Last week in our school SLP blog series, we talked about the many roles and responsibilities of SLPs in the schools. One of those responsibilities is the dreaded SLP paperwork.
Paperwork is a sore subject among school-based SLPs. Why is it such a sore subject? Well, it’s all part of the unrealistic expectations placed on SLPs and the constant changes we have to deal with.
The amount of paperwork required is high. A lot of it is redundant, meaning you have multiple forms that say the same thing. Your caseload is high, so you have to complete progress reports, IEPs, Medicaid, etc. in vast amounts.
It’s not easy to keep track of all of the deadlines, manage your caseload, keep to your schedule, and do quality therapy on top of it all. Heck, sometimes it’s physically impossible to manage.
Although I don’t have a magic wand to reduce your job responsibilities, I do have an organized way that you can create a system that works for you and your specific needs! Here is your step-by-step guide to managing your SLP paperwork.
STEP 1: Take Inventory
Each school, district, and state has different paperwork requirements and job responsibilities. Think about the main things that are required of you. What do you have to track for each student? What deadlines do you have to keep?
Create a brain dump of all of the important things that you will need to track. If you are not sure what a brain dump is, it’s basically a giant list of everything you can think of. Sometimes it’s easier if you separate the items you have to track into categories, like caseload tracking, deadlines, job tasks, etc.
STEP 2: Make a Plan
Organize your brain dump into one column. Now, make a plan of how you will track each item. Will you use a printed planner? Digital planner? Google calendar? Maybe you have SLP Toolkit and will use that. Or maybe you’re like me and use a combination of all of those. Lol
I put my responsibilities in one column and the way I’ll track in the column next to it. See an example of part of my list below.
STEP 3: Gather Your Materials
Ok, here’s the fun part. What materials do you need to put your plan into action? Think about what you’ll need for your printed forms, digital forms, appointments, etc. Then, go shopping and make sure you have everything you need to set up your perfect system!
If you are looking for a way to set up a printed planner or a digital planner, I have video tutorials for both! Check them out below. Click the image to go to the post.
STEP 4: Set Up Your System
Now it’s time to use your materials to set up your tracking system. Grab everything and create your planner, set up your calendar, or make any forms or spreadsheets you don’t have yet.
You definitely want to make sure that the system you create is functional for you. It needs to jive with your personality as well as your school’s climate and requirements.
Make sure you think through details like what you’ll do with papers that come in and go out. (Hint: prevent the pile…aka try not to let them stack up on your desk.) Think about how you’ll handle distractions and certain crazy times of the year.
STEP 5: Try Out Your System
I recommend sticking with your system for at least 2 weeks. After that time, reevaluate your system. Think about what worked and what needs to be tweaked. How can you make it even more functional or streamline your processes?
Take a look around and self-reflect. Are you losing track of deadlines? Are you able to combat distractions? Think about your schedule. Set aside specific times in your calendar to take care of large tasks.
I know some of these steps might take you a minute, but it’s well worth it, friend. They say an hour of planning can save you 10 hours of doing.
If you want a walk-through challenge for each of these steps plus a cute workbook to boot, be sure to sign up for my Free SLP Paperwork Boss Email Challenge! It’ll guide you through creating your systems slowly over 5 days, taking it one step at a time.
Happy planning, friend! What kind of systems do you have in place?