The beginning of the school year means to-do lists a mile long. I want to share two ideas to show you how I increase my focus and get more done. When you have so much to do, it can be hard to get anything done. There are two ways I’m keeping on track so far this year. I thought I’d share these simple tips.
Step one. Noise Canceling headphones. Do you share an office? Do you have an office in the copy room? What about just an office that is so hot you have to leave the door open to keep yourself cool? The thing about SLPs is that we’re social people! I would rather chat about a student than write that IEP. If I do get chatty, it could take me 90 minutes to write an IEP instead of 30. Multiply that times the (at least) 130 IEPs I will write this year and it adds up!
Before I flew to Denver last year for ASHA, I invested in an expensive pair of Bose noise canceling headphones. It was my gift to myself to make flying easier and celebrate my accomplishment (presenting at ASHA). Here is an Amazon affiliate link for your convenience for the set I bought! You can add these to your Christmas list because they are pretty expensive.
Instead of just storing them for most of the year when I’m not using them, I brought them to work! I’ve been able to get so much done when I pop the headphones on. Be warned, I’ve missed bus duty twice because I was wearing them and didn’t hear the bells!
They help me stay focused because I don’t get distracted in conversation or messing around in my office. They’re a signal to others that I’m trying to really focus and get something done.
The second really helpful strategy is prioritizing my to-do list. I read about the ABC strategy this summer which basically means you prioritize your items into three groups A, B and C. You must decide which things you need to get done ASAP and which things can wait. Instead of calling it the ABC method, I’ve been writing SLP at the top of my page.
I started the school year with a giant sheet of paper. At the end of the first week, I had a giant page of scribbles and I needed to organize it! Since then, I’ve made a more beautiful version to keep on my desk every week!
The SLP stands for Soon/Later/Possible. In the S column, write anything you must get done with first priority. These are things that need to be done this week. In the L column, write anything you’d need to get done this week or next. The P column holds anything that you don’t want to forget about, but that doesn’t need to be urgent.
You can download the freebie in my ShopSpeechRoomNews.com store.
Ready to print it? Try printing it two sheets per page to make the lists smaller! Loving the idea? Use thick lamination and create a master list that you write on with a dry erase marker!
Leave me some feedback on TpT or in a comment here and let me know if either of these strategies are helpful! I can’t wait to hear about how you might use them or what else you use to increase your focus and get more done.
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Great Jenna! I have been needing a “pretty” form for this system that I already use lol. I love the SLP spin on it. Thanks for sharing. Glad to know I am not the only one needing focusing tips. My husband has those noise cancelling head phones and I often find myself pantomiming to get his attention because they work wonders lol.
Great tips, I like the idea of laminating a to do list. I have the wireless Bose noise cancelling head phones (came out this year) and I love them! I take them with me to coffee shops and cafes. Such a good investment. Us SLPs know the importance of protecting our ears.
Beauty and function! They’re coming off my printer right now and I can’t wait to use them. Thanks so much for sharing Jenna. You’re the best!
Natalie Snyders says
Great ideas! Definitely going to look into the noise cancelling headphones.
I printed one and put it inside a frame (hello organized dry erase board) and command velcro stripped it to my wall…now, I can have it up where it’s out of the way or pull it off the wall to have it there beside me. Thanks for the inspiration!
Amy roberts says
I love these ideas!! Thank you for the SLP page! I like the idea of using a dry erase marker. I love being able to “wipe” something off my to do list!
Seriously love your SLP page! I wI’ll be printing it ASAP! Like you, I find that headphones of any kind, keep people from stopping by my room to chat for long.
I love the SLP way of organizing your to-dos. I’ve found that by the end of a work week I have way too many sticky notes and papers with things to remember or to do. On Friday afternoon, I like to go through it all and put it all on ONE list and cross out the things I’ve already taken care of. I think using the Soon, Later, Possible method will help me even more with tracking priorities.
Thank you for everything you share with us!
That what used to happen to me Jordan! This new system is working great!
Where did you order the legal pad in the top picture with your name and credentials?
I ordered it from ErinCondren.com. Our school mascot is the Monarch, so that one was fitting!
This is great!! Thank you for the freebie!!
Lisa grib says
I splurged and bought some headphones! They are great for really “tuning out” distractions & interruptions & “tuning in”‘to paperwork! I love listening to Zen Garden (Tranquility Series) on Pandora.
Those headphones are now on my wish list. Thank you for always sharing fabulous ideas!
Love these sheets! I actually started using a notebook to help me get more organized. Yours are much prettier! I don’t have noise cancelling head phones (great idea, though) I do put my ear buds in and listen to music while working on reports and IEPs. I get so much more done. Even so, I have been late for bus duty because I was so involved with what I was doing.
I really like the Soon, Later, Possible. I have not always been successful with a daily To-Do-List.
I think this will help me feel more accomplished from a weekly perspective. Thanks.