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7 Time Management Strategies for Busy Physiotherapists

Uncategorized Aug 11, 2023

Time is the one thing nobody can never find enough of. Everyone is looking for ways to maximise what they have, especially in their professional lives, and client-based professions like physiotherapy that rely on filling a schedule have it especially hard. How do you help your existing clients, get all your notes and admin done, keep up your professional development needs, bring in new work, stay physically and mentally healthy, and keep the clinic lights on all at once? If you’ve ever asked yourself questions like these, then read on for our practical time management tips designed just for busy physiotherapists.

The Most Common Time Management Challenges

Before we can talk about what helps, it’s good to look at what most commonly hinders our ability to effectively manage our time. Commonly, these challenges can include:


  • Inefficient planning: While scheduling tools like Cliniko and Nookal can take a lot of the labour out of planning your day-to-day workload, it’s not a set-and-forget solution. If you’re not planning your treatment time effectively by making sure you are filling gaps in appointments, chances are you’ll be losing a chunk of it.
  • Prioritisation: Even if you are taking the time to review and rework your daily plans, if you’re not knocking out tasks in the most efficient order, you’ll be spending unnecessary extra time moving around tasks in your day. Prioritise in an order that minimises this extra work in order to smooth out your day.
  • Distractions: This is the one that you’ll definitely have heard before – but it still holds true. Phones, social media, emails, chatting with other clinicians, these things can all pull you away from the task at hand and make it take a lot longer. Set aside time in the morning or afternoon to check your phone and emails, and outside of those times, leave it alone.
  • Procrastination: This is the hardest one to solve. Everybody’s different, so you’ll need to find the strategy that works for you in defeating procrastination. Some find that listening to instrumental music helps; others, the pomodoro method; others still prefer hard deadlines. Experiment! And when you’re hands-on with clients, it’s definitely okay to be social, but don’t let that get in the way of a productive session.


Finding Your Time Management Solution

There are a number of strategies that have been developed for effective time management throughout the ages, and a number of them fit the bill for practising physiotherapists. Here are a few options that you can experiment with:


  • The Eisenhower Matrix method: This is an analysis method whereby you lump your tasks into one of four quadrant categories: urgent and important, important but not urgent, urgent but not important, or neither urgent nor important. This helps you better identify what really needs to be done, and when in your day you should do it. Prioritise urgent and important tasks first, leave not urgent and not important tasks until last.
  • Time Blocking: This is an organisational system whereby you group together similar tasks and achieve them in chunks throughout the day. For example, you may set aside 9am-1pm for working with clients, one hour for lunch, then a two hour block to write reports for third party payers.
  • The Pareto Principle: This is the idea that 80% of your results can come from 20% of your efforts. While identifying that 20% may also take some time, once you’ve found it, prioritising it effectively in your schedule can help you save a lot of time in your day. For example, when it comes to your marketing and promotion efforts, should you spend hours making a cool TikTok video that few people near you will see, or should you get on the phone and check in on a bunch of old clients?


And here are a few extra techniques and options to keep in mind while planning your schedules:


  • Delegate: Many of us feel otherwise, but it’s important to remember that we don’t have to do everything alone. Working in a clinic or practice means you may have colleagues who are there to help, and many hands make light work after all! If you’re overloaded with tasks, identify what may be able to be done by others such as the reception or admin team, then delegate that work to them (responsibly – there’s no use if they end up overloaded too!). 
  • Use technology: There are so many tools, apps, and processes out there for health and fitness professionals that they often just get lost in the noise, no matter how useful they might be! Calendars, to-do lists, time trackers, automation tools can help you stay on track. Digital assessment tools like AxIT can speed up your note taking and report writing with a single click of a button. Research and find what helps you.
  • Avoid multitasking: This sounds counterintuitive, but trying to achieve multiple tasks at once can often end up taking more time than focusing on one task at a time. Trying to answer emails while you have a client in the room isn’t going to work out – trust us.
  • Give it time: This might seem ironic in an article about managing your time effectively, but proper time management is a skill that takes time to learn! You’re very likely to fail a few times before you get it right, so don’t be too hard on yourself.


Proper time management is an invaluable skill for client- and schedule-focused workers like physiotherapists, and finding your sweet spot for planning and executing your schedule will see great knock-on effects in your professional and personal wellbeing. Let us know if any of our tips have helped you! And if you’re interested in more tools that can help you run an effective and modern physiotherapy practice, head over to today to learn all about what we have to offer.