As a practitioner in private practice, when was the last time you went on vacation?
I don’t mean taking a day or two off on a long weekend, or even a week at Christmas. I mean a legitimate vacation where you closed your computer, didn’t schedule any clients, didn’t touch a single piece of paper, case note, or invoice, and completely disconnected from work?
Since my first year of private practice, I’ve made it a point to do this at least once a year. Now, five years later, I take two week holidays at Christmas, one week in the winter, and one in the summer.
My 10-year goal is to take the whole month of July off!
So, what’s your five and 10-year goal for vacation time? When was the last time you fully disconnected from work?
One of the biggest questions I get from new entrepreneurs in private practice is, “How do you afford to do it?” Many of us are living month-to-month on the income from our caseload, still trying to pay off school debt.
But here’s the thing.
If you don’t take time off, you’re going to burn out. I’m not kidding! It happened to me in my first eight months of private practice. I didn’t take a break between my Master’s degree and starting my practice, and after about eight months of seeing roughly 20 clients per week, I was experiencing signs of burnout.
Right then and there I decided that my health, and taking time off, was more important than paying down debt (or even covering all of my monthly bills if it really came down to it!). I knew that if I didn’t figure out a way to take more vacation time, I’d wind up needing a whole lot more time off than I could afford. And without extended health benefits, that can be a pretty scary thing!
There are lots of different ways to plan for vacation time, financially. I recommend setting aside a percentage of your income each month—enough to cover about 4-6 weeks of vacation per year.
Or, determine what your monthly expenses are (personal, business, loans, etc.) and divide that number by 11 months. The amount you get is how much you’ll need to set aside each month in order to take one month off per year. You can use the same kind of formula in weeks.
However you decide to plan for a vacation, I suggest doing it from the very first day or month of private practice!
If you need help or have questions about how to structure your business or handle your businesses finances, feel free to reach out to email@example.com to book a one-on-one mentorship session!
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