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Episode 126 | Stepping Away to Allow Time for Rest and Recovery

Episode 126 |  Stepping Away to Allow Time for Rest and Recovery


  • Episode 126 | Stepping Away to Allow Time for Rest and Recovery 00:00


Hi Group Practice Listeners! In this episode, In this episode, I’m talking issues that come up when we try to step away from our work so that we can allow for time for rest and recovery.

In this episode we cover:

  • Eliminating
  • Simplifying
  • Delegating
  • Automating
  • Boundaries

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Maureen Werrbach

Today, I want to talk about something that I think we all can relate to. And that’s issues that come up when we try to step away from our work so that we can allow for time for rest and recovery.

I know many of us talk about this issue where we have a difficult time actually being away from our business, right? We might go on vacation or go away for a weekend trip, and still be checking our phones doing work. And not that a work vacation isn’t fun. Because as many of you might know, I love going away and getting out of my normal elements to really dive deep into work and get things done while I’m away.

But I’m talking about those times where you’re actually wanting rest and recovery where you’re thinking ahead of time, this is going to be the time where I don’t do work. And the story is told over and over again by all of us where we think we’re going away, where we can rest and recover, spend time with family and not do work. And what happens is: we end up doing work, we end up getting called by our clinicians or our staff, we end up having a client who has a crisis that they need support with.

So I want to talk about eliminating that.

There’s a few things that I think are a great thing to think about when we’re planning a trip away or a weekend away or just a day off where we’re not focusing on work. I’m also going to talk a little bit about a story where recently where I planned rest and recovery, and that didn’t happen and what got in the way of that.

One of the things–there’s five things that I think we can think about–that Tim Ferriss talks about in his book, and that I added to and that’s the idea of eliminating, simplifying delegating, and automating things. And I’m going to add boundaries to that. So if we think about the idea of eliminating, and just for the sake of going away for a short trip away for rest and recovery, whether that’s to your cabin, whether that’s just turning off technology in your house, and actually focusing on family and doing fun things in the house, whatever that looks like for you.

So let’s think of a weekend away.

Eliminating is the first thing that is really important to think about. And I didn’t do. When I think of eliminating, at least for the in the sense of a trip away is making sure that you’re not adding things to plate before time off. I don’t know if you’ve done this before, but I’ve done this plenty of times. Right before I’m about to go away, the week before I want to feel really productive so that I don’t have anything to do on the weekend. But what I ended up doing is adding all the things that haven’t yet done, ideas that I haven’t yet even thought of getting done. And I try to get them done a week before, right? So you might have a big idea. And you get excited for the thought of being away that you decide to tackle on a big project.

Eliminate any big projects, don’t start anything new before any rest and recovery.

Don’t plan anything grand or large right before a trip, because what that’s going to do is nine times out of 10 you’re not going to get it done before your trip or you’re not going to have pulled all the processes out of it so that not only is it completed but someone else can continue on with that project when you’re gone. So the best thing you can do is not add things to your plate before a trip. Take what you already have, and start eliminating those things. But don’t add to your plan the week or two weeks before you’re planning on going away.

The next thing to prepare for rest and recovery is simplifying.

And when I think of simplifying, I think of who is doing what. One of the things that I see that’s really common for group practices is that there’s a lot of different hats that we wear, right? There’s HR related things, there’s onboarding, there’s revision, there’s client related issues or staff related issues or financial things. There’s a lot that can happen. Clinicians getting locked out of the office back when, you know, we were in the offices, clinicians having issue with issues with telehealth or their computers not working. Can we make sure the staff knows who they should go to for those issues?

So there’s two pieces to this right. There’s delegation, which is ensuring that there are people that can handle those issues when they do come up, and that you’re not the decider. We think of Mike Michalowicz’ book, Clockwork, he talks about the difference between being a decider and being a delegator. Right. The decider is a person who hands things off to other people. But at the end of the day, those people have to come back to you every time they complete a task related to the thing you gave them, so that you can check off that it’s good or not good. And then, you know, give them something else to do.

That’s a decider, right? You’re not really delegating, you’re still a part of the process, being delegating something to someone means that that person not only is doing the tasks, but they’re owning the outcome of those tasks, when they don’t go well when something goes wrong, they don’t come back to you to fix it, or to tell them what they should do to fix the problem. They’re being proactive, they’re being accountable to finding out what the problem is what they did wrong, rectifying that, and then moving on. That’s true delegation.

