3 ways to eliminate distractions and gain focus, so you can get your charting done!

I don’t know about you, but I can be easily distracted.

These distractions slow me down when it comes to charting. I strive to finish a note as soon as I walk out of a patient’s room, but sometimes I am bombarded by chaos. There are voicemails on my work phone. Patient questions to respond to. Numerous medication refills. A multitude of emails- still unread. If my personal phone is sitting on my desk, I often pick it up and check for text messages. Before I know it I will have scanned my email, looked at my bank account, and spent at least 5 minutes on social media. With this lack of focus, I risk completing my charts in a timely manner and leaving the office by 5:00pm.

Here are three tips to help you eliminate these kinds of distractions.

1. Shut your office door. Seriously, we can easily become engrossed in petty chit chat with coworkers, preoccupied with questions from other staff, and multiple other distractions that keep us from charting. If I need to stay focused, I will shut my door. If you are in a shared working space, try putting up a sign next to your desk that says “do not disturb.” Put headphones in to drown out any background noise. These tips help you stay focused on the task of charting.

2. Eliminate distractions on your desk. Put your phone in the drawer. Avoid checking voicemails on your work phone. Close out your email. Make it a point to have a clear work space so you can finish a note right after walking out of an exam room. If you are charting at home, turn off the TV and put away your phone. Work in a quiet place free of distractions. We don’t want to be spending any more time than we have to charting.

3. Stay on one screen at a time. EHRs can be super overwhelming. When you are documenting in a patient’s chart, stay on the screen. Avoid succumbing to distractions such as medication refills, patient phone calls, and documentation/diagnostic test review. Close out any kind of distractions on your screen such as email. I try to have a scheduled time for medication refills, patient phone calls, etc.. For example I refill medication when I get to work and around 1630. I check patient phone calls around 1130 and 1630. I try to have some sort of routine throughout my day. Therefore, I focus on getting the charts done and refrain from additional distractions.

Seeing 20+ patients a day is difficult. But, if you can work on eliminating distractions, you will save so much time in your day!

Learn how to create a problem focused note in less than 10 minutesfree video training!

Erica D the NP is a family nurse practitioner and burnout coach. Erica created The Burned-out Nurse Practitioner to help overwhelmed APRNs create work-life balance, conquer burnout, and advocate for themselves. The Burned-out Nurse Practitioner offers online courses, coaching, and support. Learn more at www.burnedoutnp.com

For time management and charting tips, check out The Nurse Practitioner Charting School– The one stop for all documentation resources created specifically for nurse practitioners. Learn more at www.npchartingschool.com

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