This time of year is especially crazy! Anyone else feel like a headless chicken? Unless I have a calendar or my to do list in front of me, I often don’t know what’s next. Here are five things that I use to help keep me on track…
1. Caseload Spreadsheet with Due Dates
Pretty simple, but so important. I have a spreadsheet listing my students’ names and their evaluation/IEP due dates. This helps me quickly see when everything will be due. Excel has a nifty feature to sort by date, so it’s easy to see which paperwork is due first. (Check out this post for more details. It’s one of my oldies, but it’s still helpful!) If I have a lot of meetings due at the same time, then I might add a column to put in the scheduled meeting date–so I know which paperwork needs to get done first.
2. Google Calendar for Scheduling
My Google Calendar keeps me on track! I put all of my appointments in my calendar. I love it, because it syncs with my phone and my personal computer. If I need to schedule a personal appointment or if something comes up, I can easily see which days/times would work best. Here are a few things that I’ve done to make it work for me…
I schedule all of my therapy times and make the appointments reoccurring.
I also enter my meetings. (Since my therapy times are already blocked off, it makes it easy to see when I’m free.)
3. Google Calendar for To Do List Items
I create “all day” events for my to-do list. This is my favorite feature, because it has helped me be consistent and follow through with things I say I’m going to do.
Every month or so, I sit down and look at my caseload spreadsheet. I put in an event for when I need to start scheduling a meeting, writing an IEP, etc.
I make reoccurring to dos for things I need to do every few weeks or once a month (e.g., turn in overload paperwork).
As things come up, I add events to my calendar. If a teacher asks me to screen a student, I put it on the calendar. If I need to turn something in, I put it on the calendar. If I need to follow up with a teacher, I put it on the calendar.
Jumping ahead a little…I also use checklists to keep me on track. Depending on how much extra help I need, the checklist tasks may or may not make onto my calendar!
4. Pre-Made Checklists
I’ve talked about these checklists before, but they are also saving me from losing my mind! They help me…
Not forget important pieces (like scheduling a meeting…eep!)
Not waste time making lists (I’m guilty of making lists to make lists to make lists. Anyone else do that?)
Feel less stressed (They help me feel like I have a plan, and I know the work will get done.)
Keep track of my notes (e.g., If I call a parent and they tell me something I need to include in my paperwork, I can quickly jot down notes on that child’s checklist.)
How? I made checklists for my IEPs and evaluations. I also made a lesson plan template with a to do list. The product includes many more editable checklists (based on other SLPs’ requests!), but the three I listed are my personal favorites. I laminate them so I can reuse them, which I like!
5. Sticky Notes
If there is something that I have to get done by the end of the day, I will jot it down on a sticky note and put it on my desk. I confess. I’m a sticky note waster. I usually put one task on each sticky note. It keeps me from putting too much on my plate, and it keeps me motivated. When I complete a task, I love crumpling up a sticky note and throwing it in the trash! If I don’t finish everything I wanted to get done, then I add it to my Google Calendar.
Those are my five tips for you! Now tell me…what is your favorite way to keep track of all things SLP?