Time Management Tips for School OTs

Time Management Tips for School OTs
Cross Country Education
January 10, 2023 02:26 AM (GMT-05:00)
Educator Resources

A Step-by-Step Guide for Managing Your Time as a School-Based Occupational Therapist

Being a school-based occupational therapist can be personally rewarding and lots of fun, but only when you feel you’ve got enough time.

School days are short, there’s not much available time to work with kids, and the year seems to fly by. As a school OT, you have to find the time to serve students, attend IEP meetings, keep up with data, juggle communications, collaborate with colleagues, and much more!

Plus, it’s important to leave work at work, so you can relax at home and return to work refreshed and ready to go.

Try implementing these steps to streamline your schedule and optimize the way you deliver OT services!

  1. First, create a list of all of the items you have to do and label them as: between sessions, daily, weekly, monthly, annually or as needed. Keep the list handy in your calendar or agenda. Here’s an example:
Review your calendar/agenda
Check and respond to emails and phone calls
Daily/as needed
Prepare for and attend IEP meetings
As needed
Schedule OT sessions
Prepare and plan for sessions (activities, materials, equipment)
Serve students (push -in/pull-out)
Clean up (sanitize equipment, wash hands, etc.)
Between sessions
Travel (between classrooms or schools)
Between sessions
Review student files/evaluations
Evaluate/assess students
As needed
Develop treatment plans
As needed
Order equipment
As needed
Train/advise teachers/parapros
As needed
Manage OT assistants (OTAs)
Daily (if relevant)
Collect data
As needed
Assess progress
As needed
Evaluate your own performance (review professional goals)
Research OT methods and strategies that can improve services
  1. Next, review your calendar or agenda with your list in mind. Schedule everything you can. For example, block out time each morning and afternoon to review your schedule, check emails and return calls. Put a note on one day each month to reflect on your own performance and research OT methods. Group like tasks so you can be more efficient rather than feeling like you’re spinning around in circles.
  2. Keep organized resource files. Knowing where your go-to resources are can save you time and energy. Use your browsers’ bookmarks folder to keep things organized. Create (and stick to) a logical naming system for your computer folders and files.
  3. Take wellness breaks. Throughout the day, practice self-care. take time to briefly walk outside, take some deep breaths, and get centered. Don’t forget to use the bathroom and eat healthy snacks! Educators are notorious for neglecting the necessities since they’re in such a rush.
  4. Say no when you need to. Don’t take on more than you can handle. Don’t be afraid to ask for more time if you need it. When you create your schedule, try to be realistic about what’s humanly possible. Many educational professionals burnout because they hit the ground running and want to ace every “test.” Do your best and pace yourself.
  5. Tidy up. Clearing your workspace of clutter can do wonders for your psyche, especially if you’re feeling overwhelmed! Set a timer for 5 or 10 minutes and organize. OTs have a lot of resources, equipment and paperwork. Getting these in order can help you find what you need and save time. Plus, it’s just more professional to be tidy.

Find out where students need your specialized skills as a school OT now!

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