Massage therapy is a demanding profession. Taking care of yourself is essential not only to your health but also to the longevity of your career. Part of a good self-care program is learning to manage your time so you don’t get burned out or injured.
Time management is not always easy, but we’ve got some ideas that can help you get a better handle on your schedule so that you—and your massage clients—will benefit.
No matter what you do, there are never going to be more than 24 hours in a day. A large part of being satisfied, both personally and professionally, depends on how we spend these 24 hours.
One basic time-management tool is to create a weekly to-do list wherein you prioritize both the tasks you want to complete and those you need to complete. Rank each task using a, b or c—activities that are essential to your personal and professional life receive an “a,” those that are important but not essential get a “b” and all others a “c.”
Be certain to block out time in your schedule to attend to the a-level items, preferably early in the week so if something comes up you have time to recover. At the start of each week, get working on the a-level tasks immediately and, should something come up, take a few minutes to evaluate whether or not it’s more important than the essential activity you are working on.
When most a-level activities are complete or you cannot work on an essential task, move on to a b-level item. If you are unable to work on an item marked b, move on to a c-level task. If any one item remains on your list for more than four weeks, however, you need to reevaluate the activity. Is it something you really need to do or can you delegate the task?
Remember, however, you can’t make activities that are essential for a massage therapist, such as writing your SOAP notes, c-level tasks just because you don’t like the task.
Time Management Tips
- Recognize the difference between things you want to do and things you have to do. Reconciling your books, for example, must be done. Painting your office, on the other hand, is optional.
- Make time for leisurely activities. Even if you have to schedule something fun, make sure you give yourself time to relax.
- Think about trying some time-tracking software to get a better handle on how much time some of the essential tasks are really taking you. There are several free time-tracking software programs and apps that are easy to download and come with tutorials.
Related: Balancing Act: Work-Life Balance for Massage Therapists