SLP Time Hacks: Time Saving Tips from Ten School SLP’s

SLP Time Hacks: Time Saving Tips from Ten School SLP’s

SLP Time Hacks
Life as an SLP is all about time, it’s one precious commodity! I’m always looking for ways to streamline my schedule so this week I asked some of my smart SLP friends for their expert advice. Here’s what they said:
Mia Reed McDaniel
Hmmmmm Time is my enemy. I’m always struggling to stay on schedule and use my time wisely. The biggest time eater for me is people stopping by my room to visit. As much as I love my co-workers, I had to resort to putting up a “Do Not Disturb – testing” sign from time to time just so I can make the best use of my time. Also, I keep TWO to-do lists, “To-Do NOW” and “To-Do LATER” which helps me prioritize and focus on what I need to do FIRST. Putting Words in Your Mouth
Looks Like Language
I am always late in therapy- too involved- but not in real life! What saves me is organization! Life tip- get lunch ready and clothes out the night before. Work tip- use page protectors to keep similar worksheet originals in one spot and store the page protector sheets in a binder labeled with the skill. Looks Like Language 
Felice Clark
I have my speech schedule tucked in the front of my data/therapy binder. For a while, I used to use a  timer to help me know when that last 5 minutes hit, so I could wrap up therapy. If we didn’t finish our lesson, then I would collect all the papers, crafts, etc. and store in my file folder for next session. The Dabbling Speechie
Susan Berkowitz
Prepare in advance. When I was in the schools I was in 5 different schools each week, which meant multiple schools each day and never enough drive and park time in-between (especially in the snow). I always tried to prep in advance (on a weekend) so that I had everything I needed for each group, all organized and together by group and stowed in the back of my van and ready to grab and run. My van was my office, so I had to keep it organized or life was a mess. I color coded the groups and could quickly see and grab. I also always kept a pile of good language games in the van, too, so that in a pinch I could always grab a game quickly if I needed to. But, like everyone who runs between schools I always was late and running – never enough time in the schedule.Kidz Learn Language
Lisette Edgar
My biggest plus for getting to work on time is that I live 1/2 mile from school! Other than that, prepping the night before helps. I have a small fridge in my room, and I bring meals/ sides for the week an store in there, so I am not fixing my lunch each morning. I usually eat a yogurt for breakfast first thing at work while I am checking e-mails…. Multi- tasking! Speech Sprouts
Sarah Wu
I have a couple: on Sunday night check your work email. It’s a pain but that way you can come to work in Monday and know you have “inbox zero.” My administration likes to send emails on Sunday and I don’t like coming in on Monday knowing there are emails I need to get through. Also, buying a black fleece jacket with the school district’s logo on it has been a lifesaver. There’s a “company store” on the school district’s website. I leave the fleece at work and I can throw it on if I encounter variable temperatures throughout the building and still look professional. I also leave a plain pair of black leather shoes at work under my desk during the winter so that when I wear my boots to work, I can quickly change out of boots and I don’t have to lug nice shoes along with everything else I carry to work! Phew! Speech is Beautiful
Kim Lewis
I can second a lot of what has already been said. I prep my lunch the night before (and as much of breakfast as I can–coffee is always set so it’s ready when I arrive in the kitchen) and my clothes. I almost always prep all of my sessions for the week on the weekend. I also use Dropbox frequently. This means if I have a few moments (if a session is cancelled, for example), I can work on progress notes or a blog post or something more productive than checking social media! I run late all the time. I will set the timer on my phone to make sure I wrap things up in time. My students and I have to walk back and forth to my “house” for speech–great on nice weather days, a huge pain when it’s raining–but I often underestimate how much time little legs need for travelling. I’m always saying, “let’s use fast feet” 😉 Activity Tailor
Tracy Willock Morgan
I have been concentrating on finishing what I start. It is very easy to get into the pattern of starting, stopping, re-starting, etc. Having to re-start something multiple times is a total time thief. Please don’t hate me, but I am one of “those” who is always on time. IDK-I think I’m just wired that way. Gold Country SLP
Jennifer Bradley
I pre make lunches and pack my materials/files bag the night before. To get my husband to stay on time, I set his clock ahead by 10 minutes (he still doesn’t know!)
Such great ideas! I would have to say my biggest timesaver at work is Evernote. I have it on my laptop at home and at school and it is synced to my iPhone and my iPad. It’s my giant digital file cabinet. I keep present levels and evaluation reports in a “notebook”. Evernote  is organized by notebooks and notes. For getting to work, I have lunches ready (I’d say in 4 out of 5 opportunities as measured by therapist data…haha) and I have my outfits for the week lined up in the closet. 
My biggest tip is to find a little bit of time just for you everyday, even if it’s in the small hours of the morning before everyone else is awake. I try to stick to that because it really keeps me grounded and positive.
I hope you can use some of these tips to make your days run more smoothly. I know I will. Be sure to click on the blog names to be taken straight to more SLP blogger tips and insight. Such a great community!
Anne Page Speech Language Pathologist
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SLP Time Hacks to Make Your Day Easier: Let’s Do Lunch

