SLP Toolkit Podcast, Episode 42, Transcript

Click here to download the PDF version of the transcript

Sarah (00:37):

Well, hey Lisa.

Lisa (00:38):

What's up, Sarah? I haven't heard our podcast jingle in a while.

Sarah (00:41):

I know. We talked about changing that because this is season four. It's amazing and we've had that same intro this entire time. Are we kind of sick of it? Yeah. And that darling child is now in eighth grade. Darling child is now 42. So bear with us as we try to come up with a new intro to the True Confessions with Lisa and Sarah.

Lisa (01:05):

Actually we know you guys are super talented, just send us some. Submit your podcast intro jingles.

Sarah (01:12):

Oh my gosh, I would love that.

Lisa (01:14):

Sarah (01:16):

Even if it's just you crying in your car or something like that. Oh, that'd be so funny you guys. Would you please, that would be amazing. Say the email address where they can send the jingle again.

Lisa (01:26):

Sarah (01:29):

Thank you.

Lisa (01:30):

This a season freaking four. It's amazing.

Sarah (01:34):

I know. And I'm actually lacking, because we've talked about different ideas of how we wanted to kick off season four. And the one thing I do know for sure is we plan to have this out by the first week of September. I mean, it's September 13th. We're not like super late. We're recording September 13th, so it'll probably go out like next week. It's more than half of the month. And so I actually think it's perfect for what we want to talk about today.

Lisa (02:02):

Which is?

Sarah (02:03):

Well, before we get into that though, where have we been for the last... I mean, we ended season three in May. It's September. A lot has happened. So let's catch up. What's new in your world, Kath?

Lisa (02:15):

I had a baby. Actually, I just gained baby weight and there's no baby. So there's been that going on.

Sarah (02:24):

I wanted to say dude, I have seen and I think I would've known if that was true. You did get a baby puppy.

Lisa (02:31):

I did get a baby puppy. She's the sweetest. Her name is Billy.

Sarah (02:34):

So now you got Frankie last spring.

Lisa (02:37):

Last January, right before COVID.

Sarah (02:39):

Right before COVID.

Lisa (02:40):

And she needed a sister because I've also got one really old dog named Ziggy and he's just not having life anymore. He likes to sleep. And if you interrupt that, then he's not happy about it. So now-

Sarah (02:52):

So you got your puppy a sibling that's playful and useful.

Lisa (02:56):

And they're very sweet.

Sarah (02:57):

They are very, very cute. Well, while you're adding living, breathing things to your home, I'm losing them.

Lisa (03:03):

I know. Tell me about that.

Sarah (03:05):

Well, I dropped my oldest off at college a couple of weeks ago, and I will say I'm doing better than I thought I would, which is actually funny I'm even saying that because I remember when your first went away or was getting ready to graduate from high school and you were all emotional about it. And I was like, "Oh my gosh, she's ridiculous. Suck it up. It's part of life. It's what they're supposed to do, Lisa." And then mine graduated and I was like all tiers.

Lisa (03:28):

And yours is hard because yours went across the country. It's hard enough to drop off at a local dorm, let alone across the country. But it's that change in your family dynamics. There's a joke in my family that... I don't know if this is funny or not.

Sarah (03:44):

I'm going to get counseled after this comment.

Lisa (03:46):

I hate the sound of children singing.

Sarah (03:49):

Oh, that's not too bad.

Lisa (03:50):

Okay. So it's just a joke. So my oldest child was in choir and I guess they get a little bit better when they are more adult-ish. But kids [inaudible 00:04:00], no. I hate that. No.

Sarah (04:01):

You don't attend youth choirs.

Lisa (04:04):

Well, I did, but there were just lots of jokes going on and I would always sit in the background and I would hate life when I was there. And my kids actually even knew mum-

Sarah (04:12):

Says the girl who worked with children.

Lisa (04:14):

Oh, I love children not just when they sing. I shut that down.

Sarah (04:18):

So you didn't sing at circle time?

Lisa (04:20):

Preschoolers are cute though.

Sarah (04:22):


Lisa (04:22):

Yeah. That's different.

Sarah (04:23):


Lisa (04:24):

And that was so finite. It's not like you're sitting there for like an hour and a half.

Sarah (04:27):

Being entertained.

