BLOG: It’s all about balance!

It’s all about balance!

If you follow me on Facebook you will have noticed a theme on work/life balance as the New Year began.  It is something I feel strongly about as we all juggle so many hats (wife, mother, business owner, SLP, possibly adult caretaker).  Taking care of yourself is just as much of a priority as taking care of all of those other things.  Creating balance in your life helps reduce stress.

Meet Susie Harder, one of The Private Practice Coach’s clients. Susie is an amazing business woman who is the owner of a successful private practice specializing in treating children, teens and adults who stutter.

She is also a wife and mother of two young children, ages 4 and 1.

Today during our coaching call, Susie shared with me that she NEVER brings paperwork home from the office. As I thought back to all those Sunday afternoons writing reports, I asked, “How the heck do you do that?” She told me her secrets and I asked her to share them with all of you.

Yep—it all about carving out time for what’s important and…balance!


When I first decided to start my practice, it was driven by the idea of freedom.  My son was 1-year-old and I wanted my work hours to fit around my new role as a mom. I wanted to have a flexible schedule.

Then, I started my practice and it *was my life*.

After a year of drowning and feeling like I wasn’t being a great SLP OR business owner (or wife or mom), I started thinking through my original goal. I wanted to be a GREAT SLP. I wanted to grow my clinical skills and offer clients the most refreshed and energized version of myself.  I also wanted my family to be a priority. I wanted to look forward to being home with my kids and husband (not feel exhausted like it was a chore to come home).  I wanted to look forward to weekends (without giant chunks of time set aside for business/paperwork).  I had done all the hard work to get my practice started, but I wasn’t loving this new version of life.

Fast forward two years and I can happily say I have found balance.  Not every day.  Not 100%, but since I’m a speech-language pathologist and our goals are always measurable and manageable, I would say I’m able to manage stressors and stay balanced with at least 80% accuracy. Goal met!

My biggest change.  I don’t take paperwork home.

The best way for me to have a clean house is to take a report home. When I take that client file home, I like to do *everything else* besides writing the report. The floor that didn’t seem so dirty definitely needs to be swept. And let me make sure the dishes are done so I can focus.  Oh! And the kids’ laundry.  Oh, and wait I need to….

I also liked to cart lots of files with me everywhere, with the idea that I’d have a magical pocket of time to tackle that report I didn’t get to this week.  I ALWAYS had files in my bag as my never-ending work “to-do list”.  And if I was enjoying playtime with my kids or well-deserved downtime after they went to bed (well, just kidding, that chunk of time didn’t really exist), I would think about how I *should* write that report.  I wouldn’t always do it, but I’d invest time *thinking about doing it* and in a way, feel guilty that I didn’t do it.

What I have transitioned to My work bag is not a file cabinet.

Now, I simply don’t allow myself that weight at home.  When I’m at home, I want to be present. It’s not easy given our constant connection to work through emails and notifications. I have to continually evaluate what’s working and what’s not working to help me stay present during my time at home. BUT, now I do have magical pockets of time! Those moments are filled with building train tracks and puzzles with my 4-year-old. They are filled with playing chase and being silly with my 1-year-old. They are filled with time to chat with my husband.  They are filled with no-tech quality time. (I keep my phone on the charger so I’m not even tempted to read work email.)

I work hard during the day (and give my clients all I can) and then come home to give my kids all that I have.  After that, I don’t want an added “to do”.  I want a feeling of accomplishment. I want to re-charge. I want to reconnect with my husband.  I want to choose what I do with my time, not feel forced into one more thing to do. I want to enjoy the work I’ve done that day and BE DONE for a little bit before the next day starts.

Sadly, the paperwork doesn’t just go away, but I complete it all AT WORK. Sometimes, I go in early. Sometimes I go to my favorite coffee shop before clients (or during an afternoon break) and give myself a deadline to finish it before I go back to the office. When I can, I schedule evaluation sessions with 1-2 hour pockets of writing time the same or next day, so I can sit down right away to write a report (which also means it’s fresh in my mind so it doesn’t take me as long). Every so often, I stay late after clients, order dinner, and sit and type at my office until 9:00. It still has to fit somewhere, but now that I guard my time at home, I find create other times to do it. By comparison, I am much more efficient with my time writing at work because I sit there until it’s done, and DO NOT allow myself the option of taking it home.

It’s a promise I have made to myself, my husband, and my family.  In the beginning, I shared my idea with my husband, so he could keep me accountable. It also meant that my husband was more likely to view my late nights or early mornings as meaningful, not just extra hours that I’m gone. It also meant that if I snuck a work file in my bag to do a report or record invoices during my daughter’s nap, he could call me on it!  Once I acknowledged that the ultimate goal of building a practice was to be present at work AND at home, it became something my husband and I could figure out together. (Shout out to my amazingly supportive husband, by the way!)

My 4-year-old son’s New Year’s Resolution was “to do lots of playing with mom and dad”. So far, we’re doing a good job helping him keep his resolution. And I feel like I can find joy in all aspects of my life by being intentionally being present.


Renee Matlock, the owner of The Private Practice Coach, shares with clients her wealth of experience, gained over 30 years of building a profitable, multi-disciplinary private practice.
Ready to take the next step toward a thriving practice?

Contact Renee today!