SLP Time Hacks to Make Your Day Easier: Let’s Do Lunch

SLP Time Hacks Let's Do LunchThis month I am focusing on time, how to become friends with it, how to enjoy it and how to use it to keep my life on track with my dreams.

As a school SLP (I’m sure all you teachers relate too),  I feel like I’m always juggling and bartering with the universe for more time in  pretty much all areas. Time to work out, time to eat healthy, time for paperwork, time for therapy, time for planning, time for family, time for friends and oh yeah some time for me.
Today, I’m thinking about food…specifically lunch.  January is when we all decide to get back on track with our eating. Healthy eating takes commitment and time. Time to plan, purchase, prep, cook and eat. It’s so easy and cheap to be unhealthy, just go to McDonald’s. (I’m sorry but yuck.)
Working in the schools, we don’t have time to go out for lunch. Most of us use our 30 minutes to scarf something down while we write a report or catch up on Facebook.
This year I’m trying to be more mindful of my food consumption. To put healthy food in my body and to enjoy, even savor  eating it. I know that’s a tall order. I’m not an expert on the subject by any means but here are some weekly habits that help me stay energized and healthy.
1. Cook enough protein the night before to have a serving with your lunch. I don’t like leftovers, don’t even like the word. But I do like cooking an extra chicken breast that I can slice and put on a yummy salad. 
2. Meal prep on the weekend. Set aside a couple of hours on Saturday or Sunday to chop vegetables, cook meat, bake sweet potatoes, make soup, make egg bites, or salad in mason jars. If you’re feeling very Pinterest check out my Pinterest Board: Healthy School Lunches for Me.
3. Buy pre-made salads at the grocery store. Trader Joe’s, Sprouts, Whole foods and even Safeway all have great little individual salads. Sometimes I buy the salad kits and leave one in the fridge at work, they last me for three days and I’ll just add protein.
4. Keep an emergency stash of protein bars. It’s really important to get enough protein to balance with your carbs and avoid the blood-sugar-dropping mid-afternoon slump. At least then on those rush days you can grab an apple and have your chocolate chip cookie dough quest bar, (my personal favorite).
5. Keep a healthy snack drawer. I am a snacker,  I need one mid morning and mid afternoon snack every day. Mine includes quest bars, kind bars, almonds, trail mix, Almond butter packets, chocolate hazelnut packets,(to die for),Mary’s crackers, rice crackers, and good dark chocolate. (Always a must.)
6. Mix it up. Try not to get in a food rut and eat the same thing every day. I avoid bread but every once in a while I bring a sandwich made from Ezekial bread or a wrap. That way I don’t get bored and decide I need to eat something from the cafeteria.
7. Take a few uninterrupted minutes to enjoy your food. Did you know you can be eating the most nutritious food in the world but if you are not enjoying it your body may not metabolize it to the fullest?
8. Eat with someone you like, even if that is yourself. Eating with negative people can’t be good for you and it’s certainly an energy drain when you’re busy trying to replenish.
9. Get up and move! Walk around the school, stretch, get some fresh air. Our job requires a lot of desk work, take a few minutes at lunch to breathe and get some movement. You’ll be glad you did.
10. Water. Period. Make sure you hydrate. So important. Lack of water is the number one trigger of daytime fatigue. A 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math and difficulty focusing on the computer screen. Can’t have that while we’re doing our Medicaid billing now can we?
I hope you can use some of these ideas to help your weekdays go more smoothly. By planning ahead and preparing yourself a yummy lunch, you’ll have something to look forward to and give yourself enough energy to make it through the day.
And maybe even have some time for yourself at the end of the day.
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Anne Page Speech Language Pathologist

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