Five productivity apps, to help grow your private practice.

We’re coming to one of my favourite times of the year – ‘back to school’ season.

Being a stationary geek means that nothing gets me more fired up for work than aisles full of highlighter pens and Moleskine cahiers. The arrival of school supplies in shops signals that it’s time for upping our work energy after the summer slump.

Do you remember the excitement you felt as a child on the morning of the first day back at school, and how great it was to greet friends and show them all your new ‘stuff’?

I want you to reconnect with that excitement about getting back to business and rekindling some new passion for growing your private practice in this new season.

This is another ‘back to school’ blog, about getting your private practice growth kick-started again.

Rather than kitting yourself out with lever arch files and a shiny new geometry set, let’s kick things off with some digital app recommendations, to help get you more productive.

Growing a successful private practice takes everyday steps, or little disciplines, that you need to weave into those odd spaces in the day. Here are some back to school desktop and smartphone tools to help you do this more effectively.

Pocket is a desktop and smartphone app, that helps you to store super useful web pages. Let’s imagine you’ve forgotten how to load up a video to YouTube that you want to link to your website.

Rather than bookmarking the relevant webpage or putting it into your already over-stuffed browser ‘favourites’ list, you can store it in ‘Pocket’. Pocket can be downloaded as an app onto your smartphone or added as an extension to Google Chrome.

Whenever you’re on a webpage that is particularly useful, and you want to nab it for posterity, all you need do is hit the ‘+Pocket’ button, and it will save it for you. Pocket has a ‘My List’ section, that you can dip in and out of to quickly reconnect with that page, and it’s laid out in easy to scan through a visual listing.

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Need to remember something or a task that you need to action when you’re busy and are bound to forget? What if you wanted to note down, verbatim, that question a patient had asked moments ago, that you know would make a killer blog topic?

Rather than trying to rely on your taxed brain to remember three hours later, why not email it to yourself? But that’s a faff, right?

Captio is a cool little small phone app, that’s elegantly simple. You tap once to open the app, type into a note ‘what it is that you need to remember’, and press send. Whoosh! Off it instantly goes to the mailbox you set up as a recipient.

And here’s how it shows up in your mailbox:

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Using a tool to schedule your social media tweets and LinkedIn posts, is a great way to ensure consistency in getting your message out there. ‘Buffer’ is a great little app, and so is ‘ContentCal’.

If you’re new to ContentCal, it’s a great way to plan out posts with visuals, so that they will be scheduled to ping out to the universe at times when you have your hands on a laparoscope.

It integrates with Facebook pages, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram, and there’s a nifty little analytics section so you can see how well your posts perform. It is a paid for app (if you wanted the ‘Bronze’ package, plus the analytics function, it would be £24 per month), but I think it’s value for money, and they have a two-week free trial.

It’s really intuitive to use so even self-declared digital Luddites will love it.

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If like me, you’re a visual planner (or someone who needs to keep their creative left-hand side of the brain happy), then ‘Mindmeister’ is mind mapping tool for turning a brain dumping session into ordered thinking.

For example: let’s say you wanted to plan out a lecture or build a little marketing plan for video or blog content. Rather than producing a snore-fest of a list in a Word doc, why not put it into a spider or flow diagram, that lets you map it all out logically?
It’s a brilliant way to avoid procrastination through overwhelm, and because it’s a web-based platform, you can work on your plans whenever there’s wifi.

It’s free for up to three ‘mind maps’, but for £4.99 per month, you can have unlimited apps, PDF exporting, and attach files and images to the maps. I first found this tool seven years ago and used it to go through my PMETB process – possibly the biggest administrative task I will ever have to endure, and it really helped me keep on track.

I’m currently using it to build out a course for clinicians (watch this space).

Try the free version for your next meaty project. You’ll love it.

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Whilst I love my smartphone for getting things done, it’s very easy to waste copious amounts of time. I’m talking dossing around on social media and pretending to ‘do marketing’ when you really should be writing that blog post or getting to grips with Google Analytics.

I’ll hold my hands up and say that I love my iPhone a little too much.

To help quell the urge to check my emails or IGTV account every eight minutes, I’ve been training myself out of the habit with ‘Forest’.
Because I don’t want to kill the trees.
Let me explain.

Forest is an app for digital addicts like me, and it’s a bit like a tool that combines the Pomodoro technique for productivity, with a Tamagotchi that doesn’t want to be played with.

When you want to get shi*t done:

Open the app and select how many minutes you’re going to stay away from using your phone.
This plants a tiny seedling tree, and whilst you’re working away, the little tree grows on the screen.
If you interrupt Forest (to go look up that webpage about those cute little swimming pigs in the Bahamas), the tree dies.

Think you won’t care. You’re so wrong.

You will actually start to care about killing your digital fake tree.

Through the imposed self-discipline, I guarantee you’ll become more productive, and soon you’ll grow an entire garden of trees. It’s like sending yourself off to your bedroom to do your homework.

Got twenty minutes? Start the timer, and you’ll be rewarded with a shrub. Do an hour’s focused work, and Hey Presto! You’ve got a redwood.

Forest sponsors ‘Trees for the future’, which means when you use the app, Forest helps plant real trees – which gives you warm fuzzy feeling as you’re bashing out that PowerPoint on the physiotherapy of post-op prolapse patients. Or whatever floats your clinical boat.

Get cracking with these digital tools and look out for next week’s Back to School installment for tips on growing your Private Practice.

Feel like you could do with some Private Practice business and marketing coaching? We can help with systems, gaining referrals, effective ways to work within social media and getting your GDPR compliance done and dusted. Please do not hesitate to contact us.

 

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