Beating late night admin work

When I first started my practice back in 2006, I used to work during the day and then do the usual home duties like cook dinner, bath the baby, talk to my husband, do some washing, put the baby to bed, and then when all was settled, go and do my practice admin – it might have been ordering, writing client notes, preparing invoices…. And I did this for a number of years.  I speak to lots of practice owners who are not alone in this.  It is about what suits you, and for those who DON’T like late night admin, I have some tips for you!

Doing admin at night time can be a necessity for a few reasons. It might be because you can’t fit it into your already busy day, or it may be because you have chosen to have flexibility with your time and you get a productive spur on after dinner.  If it works for you and you like it – onwards you go with that.  If it is a drag and you would rather be watching Netflix or hanging with the family or doing something for yourself at that time. Read on my friend.  I have the following starting points:

  • Prioritise your tasks: Once you know where you spend your time, you can then start to work out the things you really need to be doing. Write all the tasks you do on a weekly basis or monthly basis and make one big list of everything you do – from ordering, phone calls, writing notes, bookkeeping, data entry, seeing clients etc.  Draw a column next to this list and call it ‘I need to do this task’, and then another column called ‘I can delegate this task’ and then another column called ‘I can automate this task’. Spend some time going through your list and ticking off in each column what needs to happen with that task going forward.

  • Get your diary organised: Now you know what tasks you need to do, so take those and get your diary and put them in. The first thing to do is plan your diary – when do you want to be working…. Put the hours in that you want to work in the day (not the night!). Then create a space for the tasks you need to do. If there is something that you need to do weekly – put it in the diary each week so it has a spot.  If there are specific times you will see clients, put that in, and any clinical notes or report writing you need to do. If it’s not in the diary, it is likely not going to be completed in the day – and you will be left still up doing admin at night!

  • Delegate the rest: What to do about the other tasks that don’t need to be completed by you? You can outsource these tasks, hire someone to do them, or delegate them to an existing staff member. You have lots of options and you will find that you can pay a lower hourly rate for someone who loves these admin tasks. It frees up your time to work on your billable hours in the day because you have offset non-billable hours to others.

  • Check your systems: in the first point above we added a column to the list called ‘I can automate this task’. Choose one item in that column and create a process that allows the task to happen without your manual input – it might be sending out confirmation emails, or replying to messages on Facebook, or sending SMS reminders.  Once you have set up this process for one task and it is working, move onto the next until you have made your way through the automated list of tasks.  The more you can streamline in this department, the more time you will have in the day.

If you need some additional help with the above (because the process itself to freeing up your time can be a large task in itself) then we are here to help. We offer mentoring to guide you through various aspects of running a practice, and we make it completely individual to your needs.  If you need someone to help you plan, stay accountable, and learn the know how to get things done, have a look over at our mentoring package.

Here’s to having your night time back!


Planning, Organising, Systems, Admin

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