Lisa (04:28):

Oh my God. So all their lives, they've heard about how I hate hearing children sing and I'm sitting there, my child actually graduated early in December versus they were supposed to graduate in May. And I'm like, holy shit, this is the last choir performance that I'm going to. And I was sad and I was so confused. [crosstalk 00:04:49]. I was even irritated going there. And then that night... And then I got all emails. So that's the kind of stuff I come in and I try to talk to Sarah about that. And she was just like, "Whatever, get over it."

Sarah (05:02):

Get over it. They're supposed to do this. We want them to leave. And now I take it all back. And so I did drive my son... So we're in Phoenix. He's going to a very small school in what the locals pronounce as Buena Vista, even though it's Buena. But I can't tell them how to say their own town.

Lisa (05:19):

You told your husband how to say his last name.

Sarah (05:21):

That's true. I'm not going to tell a town. So Buena Vista, Virginia, which is about a 50 minute drive from Roanoke, Virginia. And so it took over four days, we stopped obviously, but it was very, very long. And the whole drive, all I kept thinking is, do I use these last days to give advice and encouragement and all of the motivating things that one needs to hear as they go onto this next part of their life. And what I decided is not to talk at all, because when it was going to end up being is me saying, you can live at home forever. Who says you can't? Why is that wrong? It's fine. And baseball isn't life, and you don't need to play baseball ever again, because that's why he's in Virginia school. That's the school he got picked to play baseball in. And so I did. I thought, I just want to tell him this is not a way-

Lisa (06:11):

Don't do it.

Sarah (06:11):

And then I thought, why won't they let me drive? And it's because they know I'm going to turn this car around. I'm going to turn it around and we're going back home. But then we got there and I will say, obviously it's so different than Phoenix. Beautiful, beautiful area. Very humid. We love our dry heat here in Phoenix. It was very humid, but right when I got him into the dorm, I thought, oh, he's in a room with three other boys and it's not that big of a space. And I'm like, "He's going to hate this and this poor kid, and he's never going to make it." And within a couple of hours, he was already...

Lisa (06:39):

Didn't he have a date already?

Sarah (06:40):

He got asked out by a girl for dinner. I know. Anyway.

Lisa (06:44):

That's awesome.

Sarah (06:45):

So we stayed on for about four more days after we moved him into the dorm, just because I just needed to be nearby my baby boy in case he needed his mommy. He didn't. But we still were able to see him and just make sure. And so I did leave. He's fine.

Lisa (07:00):

He's fine. They're fine.

Sarah (07:01):

This is good for him. I will say he hates being very far away from home, and he was furious yesterday because I guess the way football games work, you have to be in the market to watch it. So even though we have all of these platforms to stream things where you can stream things, he couldn't get the Cardinals game yesterday. So I literally got 50 million texts as he's trying to problem solve, how can you watch the Cardinals game live? And his last text was, I am moving home tomorrow. This is not [crosstalk 00:07:27].

Lisa (07:27):

Oh, for the Cardinals football. It's amazing.

Sarah (07:30):

But otherwise he's going to be good and life goes on. So that's it. That was my big summer road trip. You went... Oh yeah, you did.

Lisa (07:39):

I went to Oregon.

Sarah (07:40):

And Coronado by yourself.

Lisa (07:41):

Oh, Coronado. And Mexico for a wedding.

Sarah (07:47):

You were just [crosstalk 00:07:47]. We didn't get to say these things last summer. It's so nice to travel again. Isn't it?

Lisa (07:51):


Sarah (07:52):

I know. It's good. So we hope everybody else had a really relaxing, awesome summer. Hopefully you got to leave your home, even if for staycation or some change of scenery things are... I was going to say things are better but they're not.

Lisa (08:07):

No, they've gotten worse again.

Sarah (08:08):

Well, anyway, let's not kill the mood. But the big thing this summer too was summer school. So we started summer school last year and that was for all of our subscribers, because many of them stay with us all year and we want to give them value all year long. And obviously if you're not working in the schools, why would you need SLP Toolkit. So we thought, let's take that opportunity of that summer when you maybe have some time to think to really use it to offer some content and some ideas and some things. And so we did it last year.

Sarah (08:39):

Last year, it was just a newsletter that went out once a week with a couple of little lists.

Lisa (08:43):

To do lists.

Sarah (08:44):

Yeah. That was fine. It was great. This year, we went all in though.

