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Hey, welcome back y’all.
I’m excited to be talking with Uriah Guilford again today. You might recognize Uriah as the owner of The Productive Therapist, which is a virtual assistant company specifically for mental health folks. Uriah was also on the podcast the first time about a year ago right before the pandemic started. And it was great to [00:01:00] have him back.
We again had a very dynamic conversation. We covered so much in this episode. I honestly had a hard time titling this episode because we just cover so much ground, but a couple of themes that come up were how VA companies can specifically support testing psychologists and we talked about the differences between testing practices and therapy practices, and kind of brainstormed some ways that a VA can be helpful. We talked about email management and Uriah’s recent deep dive into managing email and some materials he put together to help with that. We also dig into imposter syndrome and additional streams of income. And we mentioned so many tech tools during this episode. The show notes are very rich with resources from everything that we talked about.
So, [00:02:00] even if you are completely set up with virtual support or admin support and your practice is running super smoothly, I think that you will still take a lot away from this conversation just because Uriah is such a dynamic personality, and we just have great discussions when he comes on. So hope you enjoy it.
If you are an advanced practice owner, or soon to be, or hopeful advanced practice owner, I would invite you to begin to consider the Advanced Practice Mastermind Group from The Testing Psychologists. This is a group coaching experience that I facilitate. It’s meant to provide support and accountability in reaching the goals that you have for your practice.
So this is the group for those who might be considering hiring or hiring more, producing additional streams of income, people who are ready to move into more of a CEO mindset and a group practice versus just a solo practice. So if any of [00:03:00] that sounds interesting, you can get more info at thetestingpsychologists.com/advanced and see if it’s a good fit.
Okay. Let’s get to my conversation with Uriah Guilford.
Dr. Sharp: Hey, Uriah, welcome back.
Uriah: Hey, good to be on the show again.
Dr. Sharp: Yes. I can’t believe it. I was looking back at the last episode and it was over a year ago just before the entire world changed. So it’s an interesting kind of booking to come back.
Uriah: That’s quite a reflection, isn’t it?
Dr. Sharp: Yes, it is. I mean how things shifted in your work over the [00:04:00] past year.
Uriah: Gosh, so much has happened, but one of the things that I’m super grateful for and didn’t even know that I was positioned well for was already owning and running a virtual business. It turned out to be great for me and for my team. Everybody was already working at home, all the virtual assistants supporting the therapy practices which is what we do here at Productive Therapists, that business has grown significantly.
And I was worried for a minute, just like everybody was because we saw a ton of therapy practices being impacted, March, April, May of 2020. And I was concerned. I wasn’t sure if they would need our services anymore, what was gonna happen, but then as you’ve seen, I’m sure too, the need for mental health services has only just skyrocketed. And so the need for support, for administrative support specifically, has also gone up with that. And so I’ve been super pleased that we’ve been able to [00:05:00] grow and expand to a larger team, support more practices across the country. It’s honestly been really good.
Dr. Sharp: That’s great to hear. Yeah, I wondered about that but at least in my community and audience, I’ve seen so many requests for assistance. It works in tandem. People get busier and they’re like, “Ah, I need help. I need help.” So that’s great to hear.
Uriah: It is.
Dr. Sharp: And you said that you’ve been working with a lot more testing practices over the past several months too, is that right?
Uriah: Yeah, I was on this fantastic podcast and then all of a sudden the listeners started getting in touch.
Dr. Sharp: Yeah, what exactly?
Uriah: I don’t know how that works. You have a loyal following.
Dr. Sharp: I have a great audience. That’s cool.
Uriah: Now, it’s been terrific. And it’s been an interesting adjustment for us to be able to support the unique needs of testing psychologists- group practices as well as solo practices.
And so, we’ve been able to, I think we’ve got, I don’t know, maybe four or 5 or 6 right now. [00:06:00] And so we’ve got several VA’s who we’ve basically trained along the way to meet the needs of those practices. And it’s been pretty great.
Dr: Sharp: That’s really cool to hear. I want to dive into that and just the nuances of supporting a testing practice and what you see from your side. But just for anybody who didn’t hear our first episode, tell us a little bit about The Productive Therapist, what you do, the whole VA ecosphere, what are we looking at here?
Uriah: So we are the premier virtual assistant solution for therapists and that’s not my tagline.
Dr. Sharp: That was good. I was totally on board with it.
Uriah: Actually our tagline is world-class virtual assistants for busy therapists.
Dr. Sharp: Great.
Uriah: So yeah, we provide virtual administrative support in basically three areas. It’s phone support and scheduling- so virtual intake coordinator, and then also a ton of things we handle under the category of general administrative support- all kinds of things and some unique things for testing psychology practices, and then thirdly, we also handle digital [00:07:00] marketing for a ton of the practices that we support which is primarily focused on social media and blogging. We actually are doing post-production on some podcasts now which is exciting. Email marketing is a big one that we do too.
Dr. Sharp: That is fascinating. I always forget that third component that you do the social media marketing. And now you’ve got my interest peaked with podcast editing. That’s wild. So, tell me a little bit about that side of things, that third piece. When you say social media and marketing and blogging, what does that look like exactly?
Uriah: That’s the part of the business that we’re focused on growing the most right now. I’m always seeing therapists that are interested in getting some help with those tasks because they have a message and they have things that they want to share. Obviously, they want to promote their services, but they may not be inclined to really do the marketing themselves. And so getting some support with that is really nice, especially if it’s not like really in your wheelhouse like you don’t wake [00:08:00] up wanting to craft an amazing Instagram post, like that’s me, honestly. So, I outsource all my social media for my two businesses to my team, you might as well.
There are parts of digital marketing that we don’t do. We don’t do paid advertising. We don’t do SEO. We don’t do some of those other things. So we just focus on what we are uniquely good at.
Dr. Sharp: I see. So are you at the point where you are choreographing TikTok dances for therapists? Because I think there’s a market there.
Uriah: My daughters, I should bring them in as coaches and consultants for therapists TikTok dances.
Dr. Sharp: For sure.
Uriah: Yeah, I think I have two. If you search for my name on TikTok, you’ll find me dancing, but mostly my kids.
