Jennifer Rollin speaks with Melissa Robinson-Brown, Ph.D.
Jennifer: Tell me a little bit about yourself and your practice.
Melissa: I am a licensed clinical psychologist in New York and New Jersey as well as an educator, speaker, and health and wellness enthusiast. I have a fabulous partner who I’ve been married to for 12 years and I’m a mom of three little girls.
In my practice, Renewed Focus Psychology Services, PLLC, I serve women seeking to find a balance between feeling like a badass in
their professional life while also having meaningful personal relationships all while focusing on whole body wellness.
I also have a wealth of experience in helping teens and their parents deal with the huge emotions and transitions that often accompany adolescence.
Jennifer: What are some things that you find to be helpful when it comes to work/life balance?
*Working for myself and doing something that I love.
Working for myself allowed me to set my own schedule and work as much or as little as I wanted. Ultimately, this also shifted my mood and allowed me to be more present with my family.
* Mindfulness practice helps me to re-center and ground myself. It has also helped me recognize when things are not balanced.
* Organization and systems!! When things are automatized, you have to devote little to no time to it.
* Having one thing that’s only for myself. For me, that’s working out and exercise, but that one thing for myself keeps me grounded.
* Self talk – I often let myself know that it’s okay if things don’t work out perfectly. Or if sometimes the balance is off. There’s always an
opportunity to try to do it differently next time.
Jennifer: What are some ways that you recharge on a daily and weekly basis?
* Mindfulness practice as often as I can, but at least two to three times a week.
* Reading. I dedicate 10 minutes a night before bed to reading a book I enjoy.
* Good self-care in the form of a massage or a mani/pedi once every couple of weeks. It feels amazing to pamper myself and you can always find a good groupon!
* Time with my friends or a night out with my hubby! I feel alive when I can be an adult.
Jennifer: What are some things that you outsource in your practice?
Melissa: I have a virtual assistant (VA) (which I wish I would have had on board .from the beginning). She manages all of my calls/inquiries/e-mails etc and schedules consultation calls for me.
She checks all insurance benefits for me because I’m private pay, but sometimes people want to understand their insurance benefits
She edits any content I write for blogs etc.
She helps me find speaking engagements, craft e-mails to send, creates flyers for groups, projects etc.
I’ve also outsourced creative projects (i.e. logos, t-shirt designs).
Jennifer: What are some things that you recommend to clients who are struggling with work/life balance?
Melissa: Clear your brain clutter first. Take a moment to examine the things that are taking up space in your brain and either attend to them or let them go. Without brain space, it’s almost impossible to even make room to think about work/life balance.
Outsource things that take up your time unnecessarily (e.g. yard work, cleaning, laundry, cooking meals). If it’s within your budget, then try to outsource some of these things. If not, create systems to get these things done (e.g. laundry on Mondays, set meals on each day of the week like Taco Tuesdays).
Think about how you feel about your job and whether or not it makes sense to stay in your position. Do you like your job? Is it causing you more stress than enjoyment? Can you reach your goals in your job? No? Time to start job hunting.
Make self-care a priority!
Jennifer: How do you structure your therapy schedule?
Melissa: I see clients primarily on two days a week with one additional day for overflow (which usually means zero to two clients on overflow day). I also only work Tuesday/Wednesday with some Thursdays to have longer weekends. I see 12-16 clients over the course of those days. It makes for long days, but I also have much more time for my family and friends.
Jennifer: If you could go back and give yourself advice when you were first starting out in private practice, what would it be?
Melissa: I would give myself two pieces of advice. Get an assistant from the day I opened my doors. Setting up systems and
outsourcing things from the beginning helps to automatize your practice and make room for growth.
Quit my full-time job sooner. I was terrified to leave my fulltime high-level position for fear I wouldn’t achieve the same levels of success
in private practice. Looking back, I was holding myself back. Fear was getting in the way. It was calling the shots. Now that I work for myself,
my life is so much fuller and more satisfying!
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