Lisa (08:47):

It was so amazing.

Sarah (08:48):

It was so good. Each week was a theme, six weeks long and it wasn't just Lisa and I talking.

Lisa (08:55):

Which is a definite perk.

Sarah (08:57):

Definite perk.

Lisa (08:58):

That's why it was more than a newsletter.

Sarah (08:59):

Yes, exactly. We got tons of our friends involved, people who know what the heck they're talking about when we have no business talking about that subject. And so anyway, it was really, really good.

Lisa (09:11):

And the idea being all of those things, whether it's your first year in the schools or your 20th year in the school, what are those things that are just things you need to know? Because we do have to know a little bit about everything working in the schools, and you don't get that in your graduate training, you don't always get that in your job training. So to hear from experts in our field, that's what I loved. And it was all geared to be super digestible. So five to 10 minutes tops for each of these video segments. And if you wanted to just listen to it versus watch it, you could listen by audio or you could read it. But just so good.

Sarah (09:47):

It was. The idea of summer school this year was everything we should know, but probably didn't learn in grad school. And I think we just covered so many things. But it also leads into this conversation of again, why we had other individuals participate this year in summer school, instead of it just being a Lisa and Sarah show. And that idea of, we need to be hearing from people who that's their lived experience or that's their area of expertise. We are generalists in every sense of the word as professional SLPs, but then also as what our software is designed to do is to help you do everything. And so we know data and we know assessment and we know writing IEPs. So it was great to hear from Meredith about research and EBP and [crosstalk 00:10:39].

Lisa (10:39):

Perry Flynn, service delivery. And Wess about being inclusive of LGBTQ children and how to set the tone that first week. I mean, I don't even know if I could name everyone. It was just so good.

Sarah (10:55):

Yeah. I wanted to keep this off episode off. It's obviously the beginning of a school year for a lot of people, and so obviously we want this to be about motivating and inspiring and encouraging you for another school year, especially when things are tough and they're hard. And so that led us though to this idea of... I don't know how many of you guys follow Rachel Hollis, but she's written a few books and I feel like most of you listening probably do know who she is. Because I feel like a lot of our audience would be interested in her and what she has to say. So Girl, Wash Your Face and I think there were a few others.

Sarah (11:34):

I will not lie. I just got Girl, Wash Your Face because of all the recommendations.

Lisa (11:38):

I never read it.

Sarah (11:38):

I read the first chapter and then nope, couldn't do it. But then we saw her in person two years ago at a conference, remember?

Lisa (11:46):


Sarah (11:46):

She spoke. She was only there for like five, 10 minutes. It was a real brief little thing she did, but I liked her. I liked her energy.

Lisa (11:54):

Well, and I was there the whole time. She got everyone jumping and I was like, "What the hell is going on?"

Sarah (11:58):

Oh, you were so annoyed.

Lisa (11:58):

You're like I'm not getting out of my chair. I don't want to dance. This is stupid. And then I drank the Kool-Aid.

Sarah (12:03):

Yeah. Which again, that is the theme of what I want to talk about. So anyway, the long and short of it is, whether you like her or not, I'm not here to persuade you otherwise. But she had an incident... well, she had several. But this one that happened last April-ish where she came out with this TikTok that offended a ton of people. And I don't know if in and of itself it would have been as damaging to her, but-

Lisa (12:25):

Her response to it.

Sarah (12:27):

Her response to it was terrible. But also there was a couple of other things that had led to this big explosion for her and her career. And so I like to go down a good rabbit hole every once in a while and I'm just intrigued by things like this; how does this happen that she can go from being at the very, very top to crashing and burning so rapidly. And one of the things that stood out for me was this idea of, as going to people and listening to people who are giving us advice, telling us how to live our best life and are they qualified to do it? So I know a lot of the big buzz around Rachel was this is a person who, with her and her husband are giving marriage advice. They have a marriage podcast, they did conferences about marriage. Literally a week before they announced divorce, they had a podcast episode all about how to have a great marriage. And meanwhile theirs is imploding.

Sarah (13:27):

So it's that idea of, should she have been... and more so, what is her educational background? She's not a psychologist. And so does she get a little too psychology to be giving this kind of advice? And so I thought about that and I thought... and we've said this for the last five years, what things do we say and do that we have no business saying or doing, because we're not experts. And I think we're pretty good about that, but it just made me think we kicked off summer school, and the whole first week was... I think we kicked off with an assignment, having them write down, remember why you started.

