The First Week - Eat Your Toads and Keep Everything Visible!

This week, The Frenzied SLPs are sharing ideas about the first week of school. My advice is - Eat Your Toads and Keep Everything Visible.
The first week, I always feel like I start out behind, no matter how much prepping I do.
I can get my room ready, check and re-check student lists, and prep materials.
I might even feel like I'm actually ahead of the game.
It won't stay that way.
My principal and Sp Ed director will stuff for me to do.
The school and Sp Ed secretaries will give me forms to fill out.
(And above all, make your secretaries happy. Get their tasks done first and quickly.)
Parents will stop by.
Teachers will have requests.
I'll get unexpected emails and phone calls.
New students with a range of needs.
And that can be in just one day.
Here is where the toad comes in.
We had a speaker a few years ago who used the phrase Eat Your Toads.
It just means - do the difficult stuff first.
Make the phone call you don't want to make. Return the awkward email. Talk to the hard-to-talk-to co-worker.
If you do the hard stuff first, the rest of your to-do list looks pretty easy.
If I put the phone call I don't want to make at the end of my list, I'll procrastinate on the easy things because I don't want to get to the end of my list.
If I make the phone call first, I feel like a superhero flying through the rest of the list.
My desk is set out according to my toad tasks.
Phone calls are my least favorite tasks. I don't know why. They are not usually that bad. But that's my toad. So my phone is at my left so I can work left-to-right. Phone calls - tackled!

After that, the computer, post-it and stack kind of go together. Those three hold the rest of my tasks that I prioritize. What helps me out the most is actually seeing what I need to do. I always save files and they go somewhere deep in my computer into Documents or Downloads or something. So I started saving everything to my desktop.
The Organization Wallpaper for Desktops helps, and it's free in our store!
At the left are the projects I'm working on - it can be IEPs, FIEs, therapy materials, forms, whatever. That space changes. Whatever I need to do is right there and I can't forget about it.

Most Used files are in the middle and rarely change. Those are my templates and forms I use often.
There's an Other folder for things from technology that I don't know what to do with.

I have a confession. Sometimes, I complete a task just so I can file it away or cross it off. After I finish an FIE, I file it away and it's off my desktop. It's a sickness, I know. And what's even worse? I call it #virtualcrumpling. There, you know my deep, dark secret.

The post-it is there for pop-ins. You know, the teacher who comes by to ask about a student, the principal who comes by to ask about meetings... I write down those things.
And the stack is usually a pile of Sp Ed folders. The stack changes based on my priorities. IEPs that need to be processed first go on top.

And I have a bonus tip for you - clean out your email. I have a friend who has no more than 5 emails in her inbox at a time. I'm not there, but I do try to keep my inbox where I don't have to scroll down. Because if an email isn't visible, it's forgotten.
When you get an email, make a quick decision. If you want to delete it, do it now.
If it has a date, add it to your calendar and delete the email.
I file policy changes in my Sp Ed mailbox after writing the changes on my checklist.
No more going through emails more than once!

I hope you have a year full of staying ahead - or just even - by eating toads and keeping tasks visible!

Get even more tips by clicking on the links!

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