The idea that I would document my organizing work like therapy work was a no-brainer for me. While I’m glad that organizing work doesn’t require the nuances of documentation that occupational therapy does (I’m looking at you, Medicare), the basic needs are the same: track the time you spent, note your assessment findings, goals, and progress, and share with the client as applicable.

As I started my business with the intention of being as paperless as possible, I was also searching for a way to streamline the process of all of this documentation. To my knowledge, there is not ready-made software or apps specialized for organizing that would do all of these things. (Would you be interested in such a thing? I’ve always wanted to design an app…) So, I turned to Google.

Google can do so many things, y’all! And if it doesn’t do what you want, there’s probably an extension written by somebody who wanted to do the thing that you do. Here is how I used Forms and Sheets to create a process that would document my needs assessment, visits and hours.

The Needs Assessment

Create a Needs Assessment Form

My goal was to a) eliminate typing and b) not forget anything during assessments. After deciding what I wanted to include in my needs assessment, I created a google form with all of the questions that I wanted. Instead of sending the form to other people to fill out, I would be filling it out myself.

Needs Assessment form

Select a Destination Spreadsheet

The form can either send you an email with the responses, or send the responses to a spreadsheet. Tracking the responses in a spreadsheet is the choice that makes sense in this context, so I selected “send to a spreadsheet” and Google created one for me titled “Needs Assessment (Responses).” This doesn’t need to be pretty.

Needs Assessment Responses spreadsheet

Email Yourself a Shortcut

To make this form easy to access, I emailed it to myself and created a shortcut to it that lives on the home screen of my iPad. At an assessment visit, I open up the form and use it to document answers to the questions.

Group of forms on my tablet

Turn the Spreadsheet Into a Document

I wanted to generate a text report from my Needs Assessment form to share with the client. This lets them see how I’ve summarized their needs, goals, and our plan. There is an extension called Save as Doc you can add to Google Sheets that can turn whatever parts of the spreadsheet you want into a text document. Once the document is created, I edit it as needed and send it to the client. Not everyone uses Google Docs, so I copy and paste the text in the body of an email.

I barely had to type anything to make this document!

The Work Record

Create a Work Record Form

The next process to streamline was a record of visits and hours. Another form was in order. In this form, I track what areas we worked on that visit, homework for me and the client, the hours spent, and our next appointment. I do this at the end of the visit with the client. Using an app called PDF Expert, I can even have the client sign this form to acknowledge the hours.

Work Record form

Use the Work Record Spreadsheet to Track Your Hours

The Work Record responses populate another spreadsheet, which I can then use to keep track of total hours and hours by client. It’s easy to sort by client or date. I’m keeping all of my clients in one spreadsheet but you could create a separate form (and sheet) for each client if that suits your practice better.

Two examples of Work Record spreadsheets. Top: all clients. Bottom: Single client

The Takeaway

So far, I haven’t had to use any paper for documentation. My contract is a Google Form as well, which I have the client sign at the first visit. I’ve gotten feedback that the Needs Assessment summary is helpful (especially if the client is feeling overwhelmed). Documenting also means that you have to remember less.

I’m so happy that Google Drive offers these customizable solutions. I’d love to hear how you use or plan to use Forms, Sheets, Docs, or Slides in your practice

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