Lisa (14:03):


Sarah (14:04):

And even that, we do do this a lot. I just did a post on Instagram about imposter syndrome. Or we love to say things like, what are some of the other things we said over the years?

Lisa (14:11):

You got this.

Sarah (14:12):

You got this. You are not alone. I think to summit, the whole thing was, you can totally do this. We say these things.

Lisa (14:20):

We believe them.

Sarah (14:21):

We do. I wouldn't say it if I didn't. I mean, that's the authenticity piece. I think that you and I both... that we really align with. But we say all those things, we post those inspirational quotes. I read them on my own, be the change. I mean, I want to live that daily. But where is this line of all of these messages and things we say, what is actually helping people and who should we be listening to? Is anyone tuning into this podcast right now?

Lisa (14:55):

Well, and what does it mean when you say something like that? I mean, I think even I'll read stuff like that, like you got this? And I'm like, yeah, I got it on Sundays. And then other times I'm like, suck it. You don't know what I'm going through right now. Shut up. Shut your face. So I think it's all about, when we are saying things like that, sometimes we're saying it to ourselves too often, not sometimes. But it's also just a mindset of, we never say it inauthentically and we know that this job is so freaking hard, and I think that's why we say it. We've lived this life. We know how hard it is to be a school-based SLP.

Sarah (15:33):

It's true. We're not talking about how hard it is to be as speech-language pathologist and we are software engineers.

Lisa (15:40):

Right. But you did take that one coding class for an hour.

Sarah (15:43):

I did. No, I could literally build the app now. No, I can't. So you're right. We do have the background and the experience to be able to talk about the things we know. And again, we aren't the ones talking about apraxia.

Lisa (15:58):

Well, and the difference too, I think we're the first to say what we don't know too. And that is a shift. I'm not sure in our field that was always the case, because people work in such isolation, especially if you're a school-based SLP, because you're usually the only one on campus. And before we had the interwebs, we weren't as connected as we are now. The ones we went on the line to get them changed. But I do think that that's a huge thing is I was just talking to someone this morning that is unrelated to our field and trying to fill in the blanks for what it's like to be a school SLP. And I'm like, we are pretty much high achievers. We get into these programs that are hard. And then you get into the real world and you're like, "Holy crap. I don't know anything about anything, but then everybody else seems to think I know everything. So now I've got to..."

Sarah (16:44):

When everybody around you seems to know everything.

Lisa (16:46):

Yes. Everybody else has their crap together and it's just me. Then you feel weird about even asking for help because what if they just think I'm totally dumb now and shouldn't even be getting a paycheck. And so that's that whole story we weave for ourselves. I know we are not always experts in everything, but we have lived this life. And I feel like it's almost like we want to show people if you're a new SLP, maybe you don't have to repeat some of the mistakes we did.

Sarah (17:17):

That's what it is. And I guess I was reflecting back on summer school and I do think this was... we did talk about practical things, like how to take good data and great ways to gather data for personal level assessments. But we went into it wanting to be like a hype squad, for sure. And so that's where I had that moment, like, oh, my God, are we the hypocrites? Because do I have all of my shit together? No, I don't. And so I was reflecting back on what are all the things that I said people should do or even our summit was all about processes, and that is honest and authentic and true. And the story I told about Tamra, the process guru and what she's done for us is true, and we do have these processes and we are using project management software, and in so many ways we do have our shit together, and swear by those processes.

Sarah (18:08):

But at the same time, I found myself 50 times last week so overwhelmed I couldn't start. I didn't know where to start. Even though all those processes are documented and I have tasks and they have due dates, I was frozen.

Lisa (18:24):

That's the overwhelm though.

Sarah (18:25):

Yes. And so I thought, I hope I never give the impression that listen to us, we have this all figured out.

Lisa (18:33):


Sarah (18:33):

If you do it this way, you are going to kill it this year. You're going to wake up on Monday morning ready to go to work.

Lisa (18:38):

No, I drink a whole bottle of wine on Saturday nights, myself.

