In Pursuit of an Organized Life

. . . putting life in order


I am trying to be more purposeful in planning my SLP sessions. I can often try to look for the perfect activity to do with a group, change my mind repeatedly on what I want to cover, or grab something at the last-minute.   None of these activities are an especially good use of my time.I’ve tried a variety of ways to organize activities I like.   The trick is sometimes to remember to look at and use them.

Previously my organization has focused on IEP goals (the skills I want students to learn with me).    Now I would like to try organizing it by unit.  That way if I have a group of students working with goals they are all doing a similar activity. I’m hoping to have a comparing, category, story telling, r, s, chart/graph, and listening comprehension activity for each unit. I think it will also help make my sessions more like school rather than having them work on an isolated skill without connecting it to anything else.  It may also help me from either grazing over vocabulary and skills without giving the students enough time to learn the material or stay too long on one topic or word list waiting until the list is “mastered”.   Another purpose is to avoid the habit of using the same game or book repeatedly throughout the year. While repeating materials or topics have some merits, it should be purposeful.

I have a ton of ideas for themes:  weather, geography, sports, famous people, space, human body, time/calendar, seasons, physics, etc.  Right now I’m focusing on food, animals, and sports.  That way I am not spread too thin and have a chance of getting a usable unit.  So far I’ve sorted through some of my picture books into these groups.  So far the animal unit is in the lead.  I’m hoping that it will also help me to become more purposeful with buying materials.  That way I don’t buy as much stuff that  I think I will use but sit on the shelf.

Off to relax with my husband before a hopefully  productive day.

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Cleaning Burst

Well we are having visitors on Thursday and my mom coming on Friday.  So its a good excuse to get the house really clean.   I know the would still like me if it wasn’t clean, but its a good excuse.  I’m trying to plan out what I’m going to do each day.  Otherwise I have the tendency to think I can do a large number of tasks in one day and then something comes up: the kids get sick/whiny, a friend wants to visit, I don’t feel well, or I just don’t want to.  Below is my plan for the week.  I will see how much I get done.   The odds of it happening on the days listed are slim, but hopefully I will get more done than normal.  Below is my plan for the week.  Nevermind my messy handwriting.

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Textbook Reflection

The textbook I am reading is Language Intervention with School-Aged Children by Rita C Naremore with Ann E. Densmore and Deborah R Harman.  So far I am enjoying it.  I like the format of having the author’s perspective followed by some examples or scenarios.  The chapter related to classroom intervention had a lot to do with organization.  It discussed the value of spending more time working on curriculum based skills as well as spending more time in the classroom.    What I   liked is  that it showed how one speech language pathologist gradually spent more time in the classroom and more time collaborating with teachers over a 3 year period.  It acknowledges that it takes time and gave a variety of ideas.  I loved some of the ideas like having a day for collaboration or scheduling by week rather than by day.  Many of these ideas are difficult to implement the first year at a new school.

Scheduling is one of the hardest part of the jobs.  I look at the students and there needs and amount of service required.  Then I look at the students availability and teacher preference.  I try to get everyone scheduled so that they can work on the goals they need, are in a reasonably sized group, and at a time that works for them.  Needless to say it is difficult to make all of those factors work for every student.  Luckily it only needs to be done once a year, although it feels like the schedule is always in pencil.

I’d love to hear how people organize the scheduling process for either speech therapy scheduling or similar tasks.  I usually send out  a letter/email to teachers saying who I work with in their class and ask for several available times.  As the surveys trickle in, I keep track of the order I receive them so I can weigh that in my decision-making process.  Then I stare at the list and look at possible times to put each student and who might work well together.  This part usually involves writing several lists and chart trying to figure out how to make the most sense of all the data.  Eventually it gets done.

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Academic Texts

I was having an off day due to a variety of factors in life (kids, husband starting new job, day care). It was a case of stress and general blahs. Despite that, I did exercise and fold laundry (which I am pleased with). Not a huge amount of productivity, but much better than nothing.

Surprisingly, what got me out of my mood was reading an old textbook. The tv distracted me, but didn’t help after the fact. The lunch I ate was okay, but didn’t change my mood dramatically. So I was surprised when going downstairs and reading a text book helped.

Part of my goal of organization is to either use or get rid of items. I didn’t want to get rid of my old textbooks in case I “might need them someday,” so I decided to read it. Not only did it help me to shift my focus away from my problems and concerns, but it also re-energized me for my return to work.  It was amazing how something that was stressful and boring in grad school (reading textbooks) seems so much more relevant and relaxing now.  I didn’t have to take any quizes on it.  I could read at my own pace.  And I could skip the sections that I wasn’t interested in at the time or was review.  I got some good ideas about scheduling and therapy ideas that  I can try with my students at the new school.   I also have the life/job experience to understand what they are trying to say and have enough experience to be able to agree or disagree with their suggestions.   I’ll post more about the book in a later post.


