Last Friday, I was in a big hurry. I stopped at home to grab some things, glanced in the mirror on my way out and noticed my hair was a little flyaway. I grabbed my hairspray, spraying and rushing to my car at the same time. I jumped in the car, pulled my sunglasses off my head, started to back out and realized I couldn’t see. So I take the sunglasses off, breathe on them, wipe them on my shirt and put them back on. Still can’t see. So I’m wondering what the heck, how did I get them so dirty? Try again. Nope, still can’t see. Finally, I realized that my sunglasses were on top of my head when I used my hairspray! It was on like glue, so I licked them (don’t judge me), wiped them on my shirt and went on my way.
That’s when know I need to slow down a little and maybe even say “no” to a few things. The reason why I write so much about time hacks and organization is not because I’m an expert. It’s because I need help. Sometimes I over schedule myself and have to much to do. That’s when the crazy things happen.
While I’m not an organization expert, I’m definitely a creative problem-solver. So when I find something that works, I really want to share it. I like to feel calm and in control, not frazzled and crazy.
As SLPs we deal with a lot of information on a daily basis. We have IEP’s and evaluation reports to write, articles and blogs to read, progress reports to crank out and projects to plan. I am all about streamlining and creating systems for some of these repetitive activities. I’m talking about all the tasks we know we’re going to have to do every week, month and year.
So here’s how I manage IEP present levels, evaluation templates and project planning. It’s all with the help of my two digital best friends Evernote and Asana.
For evaluation templates and IEP present levels, I use Evernote. Evernote is a FREE web based app and it’s amazing! This digital work space keeps me organized. Evernote is organized by Notebooks, which are like file cabinet drawers. I have a notebook for each school year. Within the Notebooks, your create “notes”. These are like the files. I add present level information for each student as a separate “note”. I don’t use birth dates or last names, so this is HIPAA compliant. Each note is titled “studentname IEP date”. When completed, I cut and paste into the IEP. The beauty of this is that I have last year’s present levels at my fingertips for comparison and for cutting and pasting.
Also, Evernote is mobile friendly and automatically synced to all of your devices. I also use Evernote for speech language evaluation reports (again, not including birthdates or last names), subjects (like Autism, AAC, Audiology, ASHA). It’s got a great search function; you just hit Control Q. The voice to text feature is much better than Siri. I used it to write this post. I just talked into my phone by pressing the little microphone icon on the keyboard and made corrections on my lap top. So handy.
I’ve been using Evernote for about five years now and it has been a lifesaver for me!
To manage my projects I no longer use post-it notes (I still like them though, I just kept losing them). I’ve gone digital with Asana. Asana is a web based app that also syncs across all devices. It’s an easy way to track your work and get results. While it was built to use with teams, I use it just for me. It’s simple to get started. And it’s free. You can quickly add and edit tasks on the go. No more searching for lost sticky notes or lists.
I’ve only been using Asana for the last three months, so I’m still learning all the features. I use it for work projects and also for home projects. Basically, you create a list, say for example Progress Reports. Then on that list, you create tasks, and give them due dates. So I looked at all the due dates and back tracked to when I would need to begin. Then I put that as a task and give it a due date. Now my progress report timeline for the year is set.
Each task has a check box, so when you complete a task you get to click that it’s done. Yes, sometimes I start with something I’ve already done just so I can mark it complete (insert nerd face emoji) The best part is when you check them off, sometimes a unicorn dances across the screen. Asana really helps me to organize my thoughts and create realistic timelines.
I hope this sparks some good ideas for you. I want to thank Maureen for giving me the opportunity to guest post on her beautiful blog. If you’d like to read some more SLP Time Hacks and ideas join me at www.beautifulspeechlife.com
Hey there! I’m Maureen Wilson, a school-base SLP who is data driven and caffeine powered. My passion is supporting other pediatric SLPs by teaching them how to harness the power of literacy and data to help their students achieve their goals…without sacrificing time they don’t have.