A Practice Notebook sounds simple, and it can make a big difference.

When I went into clinical practice, I realized quickly that I needed to learn a new skill set quickly: how to run a small business. Without the formal structure of school, it's hard to keep track of important information.

In today's episode, I talk about how I use a practice notebook to keep track of the most important things, and why keeping a "later list" has been such an important development. Enjoy! 

Helpful Links for Practitioners

Episode Transcript

Episode 46 | Why I recommend having a practice notebook - powered by Happy Scribe

Well, hi there. Welcome to in the clinic with Camille. My name is Camille Freeman. I am a licensed nutritionist and registered herbalist. And in this podcast I share little tips and tidbits that might be interesting or helpful for other practitioners.

When I first started my clinical practice, I realized very early on that I had no idea what I was doing and that my training was far from over. And in fact, I needed a whole new training now in terms of how to run a small business in addition to the clinical skills that I had already at least begun learning about at the time I started it. And so over the years, I have gone through lots and lots of different trainings. I've gathered different bits of wisdom and knowledge and understanding from different places. And pretty quickly, I also came to the realization that without the formal structure of school, it can be really challenging to find things. This is something I hear a lot from people in my Monday mentoring group as well. Like, how do we keep track of all of the bits and pieces of different information that we're gathering along the way when we're in practice? So I'm not going to answer that whole big question right now, but I do want to share with you one small strategy that has absolutely worked wonders for me since I implemented it. And this is something I recommend to everybody who's in either my roots or my grow courses.

Those are the Roots courses all about how to start your practice, how to get your business registered, how to get insurance forms, signing up, getting your website, all that kind of stuff. And then the grow course is about how to find more clients. And for people in both of those classes, and basically for anybody who has a clinical practice, I strongly recommend that you have a practice notebook. A practice notebook is nothing fancy. It is basically just a journal, a blank journal. Or you can use a blank word or Google document. Essentially, it's one place where you're going to put important things relating to your practice. Now, it is not formal. You don't need to have like, oh, there's one page on this and one page on that. It doesn't have to be nicely lettered, it doesn't have to be organized in any specific way. But the idea is that you've got one location where anything that you might need to refer back to as it relates to your practice goes. So I use just a free journal I got at a conference one time. It's probably, I think it's five by seven or something like that.

I have been using the same one for Gosh. I think I started it in 2019, and I've only used approximately I'm looking at it right now, approximately a third of it has been used. So that tells you something about how much goes in there. Not a lot. Essentially, I only put things in my practice notebook if they are key pieces of information that I'm pretty sure I want to reference over and over again when it comes to my practice. So just to give you a sense for what is in my practice notebook, I have in there the hex numbers, or I guess it's called a hex number that tells me what colors are used on my website as well as the fonts that are used on my website. I have a list of programs that I've thought about running, some ideas that I've had for courses I want to teach or programs I might want to do, topics that I want to talk about in a webinar at some point. I have a loose weekly schedule that I made in 2019, and now it's sort of laughable. I have outlines of some of the different programs that I have designed, kind of.

Week one, here's what we're going to do. Week two, here's what we're going to do. I have a list of the webinars that I've planned to teach or have taught in various years. I have a whole list of podcast topic ideas. This is one of them. I have a loose outline of my website in terms of which pages do I have or want to create and how do they fit together. I have some ideas for how to find new clients for myself. I'm just flipping through it to tell you what's in there. I have some notes from trainings that I've done over the years where I took notes separately, and then I copied the key ones into this notebook just, like, maybe one or two pages per a whole big workshop of important things that I want to remember. So, for example, I took a class about teaching, and there was a framework for how to teach anything. There was five parts, and I just copied that framework into here. I took a class about running Masterminds, and I have two pages of notes from that class that I copied in here, and so forth.

I also have a list of ongoing business expenses and so forth. So the reason this is helpful is because I look through it periodically, and I'm reminded, oh, okay, here's some of the key things about my business. Here's some of the things that I really wanted to do. Here's some ideas that I had about how to find clients. And, oh, yeah, that was a good idea. Why don't I circle back to that and so forth? However, one of the things I wanted to really emphasize with you today is just one page in this Journal, and it's actually close to being two pages now, but it's called the Later List. And this is a list of things that I know need to happen that I don't have either the time, the resources, the energy, the wherewithal, or what have you to do right now? So in the beginning of my practice, this was things like get this particular form notarized or hire somebody to make a logo for me, these types of things where I'm like, I want to do that, but I just don't think I can swing it at this particular moment. So write it down on the later list.

This is something that is important to me to do when the resources become available. And this has made so much of a difference for me because I know it's somewhere, it's not hanging over my head because I've written it down on the later list. And the later list, whenever I perhaps I'm starting to make a little bit more money or I've got a little bit of extra free time because my kids are going to camp or whatever it is. I'm like, okay. Let me look at the later list and see what have I been putting off until time, money, et cetera is available, and then I can go through and start checking off some of those things. But just knowing that I have it written down there and knowing that I'm going to come back and look at that and do some of the items on it every year makes a big difference for me. It's less stressful to run my practice when I've got everything in one place. And I know I have this later list to write down things that I intend to do and can't do right this very second. So I encourage you to have something like this, where you're just putting the most important things as a way to remind yourself as a reference for yourself later as you go through your practice.

And it's also really fun to look through and see like, oh, okay, in 2019, here is about my monthly budget. What I was thinking here's about how much I like to be picking, here's how much I'm spending, and then to look now in 2022 and see how different things are. So it can be a fun tool to look at your growth over time as well. So anyway, if you don't have a practice notebook, I really encourage you to get one, either electronically or a hard copy of some sort and give it a try. I think you'll find that it's really helpful and that it's comforting to know that there is one place where all of your key important information is living. When it comes to just the process of running your practice and your dreams, your vision, your alignment, the mission, the kind of work you want to be doing, the world, all that stuff can be living in one place to inspire you and propel you along from day to day. All right, I hope that was helpful. Have a wonderful day and I will.

Talk to you really soon.

~ More to Explore ~

Sign up for weekly Practitioner Notes from Camille.

Tips, resources, & encouragement for herbalists & nutritionists, delivered to your inbox most Thursdays.