can be removed or delegated?
The key to sustainability for Highly Sensitive Therapists is to only focus our energy on what we do best and what’s most important to us. I bet there are a few items on your schedule or to-do list that you really don’t want to do or could benefit from delegating out. Perhaps your spouse could help out with a marketing project or you’ve been thinking about hiring a part-time biller or virtual assistant.
Have I set aside time for myself to decompress EVERY day?
When we’re feeling overloaded with responsibilities, self-care is often the first to go. It’s easier to disappoint ourselves than someone else. Therefore, we need to put self-care into our schedules to make sure it gets done! This could be as simple as scheduling your client appointments slightly farther apart, carving out an afternoon break or going to bed slightly earlier. Personally, I like to carve out one day per week where I can decompress and don’t have anything to do.
If you feel overwhelmed, exhausted, irritable, or anxious when you look at your schedule or to-do list, then your schedule is not working for you and something needs to change. Most Sensitive Therapists struggle to find balance and prioritize our needs for downtime, so know that you’re not alone! Although it may seem impossible, there are ways to make your days run a bit smoother and to make sure what’s important to you makes it to the top of your priority list.
Take advantage of these typically slower summer months to see what you can adjust to make your schedule more sustainable and supportive for you. Carving out a place for all your essential tasks and incorporating time for self-care on a regular basis can make a huge difference in our energy levels and overall well-being.