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
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
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
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
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
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
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!
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