The clock hits 4:55, you are just ushering your last client out the door (or clicking off your DoxyMe) and you wonder where the day went. Specifically you wonder how it is almost 5:00 and you have a stack of undone notes.
Ugh…you are now hit with the choice to grind them out right then and there (goodbye leaving the office on time) OR save them for another day. Maybe tomorrow. Unless tomorrow turns into three Tuesdays from now and instead of several notes you have several dozen. Or mayyyybe a little more than that.
Notes can sometimes feel like being on a treadmill that is cranked up a couple of notches too high. Hard to keep up, and if you're not really careful you could end up with skinned knees laying in a pile on the floor. Seriously, those things can be dangerous.
But what if interweaving your therapy sessions and notes could feel a little bit more like a walk in the park than the treadmill of doom?
So, in order to get to a better pace you need to understand just exactly what is getting in the way of completing notes on time. I wanted to share with you the top three things I hear from clinicians that get in the way of completing notes.
Not ending sessions on time
Sometimes bombs go off at the end of session. As play therapists this can be either metaphorically or literally. Or you Play Therapy office may look like a bomb went off.
Sometimes you are so in tune to what your client is saying or playing OR their parents forgot to tell you something and needs to follow up with you at the end of the session that turns out to be an extension of the session. Hello top of the hour, and the next client in the lobby or virtual waiting room!
All of the above can seriously eat into the time that you have in between sessions to catch your breath, take a quick break, annnd get your notes done.
All of this, well - it happens. BUT when it happens consistently it can be a huge barrier to completing notes!
Getting caught up in email
I don’t know about you, but my inbox can be a rabbit hole. Especially if you have more than one email you may be trying to sift through parent emails, office email threads where the “reply-all” game is strong, and official business things that may need to be updated.
Sometimes we can feel a time pressure if we are not available and ready 24/7 with a response and sometimes parents can feel so overwhelmed with whatever situation is presenting they want immediate answers, response and relief.
It’s fair to say that you can’t just be in denial that your email exists and never open your box again, BUT this might be an area of your practice you need to assess if you find yourself trying to get your inbox to zero at the expense of your notes.
For a little comedic relief about working with parents and email from a teacher’s perspective check out this TikTok HERE!
Heading next door
If your therapy practice is anything like mine chances are you have some pretty amazing office neighbors. Maybe next door, maybe a couple of doors down.
That person you can decompress with after a tough session, share photos of your dog or adorable child with spaghetti all over his head, or get the best tips on what to do for the next session.
However, if a force as strong as gravity is pulling you toward their office during time between sessions repelling you away from the stack of notes that is waiting for you, it might be something to consider that might need a little tweaking or changing.
Now - I want you to do an audit of your day. Seriously! Pay attention to what is getting in your way and leave a comment below on the biggest time traps in your therapy day! What’s not on this list?
Need more support with writing notes faster and integrating them into your day? Check out The 5 Minute Notewww.meehanmentalhealth.com/5-minute-note.html - the program that helps you shrink your note writing time and integrate it into your therapy day! OH - and if you are behind on notes, The 5 Minute Note program includes the course The Progress Note Catch Up as an on-the-house free bonus!
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I'm Ann Meehan, an LPCC, RPT-S, and EMDR Consultant. I help other therapists grow in their passions as play therapists, trauma therapists,and child and adolescent therapists.