Dr. Sharp: I will definitely link that in the show notes. Okay. Noted. Yeah, it’s funny. That’s an area that a lot of therapists I [00:09:00] think, feel like they should be doing but don’t necessarily know how to do. So you’re talking Facebook posts, Instagram posts, anything else?
Uriah: It’s primarily those two.
Dr. Sharp: That makes sense. That sounds good. Well, I’d love to dive into the nuances of supporting testing psychologists. It sounds like you’ve gotten some perspective on that over the last year or so.
Uriah: Absolutely. And I have questions for you too.
Dr. Sharp: Of course. Yeah.
Uriah: Because I wanted to come on your podcast and do some research. I’m not kidding.
Dr. Sharp: Okay.
Uriah: You’re the man.
Dr. Sharp: It goes both ways.
Uriah: One thing that I found is that it seems extra challenging for testing psychologists to find quality administrative support that is already ready to do the tasks that they need to do for that practice. And I’m actually curious to hear from you what you found along those lines too because we’ve hired a ton of virtual assistants over the last [00:10:00] year even, and we’ve never come across a candidate that has already done the work supporting a testing psychologist practice and is ready to go. So by and large, we’ve had to give them the training, to do some on-the-job training and those kinds of things. What do you notice about that?
Dr. Sharp: Yeah, I completely agree. Just speaking with practice owners through coaching and in our own practice, it takes a long time to onboard an admin assistant in our practices. I think with both of our admin staff, it took easily three months to feel like they were anywhere up to speed to be able to answer phone calls, do the scheduling and just handle all the little ins and outs of the testing process. So, yeah, I’m completely on board with that.
Uriah: Three months is a long time to onboard to get to the place where the practice owner is not having to do so much.[00:11:00] Dr. Sharp: Right. That’s a lot. And most of us, it’s like couples therapy, right? Like couples don’t reach out until they’re in crisis and it’s probably too late. And that’s how it is I think with getting admin support. It’s like, we all hit the wall and get overwhelmed and then reach out. And it’s like, Oh, now I don’t have time.
Uriah: It’s so true. People often ask me, how do I know if I’m ready for a virtual assistant or just an administrative assistant in general? And I usually say, if you’re asking that question, you’re ready. And similar to marriage counseling, it’s better to get it in place before you need it because there is a point, I’m not going to say a point of no return by any means, but we’ve noticed over the last two years that when we onboard with new therapists and they are already super overwhelmed, super disorganized, and don’t really have anything kind of dialed in in terms of procedures, it just takes longer and it’s harder and it’s stressful.
Dr. Sharp: Right. That’s an interesting question that I go back and forth on. So when [00:12:00] you’re onboarding a new psychologist or a clinician, do you find it helpful for them to already have some processes and systems in place, or do you like to kind of start from the ground up and help them build those systems?
Uriah: By large, the whole process is smoother if the practice already has systems dialed in and we can generally adapt to those systems and then tweak them and improve them with everything that we’ve learned over the last five years. It’s a night and day experience for the virtual assistant coming on board with a practice that is starting from the ground up, which is fine. I mean, that’s okay. You have to start where you are no matter what that point is. But the more you’ve already got in place, the better.
So, right now, anybody listening to this, if you don’t have a virtual assistant or administrative support and you think maybe now’s not the time, but maybe in 6 months, 12 months, et cetera, start the [00:13:00] process now of documenting all of your policies, procedures, all your standard operating procedures, call scripts, anything you can think of with the goal in mind to have somebody to take that over for you at some point. I think that makes a lot of sense.
Dr. Sharp: Yeah. Do you have any ideas or tips on how to go about that process? I think people get overwhelmed even thinking about how to take all that information from their brain and get it somewhere else. That’s a very broad question. You could tackle how to logistically approach that task down to software or dictation, or like, do you write it on paper? How do you even go about that whole thing?
Uriah: I always like to start simple. So just open up a word doc or a Google doc and create an outline of all the things you think you might need to put down or to train somebody about. [00:14:00] And then just start filling it in. And then you can go from there all the way to some fancy software that I’m actually starting to use now. Something like Waybook, or Trainual, or Process Street, which is basically process management software that allows you to document in detail every process that you have in your business and then have people go through those processes and verify that they’ve gone through them.
So you can start from very simple to very complex. That’s what I would recommend. And also just a shout out to Casey Compton. She’s a therapist group practice owner and a consultant, and she has a program called SYSTEMIZER SCHOOL. I believe that’s correct. And so she teaches and walks therapists through developing and refining their systems. That’s kind of her superpower.
Dr. Sharp: That’s super cool. I see a lot of her marketing stuff and of course, I’ve met her two times.
Uriah: Nice. She’s got a new book coming out too, which is cool.
Dr. Sharp: That’s right. Yeah, she’s got a lot going on.[00:15:00] Uriah: For sure. I know there are some thoughts there.
Dr. Sharp: That sounds good.
Uriah: It occurs to me just last year we started a program called Therapy Intake Pro, which is basically a training and support program for intake coordinators. It’s actually a fantastic program. We’ve got 37 intake coordinators in there. We just met with them this morning. The pitch there is like, “Hey, you hire somebody, we’ll train them for you. And we’ll provide ongoing support for them to answer all the questions, the nuances of that role.” So something like that could be really helpful for testing psychologists too where it’s like, we’ll train your admin on the specific things needed for that role. It could work.
Dr. Sharp: It could work.
Uriah: It could work. Or you and I should do something together and put that out there.
Dr. Sharp: There we go. Well, you asked that question originally about finding admin support for a testing practice and I’d be lying if I said that I’d never thought [00:16:00] about trying to do something with that, like training admin staff for testing practice. I just don’t know where it would go from there, but maybe the…
Uriah: You know there’s a need though, right?
Dr. Sharp: Well, sure. Yeah, it is tough and it’s different than a general therapy practice.
Uriah: Definitely. One of the advantages that we have now is that we have a number of virtual assistants that have done that work and are currently doing that work so we can bring in new virtual assistants and have them cross-train with those other VAs which is unique to our business model. Other people listening to this podcast probably don’t have that luxury, but that’s what we do.
Dr. Sharp: That’s really cool. I’m curious what you have found or noticed or observed or heard from working with testing practices. What do you see from your side that’s different with testing practices or like different needs, things that [00:17:00] stand out with us versus therapists?
Uriah: Obviously, the intake procedures are more layered and nuanced, right?