So as part of the process of delegation, though, you need to make sure that you’re simplifying the process, and not our own internal processes.

I’m talking about the processes that your staff has for when they have an issue, who are they going to. A lot of times you might have staff and leadership who are in charge of certain things I don’t know about you happens quite often, where they staff might bypass the person, their supervisor, or the practice manager to go straight to you when they get locked out of the office, or when they have an issue that to them seems bigger than what their leader or their supervisor might know how to deal with them, or just bypass it and think this is a bigger problem. This is probably a problem for the group practice owner, right?

Making sure that you’ve made the process really simple for your whole staff, and for your clients on who do they go to when you’re gone. And that’s something that you set up ahead of time.

And then something that you bring up every time you’re about to go away for rest and revocry, maybe as an email reminder to your team of I’m going to be out.

Even the process of letting people know that you’re gone will reduce the amount of times that they reach out to you, there might be people that still reach out, but you’re going to get less of it, letting them know that. And so when you simplify the process of who they go to, for which problems, and then outline that and send that off to them before you go on a trip every time as a reminder, hey, don’t bother me, you’re gonna see a reduction in people coming to you.

And I want to add to that process. What happens with the big stuff? Are you wanting them to reach out to you if there’s a big, big thing that happens in your practice, or with a client and think about when would you want to be interrupted? And if it’s not at all, not even as the building’s burning down, then you make sure that you have someone that can handle what happens when the building’s burning down. Or if it’s, I only want to be interrupted if A or B happens, who is in charge of most of the big things right below A and B and let them know, I only want you to come to me if A and B happen while I’m gone, okay?

And then the last part of it is automating.

I’m thinking in a very simple term, I’m not thinking automation in the sense of like the whole business, I’m only talking about eliminating, simplifying, delegating and automating when you’re going away for a short trip. And with automation, I’m thinking of like a simple autoresponder, right, so that people when they do reach out to you get that second reminder that you are not available and you are not going to answer. Because I don’t know about you, but there have been plenty of times where I know that people knew I was away, but they sent an email and I didn’t have an autoresponder and then I was like, I don’t know if they remember that I’m gone and if I don’t answer are they gonna think I’m ignoring them or not doing my job or having a good leader?

And so even a simple process of having an autoresponder will make a big difference because you can remind yourself, hey, they got that reminder that I’m not actually in. So if they forgot, and they sent the email, now they remember, and they’re not going to expect anything different.

My financial planner Marybeth does an amazing job with autoresponders. I don’t know how many times I’ve emailed her when she’s gone. And then I’m like, Oh, yeah, that’s right, she’s gone. So I, I sent her an email asking her to send me some of her best autoresponders because she does a really great job with them. And it’s, I think a great way for people who feel the need to get responses right away, it’s a great reminder that it’s okay for your person to have time off of the person that you’re emailing to have time off.

So one of hers is, I’m out of the office through July 3, for the holidays, in our house, the holidays equals preschool being closed for two weeks, send happy thoughts for survival and rest. In an effort to be truly present with family, I’ll be pretty unreachable throughout this time, I will respond to emails when I return. And then she has a little clause of if this is an emergency who to reach out to.

Another one is Hi there, thank you for your email, I’m out of the office for a family trip. And likely in the midst of yelling, no running by the pool to a four year old and one year old. If I’m lucky, lucky, I do have a fruity beverage in my hand, I will respond to client emails Upon my return on 8/16.

And then another little, you know who to reach out to if you’re in crisis, or if there’s a bigger issue.

So I love these because not only are they fun, but every time I get them, I think Oh yeah, I totally don’t want you to answer my email, I want you to be you know, chasing your kids around the pool or you know, drinking your, your fruity beverage, whatever that is.

And so that’s a great way to ensure that even if people didn’t pay attention to you, and you mentioned that you’re, you know, going out of town, they get that reminder when they send that email or send that text message.

Then the last piece for getting ready for rest and recovery is boundaries.

I know I’m going through this quickly, I just want to touch on on these topics. But I could go into you know, whole trainings, I’m just eliminating, or simplifying or delegating or automating boundaries is the last one I’m adding to this. And this is something that I’ve personally struggled with. Even though I have a great system in place.

