For those of you who haven’t noticed, or who are walking around with your eyes closed so you won’t notice, spring has sprung! This, of course, means only one thing for educators, parents of children with disabilities, and behavior analysts: IEP Season is nearing!
You can recognize the signs anywhere:
- school personnel are scrambling around trying to get consent to re-assess
- parents are panicked that their child is going to have the same IEP again
- behavior analysts are writing progress reports to submit at meetings
- we are all checking our calendars like we are Hollywood elite
IEP Season does not have to be chaotic. We have a few tips for you to remain in control of your life during this busy time.
Stay on top of your work load by keeping your calendar with you at all times. We realize that some of you may be stuck in the dinosaur ages with your paper calendars. Utilize a digital calendar such as Outlook to manage your meeting schedule. Sync it up with your iPhone, Blackberry, or other PDA. Be sure to sync it often so that you do not inadvertently double book yourself.
Many digital calendars have reminders. Set the reminders and heed their warnings. You can remind yourself days, weeks, and even minutes before the scheduled activity.
Calendars are a great way to keep track of your appointments, mileage, and due dates.
Task lists are another tool that you can use to simplify your life. Software such as Outlook allow for a task list that comes with due dates, alarms, and space to indicate progress. Some people prefer to start the day by developing a task list for the day. Then items may be crossed off as they are completed. Whichever strategy you prefer, choose one and use it.
Just Say No: to Procrastination
The weather is turning beautiful in many places. Do not forgo a deadline in order to bask in the beautiful sunlight–unless you can kill two birds with one stone. This time of year, it is hard to make yourself remain indoors to finish that report or send that last email. However, if you don’t work through that Task List, you will find yourself in a panic as the deadlines near.
Just say No: to Requests You Cannot Fulfill
Only you know what your task list and calendar look like. Thus, only you can determine if your schedule permits you to take on another task. If you do not have the time to complete the task correctly, consider declining the responsibility. If you are the only person who can complete the task, then you may be spread too thin and work adjustments should be made.
Use Assistance and Assistants Wisely
Many of us have an assistant available who can perform some tasks for us (e.g., returning phone calls, printing documents, etc). If you have access to an assistant, use the assistant wisely to make the most of your busy days.
Even if you do not have an assistant, be aware of the resources that surround you. Seek out assistance from others when possible. Is it feasible to ask someone else to complete a task? Is the task within their skill level and training competency? Are there individuals who are looking for more opportunities? Enlist their assistance as part of on-going training and experience.
Clean Your Desk Daily
Take a few minutes each day to clean your desk and organize your piles. Starting each day fresh with a clean desk will help you organize your daily task list. Additionally, if you clean your desk each day, your files will remain better organized and you will spend less time searching for that elusive note or document. Finally, if your desk is clean, you will be certain to avoid any HIPAA violations.
We hope you approach this upcoming busy season with great success. We would love to hear what strategies you use to remain sane during this busy time. Please share!