Type B SLP Tips Part 1: Productivity
55+ progress reports, 3 evaluation reports, 2 IEP meetings, over a month worth of billing, due in the next 5 days...
Does this sound familiar?
I have some helpful quick tips for being productive as a Type B SLP in a Type A world (haha!)
Read that again..... UNPLUG YOURSELF FROM YOUR PHONE. I have to literally set my phone two rooms over so that I'm not tempted to mindlessly scroll through IG or memes from 2010 when I should really be writing progress reports or evaluations. It's a horrible habit that I work diligently to break.
If you're at work and sitting at your desk, go plug your phone in in an outlet across the room (trust me, it's never THAT important that you have to get up and go all the way over there to check what's happening on your best friend's cousin's influencer sister).
However, if you're still struggling, the new IOS on apple (sorry non-apple users) has a really cool feature in its setting called downtime. Basically, you set a time limit (that you can later remove), and this thing makes you feel GUILTY if you try to get out of it. I like it because I can still receive texts and phone calls if needed.
OR maybe just put that baby on airplane mode when you plug it in wayyyy across your house/classroom.
When I'm sitting at work after I'm done seeing students, I can only sit in one spot for so long. I keep a post-it note next to my laptop, and I write down a time 20-30 minutes from the current time (i.e. if it's 3pm, I write down "3:25"). When the clock hits that time on the post-it note, I go for a quick walk around my building. I don't like to set a timer because, a) I'd then get distracted by my phone after turning off said timer, and b) I don't really like the pressure of the timer. Instead, if I'm super focused and then all of a sudden realize, "whoa...how long have I been going at it?" (and I mentally pat myself on the back for focusing for so long lol). I can be super excited when I see I'm 10 or 15 minutes past my post-it note time.
If you're worried about running into a coworker who's going to chat your ear off: don't! Have a quick 3 minute conversation with them and then tell them: "let me send you an email and we'll follow up this conversation. But right now, I'm in the middle of 60 progress reports!" They'll likely be in the same stressed-out boat and are just avoiding paperwork, and that 3 minute chat actually helped the both of you take that quick brain break you both needed.
I always have my Lacroix and my pringles. 'Nuff said.
FOUR: BREAK IT UP.
Okay yes, obviously you're not going to sit down and write 65 progress reports in one single sitting (I say "obviously" like I haven't ever done it). That's actually going to make you hate this entire process even more. So, I highly suggest you break those long writing days up into smaller manageable parts. For example, I know I can get about 20 students' progress reports done before I totally fizzle out. I then count backwards from the due date to determine when I need to start the reports if I'm going to try to get 20 done per day. This has certainly saved my sanity instead of sitting in my office until 8 or 9pm writing for hours and hours (I've done this, in the dead of winter, being the only person left in the building... do not do as I do.)
Yes, a Type B telling you to plan *gasps*.
BUT I've done things very differently in the past, and have made my life much harder than it needed to be. Really this blog post should be called "here are some SLP mistakes to learn from." Lol.
But hear me out: if you know you have to write 20 progress reports after you're done performing therapy all day with 55+ students, do you really think you're going to be in the right state of mind all day? It's like the feeling of Sunday scaries ALL DAY while you're at work!
On days that I KNOW I'll be putting in longer than usual paperwork hours, I plan my day accordingly. Guess what? I actually EAT LUNCH on my lunch. I don't try to cram in a month of billing or 15 emails to parents. I let my mind rest and I take a true, blissful lunch. It's like a pre-reward for the hell I'll be in later. Sometimes I even leave my cave and go eat with coworkers. Can you even imagine? Adult conversation in the middle of the day?
This truly keeps my mental state fresh and ready for all the paperwork I'll be crushin' later that day.
FIVE (and a half): PLAN.
I don't know about you, but I just can't keep up with a planner. I buy them, use them for a month or two, and then they collect dust in the back of my desk. Instead, I make a quick list every Monday morning and every Friday afternoon. Monday's lists contain all the meetings I have that week and what IEPs I need to start/finish, plus whatever billing I need to complete. Friday's lists contain the things I need to get done over the weekend (grocery shop, pick up sensory bin fillers, pick up themed book at the library, etc.).
I like to have my week laid out for me for two reasons: first, it's not as overwhelming as a full month and, two, it helps me figure out which afternoons I may need to stay a little late or come in a little early (because I don't know about you, but I'm team "bring no work home" this year!). I created this freebie to keep on my clipboard at work so that I have constant access to a place I can write down meetings, notes, lists, ideas, etc. Grab yours below!
Grab this freebie to help with organization
I've got more tips comin' up soon! Straight from a whole slew of Type B-ers (aka all of my fellow Type B SLPs over on IG!).