Are you preparing for, or have you already been, on your summer vacation? I hope so. Because you deserve one.
Yet, there are some chiropractors who are either afraid to take a break or think they can't afford one.
It's not true.
If you're a chiropractor in either camp, consider the following.
Chained to Their Adjusting Tables
Shunning vacations and time away from your normal routine to rest and recreate is quite expensive. Oh, you won't get an invoice in the mail. But you're likely to suffer a shortage of fresh thinking, new ideas and creative insight by not taking regular breaks. This is how feelings of "stuckness" get started.
You may not need a physical respite, but you need an intellectual and emotional break. Because your mind is far more valuable than your hands.
Related to this tendency of not taking a vacation is the deception that the number of hours you work determines your income. In other words, more hours mean seeing more patients. Which means more money.
It's true there are day laborers who trade their time for money. But this needn't be the case for a highly educated, professionally trained, licensed and insured health care provider.
Countless chiropractors working 20-hour weeks, regularly out-earn their peers who seem compelled to remain chained to their tables for 30-, even 36-hours or more a week.
Granted, there's much more in play than office hours.
But let's get back to your vacation.
Remember, fear occurs in the future. Fear is a self-created anxiety about something that hasn't happened. Probably won't. If you have a fertile imagination, you can conjure up all manner of fear. Permit me to refute some of the more common ones.
1. Patients will like the locum better. If you can find someone to step in for your patients while you're away, you might worry that patients will prefer your temporary replacement. Or dislike your fill-in and discontinue their care. Too risky? Then close the practice during your absence.
2. Patients won't return when I get back. If patients are looking for an excuse to stop their care, then your vacation will certainly provide a handy one. But let's be clear. Your vacation didn't create the patient drop out—it merely provided a convenient pretext.
3. You'll have to rebuild the practice when you return. Why go on vacation because you'll have to work twice as hard when you return? True, this can make a vacation not only unattractive, but forever unlikely. And if this is your go-to excuse, you may find the suggestion below helpful.
None of these are showstoppers. Especially when you consider that thousands of chiropractors take a week off every 90-days with quite positive personal and professional results. But it will require thinking about vacations differently.
If fear doesn't constrain you, then the financial implications might.
1. Miss the income. If you don't have an associate to throw the ball to, then yes, you'll have a voluntary, short-term paycheck moratorium. (It's why other than your skill and experience, time is your most valuable inventory.) That's why you'll make contributions to your vacation fund each week and commit to spending it.
2. Vacations are expensive. They can be. But they don't have to be. If you're new to this vacation thing, start with a staycation. Take a few day trips to local places that tourists travel great distances to visit. Visit the museums, parks and attractions within driving distance that don't involve passports. Pack a lunch if you must. The key is to place yourself in new situations, break the routine and not think of the practice.
3. Start delivering health care. When you fashion your practice into a pain relief clinic, you have a constant demand for new patients. You must replace those whom you've provided NMS first aid. Once-a-monther wellness patients can schedule their nonsymptomatic visits around your time away from the practice. Attract more of these and vacations are easier to take.
Before You Leave
The most common excuse for not taking a vacation is the work needed to get the numbers back up upon returning.
So, plan your practice promotions so they occur during the week you return.
Schedule your food drive, toy drive, coat drive, patient appreciation day or other practice promotion the week of your return. Leave the last-minute planning, social media posts, reminder emails and all the rest to your team to execute in the days leading up to your return.
In other words, do the planning in advance so your first week back will be amazing.
Send me a postcard.