Dr. Sharp: Right on.
Uriah: Tell me if this is incorrect, but most testing psychologists, or a lot of them, not most, a lot of them provide testing services and then therapy as well, or they do the testing and then they have other therapists that work in the practice that do the therapy. Is that pretty true?
Dr. Sharp: I think a lot of people have kind of a mixed model. Yeah.
Uriah: Right. That makes sense. So the standard intake process for therapy is got another couple of layers on it for the testing. So that’s one thing. Then policies and procedures are… there’s just more to share. It seems like there’s more of a lengthy process from initial phone call to initial appointment. There’s just more that has to be done with the paperwork and the various protocols. So that’s one of the things that I noticed for sure.
Dr. Sharp: Yeah, that seems to be one of the biggest things on my side too in terms of training [00:18:00] and just getting psychologists on board with this whole process. That’s where it’s hardest to communicate how to do this because so many of us… I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but it seems like psychologists have even more of that idea that we are the only ones who can sell testing and it’s hard to have an assistant do that especially if that person doesn’t know testing, right?
Uriah: 100%. I have an opinion on that because we’ve seen some of the testing psychologist practices that we support still want to do the intake. Well, they still want to do the consultation call, whatever you call that. It makes sense because of all the nuances, right? And it does seem like it’s a little bit more difficult to hand over that role and trust that somebody else can do it. My opinion is that nobody can do what you do as a testing psychologist. That’s why you’re highly paid and highly valued. [00:19:00] But the right person in that role with the right training and systems can do almost all of that first phase. And that’s really where the time saving is from having administrative support really.
Dr. Sharp: What are you seeing when you say the first phase? What role is included in that?
Uriah: Honestly, you know more about that than I do. I’d have to talk to my team because they do the work and I just organize it from above.
Dr. Sharp: Right.
Uriah: Not to make myself sound like a puppet master, but as far as the ins and outs of the day-to-day stuff, I don’t actually know them as much about that as certainly you do or my VAs do.
Dr. Sharp: Right. I remember us talking in the first podcast, I don’t know if it was during recording or not, but that whole idea of setting up an intake phone call or an intake screening so that people aren’t just trying to answer the phone [00:20:00] when it happens or over…
Uriah: With the online scheduling?
Dr. Sharp: Yeah, online scheduling. And that’s been super helpful. But it really gets to that idea that we can have an admin assistant field phone calls as they come in and still funnel those phone calls into pre-scheduled consultation times for us, right?
Uriah: For sure.
Dr. Sharp: I just want to make that clear to people. You don’t have to totally turn over the whole Intake process. You can just have somebody help you schedule that intake process.
Uriah: I totally agree. Yeah, that’s super helpful.
Dr. Sharp: Yeah. Let’s see. As you have worked with more of these testing practices, have you noticed folks… are your VA’s helping with sending questionnaires out or anything like that, like some of the behind-the-scenes admin work in the testing practices?
Uriah: Definitely. We have one super-competent VA who almost [00:21:00] all of her time is used up with one very busy testing practice. And that practice owner has trusted her so much that she’s done a whole bunch of things that are kind of beyond the usual routine things. I believe if I’m not mistaken, she was doing the parent-child interviews. Like she got specific training from the psychologist to do a big portion of that initial interview. I don’t know, you probably have questions, I might have some questions about that too, but apparently, it was going really, really well. And then since I think she handled that back off to another psychologist in the practice. But apparently, it was going super well.
In my mind as a business owner and I’m not obviously a testing psychologist, but the more competent the person, the more you can hand over to them. I think it’s good to start simple and then grow the responsibilities of the person in that role as they demonstrate their [00:22:00] capabilities and as you trust them more to give them more of that process to handle.
Dr. Sharp: Yeah, of course. Well, my hope is always that people kind of Wade into the VA process slowly, but then it becomes kind of a snowball. The more you figure out how to hand off things, the better it feels. And then it’s just sort of self-sustaining.
Uriah: For sure. I have a delegation addiction.
Dr. Sharp: That’s a good way to. Yeah, exactly. That is what it is.
Uriah: That’s what my kids tell me. They’re like, “Why are you always telling us to do things?” Like wait, I was just delegating you for this. I actually had them stuffing envelopes for… I have a program where I sent out a print newsletter actually.
Dr. Sharp: I saw that.
Uriah: I pay my daughter to stuff envelopes for me. That’s great.
Dr. Sharp: That’s super cool. It’s funny. I was talking to my son the other day. I think he asked out of the blue for whatever reason, he edits YouTube [00:23:00] videos for you. He has this little YouTube channel and he asked about podcast editing and it became a not crazy possibility that he might start to edit my podcast because he’s like a master at iMovie and I’m like, well, GarageBand isn’t that much different, I guess. He’s messing with audio and all that stuff.
Uriah: That’s great anyway. One of the best hires I made last year was an amazing woman who’s a freelance copywriter for a number of years, and she happens to have a background in video production specifically for YouTube. I couldn’t have done a better job recruiting this person if I had tried it. It was kind of a happy accident. And so she’s actually handling all my post-production for my podcast and also just improving it and marketing it even better. So that’s pretty cool.
Dr. Sharp: Oh, that’s incredible. It all just speaks to if you find the right person and you trust that person. There’s so [00:24:00] much that you can get done. That’s great.
Uriah: And I always think about, you know, no matter who you are, what kind of therapist you are, you should focus your time and energy and attention on the things that you’re uniquely skilled to do, and that brings the highest value, that are really your highest contribution. And for most of us, it shouldn’t be admin tasks. It shouldn’t be charging credit cards, sending forms, even podcasts editing, or whatever social media. Those are not likely to the things that you should be doing unless, and there’s a caveat to that. Like, If you love it and you want to do it, go for it. Right?
Dr. Sharp: Sure.
Uriah: You should do the things that you love to do. And in my mind, that’s being successful when I get to choose to do certain things because I want to, right?
Dr. Sharp: Yeah. I think that’s a place a lot of us get mixed up is conflating love to do with feel obligated to do.
Uriah: Sure. What do you think are some of the things on the shortlist [00:25:00] of I feel obligated to do this as a testing psychologist that I probably shouldn’t be doing?
