4 Tips to get motivated to finish charting

charting and time management tips

Charting sucks.

It is one of the least favorite parts of my day. The reality is, the charts have to get signed. But when you’re behind on charts with a waiting room full of patients, the task seems immensely burdensome. You become unmotivated and therefore procrastinate even more.

Here are 4 tips to increase motivation to sign the dang charts.

1. Acknowledge the causative agent. Identify where the lack of motivation is coming from. Will you have to spend half an hour trying to figure out what medication a patient’s drug plan will cover? Are the patient phone calls piling up, causing increased overwhelm? Are you stuck on discovering the “perfect” treatment plan for a patient? Identifying the unmotivating feelings will help you know how to approach the task at hand.

2. Set a time limit. Remember that time in grad school when you procrastinated but then wrote an entire paper in one day? There was a set time limit and you focused on getting the task done. Set similar time limits in your work. I’ve noticed myself unintentionally slacking towards the end of the day thinking, “I’m back tomorrow, I’ll just finish the charts in the morning.” Yes, some days I save a chart or two till the next day if I am waiting for lab, radiology, etc. But other times, I’ve noticed myself starting to procrastinate because I extended that time limit. If you have 5 charts piled up, give yourself 30 minutes (or whatever is slightly less than reasonable) to get them done. Set a goal of getting the morning charts completed before the afternoon patients start. Or plan to have all patient phone calls and medication refills completed by 4:00pm. Whatever your goal, stay super focused and eliminate distractions. Sticking to a time limit will help you get the charting done.

3. Identify a reward. Sometimes we need external motivators. Offer yourself a reward for getting your work done. Tell yourself you will go get a snack or a pop after you complete the next two charts. If you get all your charts done during clinic, allow yourself to binge watch Netflix after work. Pick out a reward that motivates you!

4. Take action. Simply beginning a task is the best step to getting motivated. Start with a simple task that won’t take you a lot of time, say less than 5 minutes. Completing this task will help you get into the groove and jump into the next task. Procrastination and creating excuses will not get you anywhere. Take action now! Seriously, I mean now!

Use these 4 tips to get yourself motivated so you can conquer the documentation and work towards no longer charting at home!

For more tips to save time charting, check out The Time Management and Charting Tips Course!

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, overcome nurse practitioner 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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