Sarah (18:41):

No, I love it. I know. And so that's why I thought, I do always want to make sure that transparency is so important to us too. I think we throw ourselves under the bus enough. The people know that we do not think we have every answer. And we do not want to be those people who just spew these inspirational quotes. And think that that is going to be the cure, or that using SLP Toolkit is going to solve every single problem you have. I hope we've made that really, really clear. But it's just, they're reflecting a lot. Well, I also went down a rabbit hole yesterday thanks to Meredith Harold who mentioned something on Facebook about LuLaRich.

Lisa (19:31):

I did see the post, but I didn't get into... What was it?

Sarah (19:34):

It's a documentary on Amazon Prime without LuLaRoe, which I assume at the end, just knowing the audience, we know you're familiar with it. It was the leggings, the real bold patterns. And you could only get them from a person at a pop-up, like you can buy them online. Anyways, it was supposed to be more MLM, but then you got to watch... I don't whether the documentary is fascinating, but that berg of when is it MLM versus pyramid scheme? Which one is illegal. Pyramid schemes are illegal, MLMs are not.

Lisa (20:03):

Isn't an MLM... they're selling product. A pyramid scheme it's like you're not even... somebody's going to not get product in the end.

Sarah (20:09):

So that's the key though is, is it just because that's how they said, we aren't a pyramid scheme, there's a product. People get a product. But where's that line of the people on the bottom will never make it.

Lisa (20:23):

Okay. You know what's so funny. Have you ever seen those Facebook posts where it's like, let's do a wine giveaway over Christmas?

Sarah (20:29):


Lisa (20:29):

I've been on the bottom of pyramid scheme. I sent wine and I never got it.

Sarah (20:35):

You never got it. So that's what happens to people. The top people are super, super rich. The people at the bottom are not even-

Lisa (20:38):

Or super, super drunk.

Sarah (20:39):

They're not even going to break even. In fact, they're probably going to use their asses to make everybody else rich. That's when it becomes illegal. Fascinating. Anyway, I don't mean to go into that whole thing. Watch it though. So I just love business stuff anyway and their business model. Anyway, fascinating. But the point of it was, there was so many motivational inspiring things that these leaders of this organization did too in their messaging.

Lisa (21:03):

Did they believe it though?

Sarah (21:05):

I think they did.

Lisa (21:06):

And I'm not saying that that makes it right, because I do think-

Sarah (21:08):

I think they did but it's super hypocritical what they were saying.

Lisa (21:10):

Like Rachel Hollis, I think believes the shit that comes out of her mouth. So does it make it.. mean that it's right, but I guess if you're speaking your truth... I don't know. It's like such a weird fine line.

Sarah (21:23):

I think what this was, I think they believed this. I think this woman lives by these things she's spouting, but that didn't mean it was okay.

Lisa (21:30):


Sarah (21:31):

It was icky actually. Anyway. So it was that idea of, now that I like to overthink everything in life. And so that is one thing that I just want to make sure that we are always giving our truth, but with caveat. Sharing our experience but with those caveats. We do not have every answer. Pretty much every single day, we don't even know why anyone listens to us speak or whatever. And that was why we wanted to do this podcast though, is this was meant to be super, super honest, real conversations about things that we were struggling with. And so when I say things like, remember why you started, I genuinely do believe that you need to have that front and center in your mind. So when days are really sucky and you want to bounce, you don't, and we don't want school-based SLPs to bounce.

Lisa (22:26):

Literally thinking about our why, we have our whys as SLPs, but we also have our why as creators of SLP Toolkit.

Sarah (22:35):

That's exactly right. And so that's what I was getting ready to... I stand by that. I stand by the fact that we were so highly focused on that being for summer school, because I had to remind myself 55 times last week why I'm doing this to myself. Not just last week, even after summit. So we did summit. I was really, really proud of our presentation. Because again, it was very highly focused on this idea of processes, which I think it was new to us as business owners, so I guarantee it's new to an SLP.

Lisa (23:03):

I don't think SLPs think of their work being repeatable as a process.

Sarah (23:08):


Lisa (23:08):

And that's where a lot of this spin-out can come from where you just feel like you don't have a handle on anything.

Sarah (23:12):

Right. And so I loved... I felt like it was super, super practical, but then I read the feedback and I know some people really liked it, but other people thought it was really salesy and marketing and that it was just a big, long commercial for SLP Toolkit. And we knew that going into this one because we did focus very heavily on SLP Toolkit in our presentation, because it can do all of those things we're telling you, you need a process for.