Dr. Sharp: The phone calls for sure and that initial selling the testing services- describing what we do and how it’s unique. I think a lot of us get stuck in sending questionnaires and thinking that we have to do that. Let me see. I mean, even gathering a certain amount of patient information I think is something that we feel like we have to do, but basic information, somebody else can handle that. What else? Billing even. I don’t know, maybe there’s research around this, I don’t know it, but we handle larger balances typically than a lot of other practices. And so, feeling like we have to have our hands on the finances a little bit more. So those are just a few things that come to mind.
Uriah: Yeah. And I’m really good at sending out questionnaires, [00:26:00] but that’s not what I should be doing.
Dr. Sharp. No, that’s really not. And yeah, any of those things. We’ve talked about a lot of things, the marketing, the blogs, the copywriting, all those things. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
Uriah: The framework that I’m always talking about and I hope people are getting sick of it because it’s that important is the three keys to productivity. There’s a lot of productivity frameworks, but this one is one that particularly resonates with me and organizes things for me. And the three keys are: eliminate, automate and delegate.
Obviously, anything you can take off of your schedule or your calendar, your to-do list and you don’t have to handle it, that’s better for you. And then anything you can automate with technology is a huge win. And we’re getting further and further with that with some of the tools coming out, right? Like we were chatting about earlier. And then delegate, obviously anything that you can have somebody else who’s a pro at that handle for you. It’s[00:27:00] just going to leverage your time so much more.
Dr. Sharp: Right. Are you a Michael Hyatt fan? I can’t remember.
Uriah: Yes, and that’s where I got that framework.
Dr. Sharp: Okay. I was like, “That sounds very familiar.” Yeah, I think from one of his books, but that’s a good framework to look at.
Uriah: There’s a handful of bands and a handful of authors that I automatically just click pre-order on. Michael Hyatt is one of those. Don Miller is up there too along with The Red Hot Chili Peppers. I’m dating myself a little bit there, but you know,
Dr. Sharp: It’s all good. I think we’re still in the target demographic for the The Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Uriah: Dave Matthews band.
Dr. Sharp: Okay, sure, we could keep going. Yeah, that was great. I’ll put a little bit of info for him in the show notes as well because I really appreciate it.
Uriah: A question for you on the automation side and you were talking about questionnaires, [00:28:00] I’m sure there are better ways to collect information from folks upfront. Because I know a lot of testing psychologists practices are still heavily weighted on paper when they should or could go to digital. Are there good tools out there for that?
Dr. Sharp: Yeah, the first one I think about is IntakeQ. I’m sure you know IntakeQ. We leverage IntakeQ quite a bit. So there’s just general demographic forms and consent forms and things like that that you can send out to people as part of a packet. But then we have combined IntakeQ and TextExpander. Do you know TextExpander?
Uriah: One of my other favorite tools. Yes.
Dr. Sharp: Okay. I know this is why we get along so well. So we combine IntakeQ and you can create a custom URL for specific forms. And then we just pop that into TextExpander.
So, if [00:29:00] we need to shoot off an ROI real quick, we just hit the snippet and it sends it. Or the other piece that’s specific for testing folks is that IntakeQ has the capability to even build two questionnaires that are open source, that are free. You can build the questionnaire in IntakeQ and it’ll even score it for you if you set it up the right way and you can send those questionnaires out in addition to your office paperwork and such.
Uriah: So if I am understanding you correctly is, so with IntakeQ which a lot of the practices we support use, you can create those forms obviously, and the form has a unique URL, and then you auto-expand that using TextExpander?
Dr. Sharp: Yeah.
Uriah: Ah, okay, clever. I like that. That’s good.
Dr. Sharp: Yeah, it’s super cool. So let’s see, that’s a big one that we use. What else? I don’t know, IntakeQ and Google Workspace kind of run our [00:30:00] practice. We have been, what have we been messing with? We were talking about […]. We haven’t used it a whole lot, but I’m excited about that. There was another one. Oh, we use Acuity a lot. We really dive into Acuity’s features and I think leverage that pretty strongly to just schedule.
Uriah: Do you use that to schedule everything for testing as well or do you use something else?
Dr. Sharp: We use Acuity for scheduling the initial intake calls. So we kind of moved away from that model… I got this from you actually, …from trying to answer every call live when it comes in and we funnel everyone to schedule what we call like an intake screening via Acuity. So our admin team just has 15 or 20-minute blocks throughout the day when people can jump in.
Uriah: It just works so well, doesn’t it?
Dr. Sharp: It does. It’s awesome.
Uriah: And it’s a nice way for a practice to scale with, [00:31:00] without a huge amount of admin support because otherwise, if you’re trying to juggle the phone, answering the phone live while you’re doing billing or sending questionnaires or doing all those things, it creates a better workflow when it’s scheduled and it’s on the calendar and the potential client has the ability to part of that on their own, really nice.
Dr. Sharp: Yeah, exactly. We’ve even leveraged Acuity for scheduling group screens for the therapy side of our practice. And you can build in a lot to Acuity. You can gather insurance info, get patient demographic stuff. So it’s been great.
Uriah: Yeah, it’s nice that Acuity and ScheduleOnce are HIPAA compliant. So you can do that without having to worry about that part of it.
Dr. Sharp: Yes, exactly. So those are just a few tools that we’ve been using that really help.
Uriah: That’s great.
Dr. Sharp: I wish that we had a better system for sending [00:32:00] out the copyrighted questionnaires like the standardized questionnaires that we use, but it’s all fragmented across the different publishers.
Uriah: How do you send them out currently?
Dr. Sharp: So our admin team, basically, our psychologist will send a task via Asana. I’ll just mention that as well. So we send an Asana task and the admin goes into each individual platform, it generates a specific link for the person to follow to complete that specific questionnaire. So we copy and paste those links from all these different platforms and just compile them into one email that we send out via just our email system.
Uriah: So all the questionnaires are digital and not on paper?
Dr. Sharp: Right.
Uriah: But you have to manually gather those links and send them into a custom email, right?
Dr. Sharp: Right.
Dr. Sharp: Because at least for us, some practices might be [00:33:00] different, but at least for us, we’re working with, I think, three separate test publishing platforms to distribute the questionnaires that we’d like to send out. And so we have to go into each one manually and generate those links.
Uriah: Is that a unique link for that one person, or is it a general link?