Thanks for reading!

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Procrastination Complete

I completed 3 little tasks that I have been putting off. None of them were difficult: putting toliet paper in the bathroom, refilling the soap dispenser, and putting new tabs on my car. I spent more time thinking about doing them than I did actually doing them. I’d remember to do the tasks when I was just about going to bed, busy doing something else, or away from the materials. The blog did help though. I was going to say that I did 2 out of 3 tasks, but decided it would look better and wouldn’t take much time if I just added soap to the dispenser. So thank you for your help 🙂

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What Works

Here are some tricks that have been working for me to be more productive and organized:

  • Actively relaxing—–let machines help me be productive while I relax—try to make sure that the laundry or dishes are going even if I am relaxing.  It often forces me to do one more thing before I relax (load dishwasher etc). Or be doing something easy while relaxing such as planning recipes for the week, grocery list, or folding clothes.


  •   It sends me an email each day asking me what I did.  I reply back and it logs it on a calendar.  It forces me to reflect on my day and either congradulate myself for what I got done or admit that I was lazy.  Its another way I can check progress.


  • Frozen bread wrap—roll out frozen dough—then fill with stuff (in this case Rueben stuff) and then bake.  Makes nice little loaf or little pockets.  I’m thinking of making a bunch of these on the weekends to pack for lunches when I get back to work.
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I am blogging instead of getting stuff done.  I suppose I would get more done if I actually did the organizing instead of blogging about it.  I did some organizing since last I wrote.


  • Started organizing guest room.  Okay I admit it was more looking at old photos and reminscing.  At least, I emptied one box and designated it for garbage.  One of those places we just put things we don’t want to deal with yet.  There is so much stuff in there that is Lance’s or I want to keep but have no idea where to put.  It probably didn’t help that my daughter was helping.  She’d walk around and grab interesting stuff and periodically I’d hear a pile crash down.


  • Sorted through my cookbooks.  Made a pile of keep, maybe, and get rid of.  The maybe pile I want to try and pick some books and a deadline to use it or toss it.  Pick like 4 books for a two month period and if I don’t use it during that time toss it.  It will either get me to plan and cook more recipes or I will get rid of cookbooks.

Well I’m off to either eat breakfast or plan recipes/grocery list for the week.  Have a great day!  I’d love to know that someone besides me is reading it so leave a comment (even if its just to make me feel better—I don’t care if its clever or not).


One step forward—2 steps back

The desire to be organized has always been there.  I have always admired the houses that looked neat and organized and decorated.  The motivation to do the work needed to achieve that goal has varied. The thing about organization and cleaning is that it keeps needing to be done.  I can’t cross ot off my list and be done with it like a report at work.  It gets dirty again sometimes in a few minutes sometimes a few days.  The amount of time it takes to clean always feels much longer than the amount of time it feels shiny and new.  The parts that are dirty stand out so much more than the parts that are clean.  No one knows how messy it was before you started cleaning (well maybe that part is a good thing).

I’ve tried various charts and lists to try to motivate myself to do the regular cleaning projects, but I stopped using them for one reason or another.  It always seems like a treadmill—lots of work, but not really getting anywhere.  Some days it seems easier to put up with the dirt than to clean it up.  Ah well.  Maybe this will help.

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Clean Floor

Well we deep cleaned the floor. Pulled out the fridge, oven drawer, cleaned the outside of the fridge, moved stuff out of the mud room, etc. It felt good and it looks so much better. I enjoy walking on the floor so much better. Now the trick is to still do these types of things after I go back to work.

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I have entered the world of blogging. I am striving to find organization. I have tried in the past, but always struggled to find a way to monitor my progress and improve at the pace I wanted. I’m hoping that this site will give me a way to be more accountable, get ideas, and monitor progress.

So what is organization? Well to me it is having a purposeful life and space. It is not perfection or total cleanliness. I want to be able to feel balance in my life and feel like my life is happening by design rather than chance. I want to have a house where I know where most stuff is easily and have spaces to do what I want to. I want to be able to invite people over for the evening without worrying about what people think or needing to quickly hide stuff.

Your role as blog readers is to:
1) Read my blog
2) Comment—give suggestions/ideas, sympathize, say hello, etc
3) Call me out if I haven’t been blogging or making progress cleaning/organizing

Have a great day!

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