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As a busy clinical practitioner, I used to feel there was rarely any time to think beyond my immediate moment to moment decision making. My clinic days would be full of assessments, treatments, calls to owners and bookings, note taking and then there was the disinfection and biosecurity for the centre and hydrotherapy suite.

Organising a time to think ahead and be proactive about my CPD plans and business management, was something I didn’t put in place formally for years. My reason was I felt I was just too busy! I spent most days firefighting, trying to achieve a work – life balance and rarely doing so.

TOP TIP – Do not wait until you catch up with everything, to then decide to engage in formalised thinking time. You may have had experiences of a business closure, for example due to Covid restrictions or ill health, or a slow month with reduced referrals sparking a worry about meeting bills. This may force you to stop and think more deeply about your business, which is a reactive approach and to do with business survival. This is very different to “proactive thinking time!”

Successful canine therapy businesses require multi-dimensional skill sets. These include clinical skills dovetailed with great solution making skills, professional development and business management.

“Research shows to sustain business success in the long term, you need to establish and maintain a good work – life balance.”

Canine therapy is an art and a science and interlinks to your specific practice ethos. This integrative approach aims for your business to provide a consistently high quality health care service.

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The art of thinking is being lost in our busy world as we often make work decisions reactively, hoping they lead to good results.

We know that therapists have developed reflective thinking skills as part of their problem solving abilities and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) commitment.

I’m suggesting to develop these reflective skills proactively for business and centre management too. I used to say I was too busy to block out time, how mistaken I was, as since using formal thinking time my productivity and successes have soared. An added bonus is I now feel well balanced and in charge of my time!

Practice of Regular Thinking Time

Experience has shown me how to optimise and future proof my own business pathway. I always schedule “time to think” into my calendar, or else I find it just doesn’t happen! This is a pre-booked time that is set aside and never cancelled or stolen for other work or home life needs.

For me, 30 minutes once or twice a week and an hour each month (towards the end of the month) is the time I actively review my work progress and actions. This is so much more than just following a checklist and is reinforced by my formal quarterly review, where I put my my updated action plan into place for the next quarter.

To maximise both business and personal productivity this dedicated thinking time is used to evaluate business progress, plan ahead, engage new ideas and recognise trends and changes in the canine health industry.

Since introducing this formalised process, my work productivity has noticeably increased and I have a greater overview of my current and future business goals and wishes. I am able to accurately track the trends and needs of the canine industry and as an influencer, this leads to more active engagement in areas I am passionate about.

“Reflection is a great clinical skill, as well as a business method to engage and advance both professional and business success.”

I am continually amazed this proactive analytical, creative and evaluative process has such a significant impact on my business productivity. I use to have a list based on my specific SWOT analysis, converting this to a proactive needs list. After a positive thinking course in the 1980’s, I replaced strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats with strengths, needs, opportunities and limitations. This was the first step for me to optimise my critical thinking skills and processes.

In the last few years I have engaged with the WOOP method and this has significantly empowered my business productivity and achievements.

WOOP has helped me reduce work stress, increase my work engagement and ideas, plus solve problems and find solutions to clinical based problems. My time management is overall so much better too!

To explore more about the WOOP method, I have added a couple of videos below for you to check out. I hope this helps you optimise your time management, increase your business productivity and support a well balanced work approach along your own canine career journey.

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