Dr. Sharp: No, it’s a unique link for each respondent.
Dr. Sharp: I know.
Uriah: I was going to say, just create a templated email with all the links and then you can just remove the ones you don’t need, but it sounds like that won’t work for that process.
Dr. Sharp: Yeah, maps to each client.
Uriah: Well, you can’t automate everything as much as we think.
Dr. Sharp: Yeah. What about you? What have you been doing? I know you’re deep in technology. What are some tools you found to automate some processes in your work?
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All right, let’s get back to the podcast.
Uriah: Let’s see. So you named two of the ones that I liked the most, which are: Acuity- I use ScheduleOnce very similar feature set there, and then TextExpanders- one I can’t live without, [00:35:00] And then Boomerang for Gmail is one that I still use even though Google has added some of the features to Google Workspace.
Dr. Sharp: Okay. Why do you keep boomerang when some of those features are… like, what’s it offer above and beyond what Gmail does?
Uriah: A couple different things. It’s got this nice, and honestly, I hope Google just adds all the features so that I can just use the baked-in ones. But it’s got a pause inbox feature which is really nice to basically stop the incoming flow of email for a period of time that you can designate so that you’re not distracted. I don’t know about you, but I tend to spend way too much time in my email because I’m managing a team of therapists and I’m managing a team of virtual assistants. And if I’m not careful, I can just be tied to my computer and my email all day long.
So yeah, Pause Inbox is super nice. And then the other thing that I use is the [00:36:00] basically, Schedule Send, which Google does have. I don’t need to get into the nuances of why you use one over the other necessarily, but I like the boomerang feature better because if you schedule send in Gmail, you can see that you’ve got emails. Iit’s kind of hard to describe it on a podcast without a visual. But the boomerang version works a little bit better for me.
Dr. Sharp: Got you. That’s great. Actually, I did a trial of Superhuman. Have you seen it?
Uriah: I just saw that.
Dr. Sharp: Yeah. So this is… what would I call it? …an email management tool that works with Gmail specifically. I had really high hopes for it but it honestly didn’t offer a whole lot of functionality above Gmail. Like if you’re a pretty good Gmail user. It looks pretty, which is always nice.
Uriah: It does. And their marketing is really good.
Dr. Sharp: Their marketing is really good. It totally got me.
Uriah: I’ve tried a couple and I always come back to the Gmail interface with all the [00:37:00] shortcuts and the features. It’s just that I’m very efficient with it. And as much as I want to try out these new tools, I tend to come back. And you also have to make sure if you use any Google workspace with the business associates agreement, it is obviously HIPAA compliant, so that’s great. But if you use external third-party email software, you have to be careful about what they have access to and if that is an issue with digital security. I’m not the pro on that. You have to go talk to Roy Huggins at Person-Centered Tech, but that’s something to pay attention to there.
Dr. Sharp: Yeah. Well, I know that while we’re on the topic of email, you’ve been diving deep into email efficiency and management lately, right?
Uriah: Yes, super nerdy on that one. I actually just wrapped and launched a new course. It’s like a mini-course. And it’s a 7-day email transformation challenge basically to help therapists conquer email [00:38:00] overwhelm. It’s a lot of tips and tricks that are pretty simple. But I’ve found that for myself and for my coaching clients and the therapist that I’ve talked to if you’re not careful, it takes over your life and you can end up just being not very efficient or productive because of email.
I always think about email as somebody else’s to-do list for me. Somebody else’s priorities. Usually, whether it’s my team or my wife, I hope she’s not listening to this. But you pop in your email inbox first thing in the morning and things get automatically added to my day. And all of a sudden I’m down a rabbit hole of doing something that I was not supposed to be doing according to my to-do list.
So I just assembled all of my best tips and tricks that are working for me. Some of them are habits, some are routines, some are tech hacks, and put them all together in a 7-day challenge so people could kind of make progress a little bit at a time over seven days. I’m pretty excited about it.[00:39:00] Dr. Sharp: Yeah. That sounds really cool. Is there anything that you could share without giving away all the content, like any big, big stuff that you notice that was really resonating with people?
Uriah: Yeah. There are no secrets in there. It’s not rocket science. But I organized the tips according to the framework of Eliminate, Automate and Delegate.
So I go over basically, things like unsubscribing, time batching, only checking email at certain times of the day for a set amount of time- so limiting that, I talk about using filters in Gmail, the snooze feature, autoresponders, templates. I actually talk about TextExpander and boomerang in there. And then, of course, the ultimate productivity hack, which is outsourcing part of your email management to an assistant which is something that I think a lot of therapists don’t even think about. Have you ever tried that?
Dr. Sharp: Not [00:40:00] with any commitment. I’ve talked with my… I have two different assistants. I’ve talked about it but never really committed to it. It hasn’t gone anywhere. I’d love to hear how you work with that, how you suggest people do that, or what it looks like in practice for a psychologist to outsource email.
Uriah: So here’s my confession. And I put this in the email challenge because I’m always about transparency and honesty. This has been a work in progress for me personally because I’ve literally delegated my email to my assistant who’s super competent, amazing, at least 4 times. And that’s what I’ve done. I’ve taken it back because I like to be in control of my email and my schedule even when I shouldn’t be. So I’m currently on, I guess you could call it the 5th trial.
Dr. Sharp: Okay.
Uriah: So I have a document and this is what I recommend, a document called your Uriah’s Email Rules. [00:41:00] And it’s like a living document so I’m constantly changing things and updating things. And we are sort of refining that process again. But the way we have it set up, basically she knows all my email rules and everything that I like, my preferences around scheduling. And she happens to wake up early in the morning so she processes my email before I get to it every day, which is nice.
Dr. Sharp: Wonderful.
Uriah: She does some manual sorting of things that are important and putting check marks on the ones that I need to respond to and pay attention to, and then deleting certain things, confirming scheduling requests, those kinds of things. The goal ultimately is for me to spend less and less time on my email and for her to handle most of it. That’s the goal. And we’re getting there slowly. But I’m trying to pretend like I’m on vacation. I don’t know if you’ve done this, but when I do go on [00:42:00] vacation, I just don’t look at my email.
Dr. Sharp: At least I try.
Uriah: I just have her answer all my emails. So if I could have that every day, pretend like I’m on vacation, I’m Just think about how much I could get done.
