Stay Focused! I don’t know how many times I have yelled that to myself, in my head of course, during an audit. Sometimes staying focused on the task at hand can be difficult, and if it’s during an audit, it’s important.
During an audit there is a lot of information to process, and inevitably you are going to hit a point where you feel that your brain is full and you can’t go on any longer; you can’t read another line in the procedure, you can’t check another record, you can’t listen to one more word. Usually, this has nothing to do with the subject matter, it doesn’t mean that the person in front of you is droning on and on and is getting tough to listen to (well, sometimes it is), that what you are reviewing isn’t completely interesting. Sometimes you just need a break.
What happens during an audit is that you are usually pressured to get your auditing task completed, so you just keep going, collecting information, more and more of it, until your brain is overflowing. The first thing you need to do is take a little break. I know for me, it is hard to do that. You get started and you just keep going. Because all eyes are you, for the next question, the next audit trail to follow up on. Why? Not because they are that into auditing, definitely, no. Usually, because they want to get this process over with as quickly as possible in order to get on with other stuff, so let’s just keep the pressure on the auditor. It’s tough, it’s mentally fatiguing.
So remember, take a break. You can also just change your view, go follow up on something that changes what you are doing. If you are reviewing records, then go interview someone. If you are interviewing, go tour an area and observe. If you are touring and are tired, go sit down and read some documents or records. Or even, go get a quick drink (non-alcoholic of course), something to change your focus for a minute.
Loosing focus during the audit happens to the best of us. Just make sure you don’t fall asleep and start drooling.