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  • Writer's pictureJoanna Caton

5 Focus Tricks To Get That Report DONE!

I don’t know about you but in my line of work as an OT there seems to be a never-ending stream of clinical report writing. It certainly isn’t my favourite task but I do know that a well written report which matches its purpose can really make a difference for my clients. Like it is for many people, the reality of my clinical and personal life can make it tricky to actually get those reports DONE. In between consulting and family life I probably only have a total of 45-60 minutes per day to devote to report writing so I need to make every minute count. I can’t afford to be distracted or lose concentration during those precious minutes so I have developed a few tricks that help me stay focused. You might like to try them too.

1. Set the scene.

I go to my work space and spend a minute or two making sure I have everything at the ready, including a drink or a snack if necessary. Once I start writing I don’t want to disrupt my flow because I need to get up to get something to eat. I also make sure I have a note pad next to me to write down any random thoughts that I need to action later.

2. Use a timer.

There’s nothing like a sense of a deadline to focus attention. I set my timer for a maximum of 45 minutes and then I will have a break and do something else. 45 minutes seems to suit me. You might prefer less or slightly more. Take a look at the “Pomodoro Technique” if you want to know more about this time management strategy.

3. Music power.

Environmental noise is a big distraction for me so I always pop on my headphones and listen to music. I listen to music specifically designed to help me to FOCUS (you might like to try the Calm App).

4. Know the purpose and choose the format to match.

In my clinical work there is more than one reason I would be writing a report. I always spend a minute to decide what the purpose is and then I will select the relevant template to suit from my practice management software. These are templates I set up myself earlier on and they save me brain power as I don’t have to think about what headings or layout to use.

5. Use a text expander.

There are often phrases or explanations I find myself needing to write over and over again. There is no point reinventing the wheel about these things, so it is a good idea to have a little library of commonly used explanations at the ready. I used to just copy and paste these from a word document but now I use a text expander. (I use Breevy). I now just need to punch in a quick code and voila! A whole paragraph will magically appear before me. Text expanders require some initial investment of time to set up your “library” of phrases but once that is done they are a huge time saver.

NOTE: I have no affiliation with any of the links provided or products discussed in this blog.

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