Dr. Sharp: So true. There are stats out there about how much time we spend in email and it’s…
Uriah: It’s too much.
Dr. Sharp: Exactly.
Uriah: And you know, I mean, not to compare us to like CEOs of large companies, but Tim Cook is not processing his email for 7 hours a day, no way.
Dr. Sharp: No.
Uriah: Not possible. So I think it’s a great thing to outsource. And maybe it’s on the bottom of the list where maybe you start with intake coordination and screening and sending out questionnaires, some of those admin tasks. And then eventually, I think it would be nice for every busy testing psychologist to get to the point where they get some support with their email. That’s a good goal to have.
Dr. Sharp: I love that. I have a very logistical question. A very practical, granular [00:43:00] question. So when someone else sorts email, is the assistant responding as themselves, or are they responding using your email address and just signing it differently? I get this question a lot honestly, so I’m just curious how you handle that.
Uriah: There’s no right or wrong way to do that. I prefer to have the assistant respond as themselves. You can certainly train somebody and get to the point where they know how you talk and how you write so much so that they can respond as you, but I guess, for me, that just feels a little bit, I don’t know, it’s not disingenuine necessarily, but it’s not me. And so if that email came up in a conversation, I would be like, “I don’t remember ever sending that to you, Jeremy. It wasn’t me. It was my robot assistant.”
Dr. Sharp: Exactly. You’re right.
Uriah: So that’s the way I have it done. And one of the nice things that people might not realize is within Google workspace and I can’t speak to outlook or other platforms, but [00:44:00] in the settings, there’s literally a setting for delegating your email. They call it delegate your email. So you can give somebody else access to your email inbox without giving them your actual, I call them the keys to the kingdom, your Google username and password. So that’s a nice way to do that.
Dr. Sharp: You said that’s in Google workspaces in the admin panel or something?
Uriah: Not the admin panel, actually just the settings of the Gmail interface.
Dr. Sharp: Okay. That is new information for me. That’s fantastic.
Uriah: That’s the way to go about it. It’s a little tricky for me because I have several email addresses. There are pros and cons to this, but I have all of my email personal and work going into one inbox. And so I actually do give my assistant the keys to my kingdom, so to speak because I have her handle a personal as well as professional email.
Dr. Sharp: Okay. yeah, that’s a lot of trust and it’s easy to start slow. That’s probably [00:45:00] the takeaway from this. You don’t have to turn everything over.
Uriah: For sure.
Dr. Sharp: I think there’s some value to just operationalizing what we do. I mean, it’s not just so you can outsource your email but to get in the habit of taking information out of your brain is always helpful if you want to hire another psychologist or sell your practice one day or any number of other things where you don’t want all that just living in your own brain.
Uriah: Somebody many benefits to that. Yeah.
Dr. Sharp: Right.
Uriah: I’m actually just about to sign up for a course called Building A Second Brain. Have you heard of this?
Dr. Sharp: No, what’s this about?
Uriah: So, it’s an organizational framework for… I’m just learning about it now, but I’ve wanted to sign up for a little bit of time. It’s run by a guy named Tiago Forte from Forte Labs, and essentially it’s using a note-taking system like Evernote and there are other ones out there that you can use to [00:46:00] take all the information that comes your way or that you consume, whether it’s books, podcasts, CEU courses, any number of things. There are stats on this but the amount of information we take in on a daily basis, even as just professionals, therapists, and business owners, it’s incredible. It’s massive. Right? And most of us don’t have a good way to organize that so that we can access the thing that we want when we want it.
So this framework or this idea of building a second brain is essentially like a massive database that are all your notes from everything that you’ve ever brought into your sphere of knowledge in a way that’s searchable, linkable, all those kinds of things. I already do some of these things using specifically Evernote but I’m ready to level that up because I think one of the things that I enjoy doing and is my superpower is like collecting and curating [00:47:00] information, resources, links, all these kinds of things to share them with therapists basically as a part of what I do with The Productive Therapist. So I’m kinda excited about that. It’s an expensive course, but I’m ready for it.
Dr. Sharp: That sounds really exciting. I have a small group of psychologists, it’s like a chat group basically on Slack. And we were talking the other day about how do you keep track of all the articles you want to read or the resources that you want to save. Some of it is like saving Facebook posts. Some of it’s like using something like Pocket or whatever on the internet, but it’s not unified it’s messy.
Uriah: So the way that I would probably do that with my current system and I do to some degree, but if I read an article and it’s not something I do necessarily, but you mentioned that, if I read an article on EMDR for anxiety, I don’t know, something [00:48:00] like that. I would take that whether it’s a PDF or a link and with Evernote specifically, there are all kinds of browser extensions. So you can pop anything into there from anywhere basically. And then I would add a tag, like probably add the tag EMDR and maybe a research article or something like that so that later when I’m like, Oh yeah, you know, I read that thing two years ago. It’s about EMDR. Where is that? And I just go and I can search for everything that’s tagged EMDR, probably find it within 2 to 3 minutes. I think that’s the best way to do that probably.
Dr. Sharp: Yeah. Do you find Evernote as your preferred method for organizing stuff like that?
Uriah: It is. And I’ve actually used it for probably about 10 years. I kind of fell away from it and then now I’m back. I think I have like 9,000 notes in there or something like that. There’s a bunch of different options out there, but the other one that seems pretty popular is Notion, which is a pretty neat [00:49:00] tool for unlimited database of information that’s all linkable and searchable.
Dr. Sharp: Okay. That sounds good.
Uriah: I like those two.
Dr. Sharp: Nice. So what else, this is maybe the random portion of our conversation, but any other tech tools, productivity stuff, forward-thinking, what if possibilities that are running around in your mind these days, like things you’re considering or messing with?
Uriah: I’ve been playing around with and I’m really enjoying creating membership sites. I’ve spent way too much time researching other software tools to provide those membership sites to people. Teachable’s what I use, but Kajabi is the one that’s currently tempting me to go somewhere else.
Dr. Sharp: I’m a Kajabi person.
Uriah: Are you?
Dr. Sharp: Yes.
Uriah: We should chat about that. I’m seriously thinking about it.
Dr. Sharp: It’s expensive. I think the sticker shock [00:50:00] is tough for some people to get over, but it’s pretty all-inclusive. I mean, it’s pretty powerful. Only getting better I think.