My processes are simple. I delegate pretty much everything that I don’t want to do. The turning off notifications or turning off apps, when you’re out of town, having a sub like a substitute. I know for me specifically, I don’t see clients. So I don’t have issues related to clients reaching out for crises when I’m gone. And I don’t have issues with staff in my group practice, they know who to reach out to, we have a good system of a leadership team, where staff knows who to go to.

For me, it’s it’s something that I’m working on myself is how to how to truly be able to be away and step away from the group practice exchange, because it’s just me, you know, I have VA s and a team of people who are doing things behind the scene. But most group practice owners who are in the Facebook group or a part of my membership, or who listen, you know, I’m the person that does everything.

And so I’m realizing this in how do I translate over what I’ve done in my group practice. As a group practice owner, which is such a big struggle for so many of us that I’ve been able to do really well. And honestly feel like I could go away for a vacation for a year, and my leadership team will have it going totally fine. It’s my little group practice exchange business that I’m now focusing on how do I ensure that I can actually have rest and recovery when I want it.

And I like I mentioned earlier, I recently had an incident where I realized I don’t have my process set up very well for the group practice exchange. I recently bought a summer home in Saugatuck, Michigan a few weeks ago. And we’re in the process every weekend so far going up there and just updating it, you know, fixing things up at the house and just trying to enjoy the last couple of decent weeks before it gets really cold. I realized that not last weekend, but the weekend before I you know had crises in the Facebook group. And even though I have moderators, and even though I have IP admins who are in there Monday through Friday, also moderating it doesn’t really cover the weekends.

It’s hard because other people have rest and recovery on the weekends as well.

I realized that I need to set up a better system that allows me to be able to actually take time off from from this business. That’s the process I’m going through whether it’s turning off notifications or apps, which I know is a big issue for business owners and leadership in general. Even if you have your systems in place in your group practice, being in this habit of just numbing yourself or tuning into apps like Facebook or Twitter or TikTok, or whatever it is that people are using. It’s taking time away from rest and recovery. I know it feels like rest and recovery. Maybe, you know, mindlessly scrolling through Facebook. But you know, as most of us know, these days, these apps are sucking out our, you know, emotional juices, you know, with all of the crap that they’re putting out there.

And so part of us recovery is being able to get off of those, whether it’s turning off notifications, or deleting the apps all together for the weekend. Really making it hard for you to work, whether that’s removing technology completely from the house, or the place that you’re going, that can be something that’s really helpful.

And making sure that you have a schedule, this is what I do. It helps kind of ease my anxiety about actually taking time off, is making a schedule for when you return to work. So if I think oh my gosh, you know, I’m not working right now, this weekend. And there’s so many things that are piling up, I make a list of what things might be coming up while I’m gone. And I make a schedule for how I’m going to tackle those things as soon as I return. So it feels like I have a plan for the things that I actually want to be dealing with on the weekend. And that is one of the ways that helps me really rest and recover.

So I hope you guys are able to find some time for rest and recovery, whether it’s for a day for a weekend for a week, for a month for a year.

Think about the things relating to eliminating things off of your plate before you go simplifying the process for your team. And for your clients. Who do they go to when you’re gone? And making sure that they actually know who those people are. Making sure you’re not being the decider, but actually delegating things to your team. And then making sure that they know when you’re gone, when are they supposed to reach out to you at what crisis point are they allowed to reach out to you so that they don’t come to you when they think that there’s a crisis but it really isn’t afford something that you think that could have waited until Monday, etc.

And then automating whether that’s by putting an auto responder, email and text message together so that as soon as people message you, that’s what they get. Then boundaries, setting boundaries. And that’s just for yourself. So I hope you have a good Monday and start planning that time away where you actually get time away.

Maureen Werrbach 

Thanks for listening to the group practice exchange podcast. Like what you heard? Give us five stars on whatever platform you’re listening from. Need extra support? Join The Exchange a membership community just for group practice owners with monthly office hours live webinars and a library of trainings ready for you to dive into. visit WWW dot members dot the group practice exchange dot com forward slash exchange. See you next week.

Thanks For Listening

Thanks for listening to the group practice exchange podcast. Like what you heard? Give us five stars on whatever platform you’re listening from. Need extra suppor? Join The Exchange, a membership community just for group practice owners with monthly office hours, live webinars, and a library of trainings ready for you to dive into visit www dot members dot the group practice exchange dot com forward slash exchange. See you next week.


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Maureen Werrbach is a psychotherapist, group practice owner and group practice coach. Learn more about her coaching services here:


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