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Drowning in paperwork

Jan 06, 2019

Drowning is a common emotion used to describe paperwork by many physicians. It is also our number one reason for job dissatisfaction,

I would like to break down what is happening: I have paperwork to complete is a fact.  Every patient encounter requires paperwork to complete that encounter.

What is the thought that creates the emotion drowning ?

Thoughts you might be having: I have too much paperwork, I’ll never get all this done, I’m tired, I don’t have control of what I get to do, I can’t be bothered, I want to go home, I have better things to do.

These are some of the thoughts that create the emotion drowning. You might experience emotions such as hate, fear, frustration rather than drowning.

Our emotions drive us to an action and our actions lead to results.

Let's explore the Model of how our thoughts create our feelings, feelings drive actions and actions create results:

The Model:

Circumstance: this is a fact and it cannot drown you or hurt you, it is a fact.

I have paperwork

Thought: This is your thought, you can put any thought you like in here, your thought will create an emotion and that emotion is going to drive the action

I have too much paperwork, I will never get it all done (the thought example we will use first)

Emotion: This is the emotion you feel in response to the thought you had

drowning (this is the emotion we are going to use as an example first)


Buffering in the form of avoidance, Facebook, alcohol or other activity that gives you false joy

(this is the action that I propose comes as a result of the emotion drowning)


Paperwork does not get completed and you have paperwork.

As you can see this thought is NOT serving you! At the end of this model you still have that paperwork! An exhausting cycle of paperwork!

You can go to as many motivation speakers and courses as you like, but it is your MIND that is the most powerful influence on your results! You have perfect control of the result if you choose your thoughts wisely.

Have a play with THE MODEL and concentrate on the thought that gives you the most powerful emotion for getting the result I have completed my paperwork.

An example of an alternative model:

Circumstance: I have paperwork

Thought: This is no big deal, I am good at this

Emotion: Energised

Action: Starts doing paperwork

Result: Gets home on time with paperwork done

My Journey:

I would like to share with you the thought model and cycle that started me on a quest to beat this paperwork problem.

Circumstance: Patient hands me an Long Disability Form to Complete

Thought: There is one hour of my life gone! I know that form takes me at least one hour to complete. One hour of my life sucked away on paperwork!

Emotion: Anger, annoyance, irritability, seething

Action: Refuse to even look at the form, throw it in my inbox or hide it in a folder in my inbox

Result: Form does not get completed and it starts to gnaw at me in my quiet hours such as relaxing on the couch or when I am trying to sleep

New circumstance: Patient asks me about their incomplete Disability form after some weeks

Thought: I do not want to do that form, I hate those forms, they take me so long to complete!

Emotion: Detestation, frustration

Action: starts form with Netflix playing. Stops to check Facebook. Sighs loudly and writes with most messy handwriting that I think I can get away with

Result: completes form -taking at least one hour or quite often a whole Saturday! Whiny to my husband and family and act grumpy until the form is done. No sense of accomplishment, just resentment.

This thought was NOT serving me OR my family OR my weekends for that matter. I was not a happy friendly person while I had incomplete forms building up in my inbox. I would pass up offers to go out with friends or family as I "had paperwork" to do. Sound familiar?

If you change your thoughts you will change your actions and the result that you achieve.

What does my new model look like?

Circumstance: Patient hands me a Disability form

Thought: If I can attend to that without distraction I can have it licked in 20 minutes, perhaps I can beat my own record?

Emotion: Energized

Action: schedule to do that form on Thursday at 0830 – I know that there are few people in the office at that time and I have to be done by 0900 as that when my clinic starts

Result: Start day with a completed  Disability form and a feel energized and efficient.

I challenge you to try it out. Monitor your thoughts or notice your emotions and then examine what the thought was that drove that emotion. When I look at my original model and examine my thought I do not do this with negativity toward myself, I do this with curiosity and wonder. Be kind to yourself! Is one hour of my life really sucked away because I was given a form? Of course not! I have the ability to create new thoughts! And then create a new model that will give you a result that serves you!


xx Sarah, the Charting Coach

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