Bronnie’s top 5 time-saving tips!
- Use standard templates for writing reports. Include codes (yes I’m a wordprocessing geek too) so you get a prompt about what to fill in. I’ve got several, and the two I like the most are one for writing my daily notes, and one for writing the Comprehensive Pain Assessment reports. Oh, and to add to that? Use your computer and electronic media as much as possible – emails are great! The Internet is great! Automate all you can!
- Live with your diary. Don’t quite sleep with it, but put everything into your diary, then you don’t need to remember it with your brain! I have bits of paper slipped inside my diary as well as a pad clipped to the outside (hint caught off one of my colleagues – she knows who she is!) to write my ‘to do’ list
- Get journal contents lists emailed to you. Every day I’m greeted by several journal contents lists, and I browse through them, read the abstracts and get the full article if they’re interesting, or delete if they’re not. At the very least I’m keeping up with the ‘headlines’ while at the best I have the chance to get articles and read ’em while they’re hot. Use RSS feeds to keep up-to-date with information from colleagues and other news sources online. I have three that I use mainly: Medworm: chronic pain, Medworm: pain, and Positive Psychology News Daily.
- Use case formulations. These help to guide your therapy. In my notes I have a section that asks me to write about ‘additions’ to the formulation, and another section that asks me to write about what I’ve covered in my session from the formulation, and I refer to it when I’m putting my ‘Plan’ for the next session. (Note to self: post the notes format on here!) Formulations also guide the assessments and outcomes to measure, as well as being a great way to get the client and yourself onto the same wavelength. The client will also be contributing to the formulation, which means they can understand why you do what you do in therapy – and means you can never believe you ‘have all the answers’!
- Use structured sessions. I follow a fairly standard format for my sessions…
- Greetings and ‘checking in’ (mood check)
- Setting the agenda for the session
- Review of home learning
- Issues from home learning
- New material (from formulation)
- Confirm key messages
- Home learning ‘mission’
Am I always organised? Not at all, but imagine if I didn’t use these strategies….!