Uriah: Here is something we could talk about. It’s not necessarily technology-related, but the topic of therapists expanding into providing other products and services outside of the therapy room. I had the privilege of writing an article for SimplePractice for their online magazine, POLLEN Magazine, and it’s called The Four Stages of Private Practice. And I’m pretty proud of it. I compared the process of becoming licensed and starting a private practice to the hero’s journey, with the call to adventure and the initiation and all the different steps.
At the end, it talks about taking all the knowledge and wisdom that you’ve gained as a therapist and those gifts that you now have to share both with your clients and with the world at large. And I know there’s a [00:51:00] lot of therapists out there that are interested in, like we were talking about building online courses or creating membership sites, or doing any number of things that are not the traditional therapy, testing, those two things. Do you see testing psychologists expanding in that way?
Dr. Sharp: Yeah, I do. Just in my Advanced Practice Mastermind this morning, one of the members was talking about developing this ADHD coaching course basically, and how to put together the modules, and how we might market that. There’s a lot of those ideas running around. So many of us have these little niches of expertise that…
Uriah: I love that.
Dr. Sharp: Yeah, I think there’s some energy behind that.
Uriah: And the platforms, it’s never been a better time to share your knowledge with the world really.
Dr. Sharp: Right, it’s super cool. Well, I think people… I don’t know, maybe I’m projecting a little bit too … but I think people get overwhelmed and think that they have to create like [00:52:00] this amazing product. They look at courses like Pat Flynn or Amy Porterfield, these like crazy courses that sell for thousands of dollars.
Uriah: […] course it’s essentially like $2,000 or something, right?
Dr. Sharp: Yeah. But we could create a parent training course that’s four modules on managing ADHD in your home and supporting your kid and sell it for $50 or something. That’s a pretty easy thing to do.
Uriah: It doesn’t have to be complicated or difficult because the thing is you’re already, at this point, wherever you are in your journey, you already have a massive amount of knowledge and experience, and training. And the trick is just to translate that into some format that more people can benefit from. And that’s the hard part. Sometimes it’s the technology, certainly it’s the marketing of the thing. But it doesn’t have to be, you’re right. One of the simplest ways to do that is to give a presentation, whether it’s [00:53:00] a webinar online or hopefully someday in person again and then film that. And then there’s your little mini mini-course, your online course, right? Something like that.
This week, I was talking about the 7-day email transformation challenge. And in order to get that done, I actually booked a hotel room and I worked straight through about 12 hours. Well, it was 9 hours one day and 3 hours the next day. And filmed, edited, wrote all the emails and published a mini-course. That’s a short time window. I’m not recommending that. I was super burnt out out there, but I got it all done. And so checked the box and now I get to just share it with people like on this podcast.
Dr. Sharp: I love that approach. I have talked on the podcast before about doing these little mini-retreats to just get away and get things done. And I saw it when you posted that on Facebook. I was like, “Yes.”
Uriah: They call that [00:54:00] Mega-batching where it’s like not just doing all your emails in one hour time, but like doing that on a grander scale. It works well.
Dr. Sharp: That’s great. I’ll definitely link to the email course too so people can check it out.
Uriah: I have a special offer for your audience if you want to know about it.
Dr. Sharp: What?
Dr. Sharp: I really didn’t even know about that. Maybe I forgot about it, but let’s see.
Uriah: That’s how you fake surprise there now.
Dr. Sharp: That was totally genuine. What’s the offer?
Uriah: And you, everyone gets one. I do have this membership site. It’s called Productive Therapist Insider. It’s got a number of perks like I mentioned, the print newsletter, access to our library of online courses that are all geared towards productivity, organization, delegation, and really it’s just a membership site that’s focused on saving therapist’s time. That’s the pitch if you will. So the 7-day email transformation challenge is part of that membership and anybody who’s [00:55:00] listening to this can actually get the first month for $1 using coupon code Sharp.
Dr. Sharp: I like that. What a great offer.
Uriah: Yeah. And then you can go in there and see if there’s see what’s there to help you on your journey and $1, what do you got to lose?
Dr. Sharp: Yeah, that’s a great point. Well, and one thing, I’m going to bring this back, one thing that I appreciate about you is that you are very thoughtful and deliberate and seemingly thorough with what you do all the way from the links list you curate for VA companies to mailing paper newsletters. That’s just a quality that I’ve noticed in your work and really appreciate.
I wanted to ask a question about, when we’re putting content out there like with a course or something, I think something that stops a lot of us is imposter syndrome. So I’m curious for you, [00:56:00] you’ve put a lot of content out there. I know you’ve done multiple courses and this and that. How do you work with that internal feeling of what if I don’t? What if I’m not the expert here? Or what if I say this wrong?
Uriah: That’s a great question. I’m starting to see imposter syndrome as a really good thing. I want to experience that more and more as I level up because that signifies that I’m growing and that I’m expanding to my full potential. In fact, I actually shared this new course that I just finished this week with my new mastermind group. And one of them said, I’m not going to lie, you’re giving me some imposter syndrome here. And I responded and said, I didn’t say great, but I said, what did I say? I said, well, I’m hoping to get some imposter syndrome from you guys too, or something like that.
Like if we’re not challenging each other and inspiring each other to grow beyond where we’re at now, [00:57:00] then what are we doing? So how to deal with that, there are lots of different answers to that, but I’d like to think about this idea that there’s always room for excellence. So no matter how many people have started a podcast on testing psychology, probably nobody else. I don’t know. Do you have competition?
Dr. Sharp: I don’t think of it that way necessarily.
Uriah: I know.
Dr. Sharp: There are a couple of other podcasts out there. One, in particular, NavNeuro. I’ll mention it. They’re great.
Dr. Sharp: I’m friends with them. But yeah, another testing podcast out there.
Uriah: There’s always room for excellence so nobody can do the things that I do the way that I do them. So there’s a ton of virtual assistant companies out there. I mean, since I started Productive Therapists, there have been at least 15 new ones that have popped up. I think that’s great. And I tried to take a collaborative not sort of competitive approach while still trying to be the best that I can be.[00:58:00] But yeah, I like to think about, how can you bring something unique to what you’re sharing? You’re certainly not the only, as an example, expert on ADHD. But there’s a lot of people in the world and as far as podcasts go, you have your audience, I have mine and we do different things. We do unique things and we bring our personality and our experience to it. So, yeah, I know if that’s tying it together, but I try to think about that and embrace that emotional challenge of imposter syndrome and go, “Oh, Sweet, this is where I’m supposed to be.”