Lisa (23:38):

Well, if I go to a presentation by Nina Reeves and Scott Yaruss and they're telling you about all of these awesome ways to fluency, and then I buy their book. I mean, is that salesy or is it just like, they believe in what they're telling you, and then they're helping you by giving you this product that you can or can't buy. And that's how I think we've always taught with Toolkit. I freaking love SLP Toolkit.

Sarah (24:00):

I do.

Lisa (24:01):

I think every school-based SLP should be using it. Not because it's our business, but because I really do think it's transformative in practice and it can make you so much more organized and less stressed, and that's really what it's about.

Sarah (24:15):

Exactly. I mean, I know for a fact, first of all, so much of the feedback was like, I wish I knew this was going to be a Toolkit commercial. And I was like, "People, that's what disclosure statements are for." That was the second slide. It literally said, we were only talking about SLP Toolkit, but I did [inaudible 00:24:30]. I shouldn't be defensive. But the feedback for... I don't know.

Lisa (24:35):

We didn't do our mean tweets, our mean feedback, whatever.

Sarah (24:37):

I know. I should have read some of them, but it did make me think. But I know for a fact, I did say there are other apps that can help you with this. You can use Google spreadsheets to do some of these things. You can. The reason that we spent so much time focusing on Toolkit is there's just more... it's software. It's designed for this rather than... We don't want you to recreate the wheel and have to build these data sheets out, and caseload management sheets out and-

Lisa (25:00):

You're still running the show. If you're using something like Google Sheets, you're still manually having to do so much stuff.

Sarah (25:06):


Lisa (25:06):

It helps a little bit, but it's more through formulas, not through something that... The whole idea behind software is to make your processes run more automated. You're not having to drive it as much.

Sarah (25:20):

Yes. So if you listen to our seminar and summer presentation and you didn't like it, my sincerest apologies. But they don't have to like this podcast episode either. I'm just [crosstalk 00:25:29].

Lisa (25:28):

Yeah. They're not listening.

Sarah (25:31):

And so I did think going forward, what would we talk about next summit instead? But for the sake of this episode in the beginning of a school year, I do want to talk a little bit about some of the things we mentioned in that episode, because I really genuinely think that it's going to help you with your whole school year, and that's why we do summer school. We want you to start your school year off right, so that when September 25th happens... I was going to say March, but it doesn't even take that long before you've burnt out.

Lisa (26:01):


Sarah (26:01):

It's like three weeks, and then you're already done.

Lisa (26:03):

It's three weeks of seeing kids.

Sarah (26:04):

Yeah. And then you're done.

Lisa (26:05):

Yeah. I always felt real good there was a week or two before I had to see any students. And then I was like, oh, shit, therapy. It really makes me less organized because now I actually have to see kids.

Sarah (26:16):

Yes. So we just thought, let's kick off this season episode talking just a little bit about that. If you weren't able to catch the episode, I'm going to link to the SLP Toolkit processes or school SLP processes, a document that we created. We literally went through and thought of every single thing you need to do the first week back to school and then all year long. And then we wrote them down step by step by step. And so you can use that resource. Whether you use Toolkit or not, again, it's just going to guide you of all those things you should be thinking of all year long when it comes to progress monitoring, annual reviews, how to write specific and measurable goals, scheduling. What else do we do most school year? Meetings, planning out your meeting schedule.

Lisa (27:04):

Did you say writing IEPs?

Sarah (27:05):

Writing IEPs. Anyway. So I will link to that in the show notes. So check out that resource because I think it's really, really helpful. But if I could give any advice that I truly believe in, even though I don't always live it, see there's my caveat. It is you have to have some kind of structured plan. So Lis and I are literally... I'm looking at our newest daily planners. We use a written planner that we just started, even though we also use Asana, which is the project management software. It's A-S-A-N-A. Well, did somebody just tell us they thought it was called Asana. We think we've been saying it wrong all along, but tomato, tomato. It's free for your individual use. We have to pay because we use it with our whole team.

