Just how much do you spend on note writing per week?
With a little support from your trusty calculator and a couple of quick clicks the number might surprise you! Okay - so if you see 20 clients per week and spend 5 minutes on each note that’s a little over an hour and a half per week - 100 minutes to be exact.
But what if you were spending more than that? Like….let’s say more around that 10 minute range. Well for 20 clients it would be a little under three and a half hours. If you are more around the 30 client range it goes up to five hours. FIVE!
Annnd that’s not even counting all the other things you need to do - like collaboration calls, stacks on stacks of emails, assessments or a bathroom break. And when these notes pile one on top of each other and you leave the office exhausted like you are on the notes treadmill that just won’t quit, it’s hard to not carry that energy into your night or weekend!
Now - how much more money would you have in your pocket if you could turn those hours into clients? What about turning those hours into extra time off for rest and relaxation?
Okay - so here’s where you need to start thinking like a lawyer about your notes. So what exactly am I talking about? Well...lawyers happen to charge per minute of their time.
If they are completing a task anywhere from 1-12 minutes that is a flat fee in increments of 6 or 12 minutes. If I spell this out - any task (even if it is just 1 or 2 minutes) gets charged at a 6 or 12 minute rate.
If I head into make-believe-land for a minute (because we’re play therapists so why not!) that would mean the two minute email would be a minimum charge. The collaboration phone call, gathering and scoring assessments, and notes - would all be charged at a minimum fee.
Now, back to reality. Insurance companies aren’t really with this whole lawyer vibe, meaning they charge a flat fee per session depending on how many minutes you are with a client and what service you are providing.
If you asked them to reimburse you for all the extras you provide clients they wouldn't be able to catch their breath from the giant laughing fit that would erupt. It's a total no-go.
SO even if we can’t charge insurance companies per minute for our time that it takes outside of the session to provide good quality care, that doesn't mean that you can’t shift your thinking.
Overall - lawyers see their time as precious and valuable. The task that takes them a couple of minutes is KEY to their client’s case and the amount of skills, knowledge, and experience is worth the money. It's not expected or taken for granted.
What if you shifted your thinking about your time? What if you saw the note writing process as part of the overall treatment? As something that isn't an "extra" that you will do on your own time?
When you start thinking this way about your notes and the unpaid time that can go out the window you can then start thinking about what is getting in the way of writing the most efficient and streamlined note you can. When you think about being intentional with your time and see it as valuable, you can begin increasing your note writing efficiency so you can get those minutes and hours back!
If you struggle with notes take my absolutely free course on the 5 Step Roadmap To Writing Faster Progress Notes!
If you need a little more take The 5 Minute Note Course - where 10 days transforms your notes from novels to efficient and effortless!
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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.