I just read again, the book called The Big Leap on. I don’t know if you have ever heard of that one.
Dr. Sharp: I have heard of it. I haven’t read it though.
Uriah: It’s actually written by a psychologist named Gay Hendricks. A brilliant guy, I think. And he talks about moving through your different zones as you level up as a professional. So from the zone of incompetence- obviously things that you suck at to the zone of competence- things [00:59:00] you’re reasonably good at to the zone of excellence- What are you really good at? to what he calls the zone of genius? Like what can only you do in this way? So the idea is to kind of move up as you go.
And so nobody’s like you. Nobody can do what you do. So go make something amazing and feel good about that. That’s for a pep talk.
Dr. Sharp: I love it. I’m ready to stop this and go do something.
Uriah: Nice. Lift some weights or something.
Dr. Sharp: Sure. This is good. I’m always curious how other people deal with that because it’s so prevalent.
Uriah: How do you? I’m sure you’ve got something you’ve learned in there.
Dr. Sharp: Yeah, not to sound like a broken record, but it’s similar. I always try to do a reframe like that and just say like, people are going to connect with me. The material’s great, but people are really connecting with me and what I bring to the process. [01:00:00] And it would be maddening to think that I could get everything right the first time. And so just putting that idea to bed and kind of trust in the ability to go back and revise and be better the next time, that’s just an opportunity to say like, “Hey, guess what? I am human. I messed this up. I did some research and found out it’s actually this. So let’s talk about that now.” Otherwise, it’s maddening
Uriah: I like that. it’s kind of managing your own expectations and realizing that you can start where you are and just get better and better.
Dr. Sharp: Yeah, exactly. It’s all that growth.
Uriah: One thing that’s helped me and I was thinking about this actually just today is trying my best to surround myself with people who believe in me and who know me and what I have to bring to the table. I have somebody like that on my team right now. And I’m not like not consciously [01:01:00] necessarily, but she’s always affirming me and telling me that what I have to offer and share is really amazing expert. She’s always just reminding me like, “Hey, you are an industry expert, right?” Not in a way to like puff up my ego necessarily, but she sees me in a different way than I sometimes see myself because I can think, well, I’m, I’m not that great or I’m not that good at this or that or the other thing.
And so I like having people, that sounds terrible, like surrounding yourself with people who are just like, you’re the best. Not quite like that. But hopefully, you’ve had an experience of having somebody who just like thinks you’re amazing and keeps telling you. And then hopefully over time that gets a little more internalized and you can develop maybe a little bit more accurate perception of yourself and your abilities, which I think is kind of the definition of humility as well as like positive self esteem.
Dr. Sharp: Absolutely. Yeah. Someone told me once and I can’t remember who it was, that we need to make [01:02:00] peace with the idea that we are not experts on ourselves and that incorporating others’ opinions can be really, really valuable.
Dr. Sharp: Particularly on the positive side.
Uriah: Of course. Yeah.
Dr. Sharp: No, I love that reminder. I’m going to be thinking about that. Hopefully audience will too.
Uriah: We’ll keep talking about interesting stuff on this podcast.
Dr.Sharp: I know. It’s great. So as we start to wrap up, what are the future directions for Productive Therapists? Anything cool on the horizon? Anything you’re working to get better at in the business?
Uriah: Yeah, I’ve got a ton of goals like always, but this year specifically I’m releasing one new course every quarter as a part of the Productive Therapist insider. So in the first quarter it was a course called Hiring Your Assistant. And so that’s a good one. And it’ll be awesome actually if at some point you want to do like a recorded call and add it to that specifically [01:03:00] talking about what we talked about on this podcast.
Dr. Sharp: Sure.
Uriah: And then this quarter it’s a course called Becoming a Productive Therapist. And then I think in quarter three, it’s going to be Client Retention Pro basically helping therapists figure out ways to increase their client retention.
Yeah, I’m just having a good time creating content and doing my thing.
Dr. Sharp: That’s fantastic. It’s exciting work. I think you’re an inspiration. Even though I don’t think everybody’s going to start a VA company, you have dialed in this idea of having multiple businesses and doing different things and really doing the work that you love. So if people don’t take out anything else away from this, I hope they take that away, that it’s totally doable.
Uriah: Yeah, for sure, moving towards the zone of genius.
Dr. Sharp: Exactly. Well, thanks again. Thanks for coming on again. I hope this isn’t the last time. It’s always, always fun.
Uriah: For sure.
Dr. Sharp: All right y’all [01:04:00] that is a blurb. I hope you enjoyed that as much as I did. Uriah is just a great guy to talk to with so many ideas, always working on getting better at what he does. And it doesn’t hurt that he’s a techie like myself, and we can really dive into software and technology and all those sorts of things.
Now, just in case you missed it during the episode, that truly was a surprise that there is a special offer for The Testing Psychologists listeners. You can get the first month’s membership in Uriah’s membership community for just $1 with the code sharp. The link to check that out is in the show notes. So make sure and do that. I’m definitely going to sign up because I know that he puts together quality material.
Okay. I hope y’all are doing well. Like I said, if you’re interested in an advanced practice coaching [01:05:00] experience, a group coaching experience, you can go to thetestingpsychologists.com/advanced and learn a little bit more about the upcoming Advanced Practice Mastermind and schedule a pre-group call to see if it’d be a good fit. I’d love to help you grow your practice and get to a better place in your practice.
All right, that’s it for today. I will catch you all next time.
The information contained in this podcast and on the Testing Psychologists website is intended for informational and educational purposes only. Nothing in this podcast or on the website is intended to be a substitute for professional, psychological, psychiatric, or medical [01:06:00] advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please note that no doctor-patient relationship is formed here. And similarly, no supervisory or consultative relationship is formed between the host or guests of this podcast and listeners of this podcast. If you need the qualified advice of any mental health practitioner or medical provider, please one in your area. Similarly, if you need supervision on clinical matters, please find a supervisor with expertise that fits your needs.