How Taking Control of your Schedule can Increase your Impact 

Do you feel like you are constantly putting out fires? Do you spend your days running from one crisis to the next and not having time to teach class lessons and plan engaging activities for your groups? If so, you are not alone! This is a super common problem that a lot of counselors have. Whether you are a first-year counselor or if you've been counseling for over a decade, you may feel like you are in crisis response mode.

Remember, you want a proactive and preventive school counseling program. And while we can all agree that's the goal, it is easier said than done!

The struggle is real…

I have been there! When I first started counseling this was a big struggle for me. Once I was late to teach a class lesson because I was dealing with a crisis and the teacher assumed I was unprepared.

I also used to be late for my morning bus duty because I had a character ed meeting at my other school site before. (If you're split between two schools, you know my pain!) The person who had to cover my duty assumed I was sleeping in.

Were they wrong to assume these things? Maybe, but the point is I wasn't respecting their time by being late'even though my excuses were totally valid! This made me look unreliable and feel overwhelmed. I was working so hard to be the best counselor and do all the things. After these scenarios happened a few times I developed systems to streamline my schedule.

school counseling scheduling

Streamline Your Schedule

Having a streamlined schedule allows for 2 things:

  1. You increase your impact: Spending less time putting out fires and dealing with non-counseling tasks allowed me to work with more kiddos. Which was my whole purpose for becoming a counselor in the first place! If I had to guess it's yours too.

  2. You advocate for your position and get the recognition you deserve: Remember what I said about appearing unreliable? Not exactly the best material when it comes to advocating for your position as the counselor. Once I took control of my schedule I finally started to get the recognition I craved (I am constantly trying to get others to see the value that a counseling program brings.) Plus, letting people know your role allows you to spend time on those tasks you are best fit to do!

When you entered this profession I'm sure you had impacting lives in mind rather than having a schedule scattered with non-counselor duties.

Advocating for Your Position

Your time is valuable and you deserve more than the catch-all position that people dump undesirable tasks on. Being more visible helps you be more understood and valued. People will start to say things like, 'We can't ask the counselor to do it, that's when she teaches class lessons.' If your class lessons are impactful and engaging, your colleagues will see the necessity of them. But remember it's up to you to deliver quality services. The more qualities lessons, groups, and individual sessions you provide the more respected your time will be.

How great would it be if you had time to…

  • Plan class lessons and thoughtful activities

  • Not work at home in the evenings (Distance learning counselors you have it even worse! Working from home can make creating boundaries tough.)

More time allows you to…

  • Free up time in your schedule to see more students

  • Have a bigger impact

  • Change lives and help kids

  • Get recognition for your program and appear more dependable and reliable

stress free school counseling

So what can you do to get here?

  1. Shift your thinking: A mindset shift from feeling late and frazzled to calm, early, and prepared can jumpstart your schedule transformation. What would a person who is in control of their schedule look like? Do? Say? Embody these things and you will eventually become that person! When you approach situations in a way that is calm, competent, and in control, you set yourself up for success!

  2. Do a one-week time audit: Track everything you're doing at work down to the minute. This accomplishes 2 things: First, You can see which areas you are spending the most time on and where you can cut back. Secondly, you can hold yourself accountable for wasted time.

You can’t strengthen your schedule until you know where the deficits are. The results may surprise you!

Download my Stress Free Scheduling Freebie and read this blog post for 5 scheduling strategies you can start today!

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