Sarah (27:54):

So if you're using it with a team, you might have to pay a little bit. But for you to use individually, but that idea of having a tool somewhere where you are writing down all of your tasks, assigning a due date, living by checking things off that list. Well, it's almost like thinking of if any of you work with high school and you're working on executive functioning, and you're thinking about even mapping out assignments on a planner. You're not even just putting in a due date for an IEP due, you would have to put in the due data of you need to call the parent to schedule. You need to get the parent input sent, the teacher input sent. So all of those sub tasks that you have to break down and manage before you get to the main event, so to speak, that's exactly what you're doing here as your task, analyzing those things that you have to do. But you're scheduling it out so you don't get to that place where you're like, "Oh my gosh, I want to quit."

Lisa (28:46):


Sarah (28:47):

And so that's what we documented for you. There's the PDF version, but there's also a Google Doc I can also attach that you can customize for yourself, but that's the part where document what it is you do. If you're doing something new for the first time, document each step of what you're doing. You only have to do that part one time, and then that's the part with the processes where then you're pulling those up and then you're able to... Any of those things that you do over and over and over again.

Lisa (29:15):

How do I simplify that step? Because that's where we get into a bind, is that I think we don't always know how to manage those subtasks. And so it makes us scramble and feel chaotic. And that's why we put off even the main task. So if you can get not only defining what those subtasks are, but then what's the best way to do those? How can I make my life easiest by having all of these steps and then knowing exactly what to do for each of those steps?

Sarah (29:42):

That's why we changed the annual review feature this summer. Is it the summer that we updated that?

Lisa (29:47):


Sarah (29:49):

And it was that same idea of again, because this is so front and center of our minds or our own personal work lives, we were like, "Duh, this needs to be step by step." What do I need to do when I go to write an IEP? Step number one, I need to review existing data. Well, I want to have all my data to at a glance then. Step number two, I need to assess and get more information about where the student is levels right now. That's the present level assessment. Step number two, I need to collect baseline data, and then write the goals. And so we broke out the assessment tab on the student dashboard in that step by step process of what you do every single time you create an IEP to hopefully make it a hell of a lot less painless and definitely to eliminate that brain strain. So that's the idea.

Sarah (30:33):

So those are the first things that I would recommend. Review that we don't want to recreate the wheel. So we did it all for you. Check out the processes we have, but customize those as you need them for all year, plan out your IEP meetings and your MET meetings and those repeatable tasks you do in some kind of planner or software. And then there was one more piece I was just thinking. Oh my brain, see... Oh, this was what it was. Then as I admitted, last week I had so many moments of, I see all these things on my to-do list. Cool. I'm glad they're in there. Super great. I'm shutting down. So then what do we do then? What do we do when we are so freaking overwhelmed? And so you've gone through this with Tamara. Our process guru was also your private counselor. So talk about what she encouraged you to do to get going.

Lisa (31:23):

Amazing that our process guru was just trying to get me to explain why I was in such overwhelm and I started stuttering and I flushed and I couldn't even get my words out. And she said, "Okay, if you want to turn off your camera, you can, because we were on a Zoom call." She said, "But I want you to stand up and I want you to put your arms up and I want you to wave them around and I want you to jiggle and now we're going to wiggle down to the floor and we're going to get up." She just had me move and basically get out of my own mind for a second. So it was so helpful. We did this for maybe 30 seconds, which in one way doesn't seem that long, in another way it seems really long to be acting a fool.

Sarah (32:03):

Did you kill your camera?

Lisa (32:09):

I didn't. It's Tamara, who cares?

Sarah (32:10):

I wish I was doing that.

Lisa (32:10):

She was doing it. So I got to see her too. But it was just about getting out of your mind and then sat back down and she goes, "Now tell me again." And it was amazing. I actually had words then. I could actually formulate sentences again. And I was able to think. And I think if you think about again, everything we know about executive functioning and dysfunctioning, that if we get stuck in our subcortex, because we're just so stuck on a feeling such as overwhelm or stress, we can't get to that higher level frontal cortex kind of thinking. So get yourself out of it. Relieve some of that stress really quick so then you can get into the thinking that's going to actually get you some forward momentum.

Sarah (32:54):

Yeah. I like that because what I will do when I'm in that moment, especially when we got to work from home is, I have to go do the dishes.

Lisa (33:00):

See, yeah.

Sarah (33:01):

Yeah. But I know, but I'm just avoiding.

Lisa (33:04):

That's true. That is so true.

Sarah (33:06):

That's the difference. I'm avoiding it by going to do something else because I don't want to do nothing because then I'll feel bad about myself, but at least I went and did the dishes or swished some laundry.

