Back to school season for SLPs calls for all the paperwork tips and ideas. I’m always on the hunt for a better system. Maybe it’s because there is no organization system that can take the paperwork away or have it complete itself. Lol
That mountain of paperwork and responsibilities is frustrating, isn’t it? But, why is that exactly? Here are a few reasons I think that paperwork in the schools (or any state system) is so difficult:
- There is SO much to track – How many hats do you wear throughout the day? We manage IEPs, evaluations, RTI, re-evaluations, counseling, coaching, and the list goes on. Oh, and don’t forget we have to actually do evidenced based therapy at some point too.
- It’s hard to keep it all organized – Because we are pulled in so many different directions and have a LOT of responsibilities on our plates, it can be tough to keep it all straight.
- Deadlines are never-ending – Deadlines are like dishes and laundry, they are always there. When you finish one thing, it’s off to the next.
So, what do we do about it? Let’s look at my top tips to help SLPs tackle the paperwork monster.
1. Have a quality planner
A good planner is essential. You definitely want to be able to keep track of all of your caseload deadlines and responsibilities in one place. Plus, you need something that will work for YOU specifically. It needs to fit your personal needs and be easy to change and manage.
This is the planner I use. I love that it’s editable and covers everything I need to keep track of. It stays in my work bag, so I always have it to reference. If you want see how I put my planner together you can check out this post.
2. Use Google Keep
If you haven’t used this free digital post-it notes tool, you’re in for a fun surprise! I went from sticky notes all over my desk to these amazing digital sticky notes all in one spot. I have a tutorial over on my Instagram highlights if you want to see how I use it.
Spruce them up with some cutesie headers! You can grab these from my free resource library!
3. Have a drawer system
Does your job require you to use specific papers or forms? You might want to use files or drawers to collect them, and don’t forget the cutesy labels! I like to use little drawer organizers to keep track of things that I’m currently working on. They’re a little more confidential than a file folder.
I also find that it’s really helpful to know ahead of time what you will do with papers that come into your office and papers that have to go out of your office. And… (I hate to say this one because I’m bad at it too) if you deal with these papers right away, you’re less likely to end up with a big stack later. I like designating an inbox and an outbox and taking care of the things that flow through them as often as possible.
4. Use a binder with tabs
If you keep your student data sheets on paper, you definitely want to take advantage of tabs! You can group them by day, grade, or even by name. I like using these alphabet tabs to make it easy to quickly find each student, especially since they are often in different groups from day to day.
5. Go digital!
If you’re like me, you probably want do deal with the least amount of papers possible. Although I still use my paper SLP planner for some things, I am trying to slowly change over to digital as much as I can.
You can do this easily with digital planner pages, Google calendar, or other Google apps. Check out this blog post on how I use a digital planner!
If you want a personalized step-by-step challenge to get your paperwork in order, you should definitely check out my Paperwork Boss Email Challenge! It comes with a free workbook and will help you totally take charge of that SLP paperwork!