SLP Tips for Taking Less Work Home

SLP Tips for Taking Less Work Home

Our job is so involved. At times, it's nearly impossible to find time to do it all. However, coming in to work early, staying late, and taking work home are a recipe for SLP burnout. Here's how you can avoid frequently taking work home.

Change how you schedule your students.

Adjust your schedule so that you see students for direct therapy 4 days a week and save one day for all the other necessary parts of your job. Keep your one day sacred and use it to complete things like screenings, testing, make-up sessions, RTI checkups/updates, speech-only ARCs, evaluations, paperwork, etc. I schedule students Monday-Thursday and save Fridays as my "everything else" day.

Change how you plan your activities.

Limit the fancy activities that take forever to prep! I find this easier now that I work with older students, but honestly, the less time I spend prepping my materials, the more time I have to do everything else. I primarily use no-prep/low-prep activities (my store is full of them) and I'm still an effective therapist. If you do use high-prep materials, grab a friend to help you put them together and laminate them so you can use them over and over (that way you still only prep them once). Then keep them organized so you can quickly grab what you need at a moment's notice.

Change how you bill Medicaid.

Don't get behind on Medicaid billing! It takes FOREVER to get caught up if you're having to look back at weeks of data. Instead, save a bit of time at the end of each school day for Medicaid billing, or complete it during the last 5 minutes of a session. I use SLP Toolkit and their data copying feature makes billing a breeze.

Take a day.

When progress reports are due, take a day. No, not a day off so you're working from home. Cancel all your therapy sessions for one day and get your paperwork completed. You likely have 4x the number of students as any other SpEducator that you work with, so it may take you 4x as long to get the work done for all your students. Do not feel guilty taking a day to get this done. Pro tip: Scheduling students 4 days a week, as mentioned earlier, makes it easier to dedicate a whole day to knocking out progress reports. 

Use templates.

You write IEPs and reports all the time. Why not make templates to save time when writing them? I keep a general template for every section of the IEP, including present levels, SDI, least restrictive environment, etc. This way, I save time writing the outlines and can simply input information that is relevant to the specific student. This is a huge time saver and keeps me from taking IEPs home. I do the same with my speech-language reports.

Say "no".

Don't take on more than you have to. If you're drowning in work, it may be time to have conversations and ask to be removed from a committee or duty. You may have to delegate roles to other professionals. For example, SLPs are not the only person in the building who can create visuals and write social stories. It's okay to delegate these tasks to other people.

Ask for help.

If it's impossible to create time during your day to get anything done beyond direct therapy, it's time to ask for help. Let your special education director or principal know, and give them an opportunity to help. They may be able to easily implement a solution. It's worth asking!

Change your work environment.

If all else fails, and your current work environment isn't allowing you the opportunity to get your work done during the school day, it may be time to make a change. Some districts provide time for their SLPs to get work completed during the day. It might be working and looking into finding a district or new placement (clinic, early intervention, etc.) that respects your time and caseload/workload so that you're able to be your best self.

How do you keep from taking work home?

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