Lisa (33:15):

Well, it's like college. I would completely reorganize my closet before I studied for a test.

Sarah (33:18):

Exactly. What she just had to do, you weren't getting out of it.

Lisa (33:23):

That's true.

Sarah (33:24):

You didn't get to avoid the task.

Lisa (33:26):

And it was a very short. Again, 30 to 60 seconds.

Sarah (33:28):

So don't get on Instagram and mindlessly scroll when you're in shutdown.

Lisa (33:33):

Caveat, we do that.

Sarah (33:35):

Caveat, we do that. See, look at us. That's transparent. And it is true, we do do that. And maybe that's the secret to all of this too. And I think you said it earlier, we're saying these things out loud because we do believe them and they will help us.

Lisa (33:51):

Caveat. I'm on Instagram from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM every day. Don't tell Sarah.

Sarah (33:56):

You are not, I see you working your booty off. But that is the difference is, we are saying these things out loud to ourselves and you just get to listen. And so hopefully now that you know the caveats you know that we need this as much as you do. We do not have everything figured out. I guess hearing you say these this out loud, that's the difference, me avoiding my responsibility versus I just get up and move. I just physically need to dance it off [crosstalk 00:34:26] dance party, unstick my brain. Then get back though and look at it again. This is why we have these new journals, kind of talk about the three... is it the three things you do a day that you write down?

Lisa (34:37):

Yeah. So I think for me, where I would always spin out is my Asana list... I'm involved with a lot of management in our company. Basically working with people that work with us to look at a lot of different projects. So I'm involved, even if I'm not directly doing something, my name is on so much stuff that when I would go into Asana, I would shut down too. I'm like, "Oh my God, it's too much. I don't even know where to start." So in speaking with Tamara too, because I was so against paper and pen, I used to have a planner. I was a planner queen back in the day. Once I discovered software, I was like, "Oh, this is awesome because I was also guilty if I would leave my planner somewhere or even back in the day in school, I would have my IEP calendar on a physical paper calendar above my desk. And so if I was sick that day, I had no clue if I had any meetings.

Lisa (35:30):

So I definitely went all in with all digital things. But what I was not able to do then was to really zoom out. And that's where I think too, even in our SLP toolkit software, whether you use that or you do this for yourself, if I can physically map out all of my IEPs and METs and have that and look at it, big picture zoomed out. I'm like, "Oh, well, that's a lot of meetings, but I see that February I have 20 meetings and March I only have three, and January I have six. So let me shift some of those where I can shift those to reduce my overwhelm so I won't feel like that in February. And that's how I felt like the paper planner has allowed me to do is, that the first thing I do every day is I think of the three things that have to get done.

Lisa (36:18):

And even sometimes at night, the night before my brain's already going to tomorrow, I want to do this, this and this. And so I'll write it in my phone so I can get it in my paper planner the next day. But if all else goes wrong, if I can get those three things done, then I will feel pretty darn good about my day.

Lisa (36:35):

So I might have 300 things that have to get done, but if I only could do three things, what are they? And where Sarah and I struggled, I think was when we first started SLP Toolkit, we were juggling working full time as SLPs, we were juggling getting our business up and off the ground. And so our time that we could [crosstalk 00:36:55]. I mean, just life in general, but when we met to work on Toolkit, it was such focus time that I think our brains naturally did this. We only have this many hours, what has to get done first? And so once we went full-time into the business, we lost that. Where it was just like, oh gosh, we have infinite time and infinite things we should and could do that it became overwhelming. And so even-

Sarah (37:20):

Well, and procrastinating. I did that as a school-based SLP too. I've got all week.

Lisa (37:25):


Sarah (37:25):

The IEP is not till Thursday and it's Monday. I can do that tomorrow and then tomorrow came and I move it to Wednesday.

Lisa (37:34):

Exactly. There are so many things as a school-based SLP that this applies to, that we're in such a state of overwhelm all of the time that we procrastinate or we're not really sure. We never take that time to really think about, if I can only do one thing... Obviously we see kids, so it's not the stuff that you do routinely throughout your day, but you're going to see kids. But outside of seeing students for therapy, what is one thing I have to get done today? Just one thing. I think it's going to make a dramatic difference in how you feel every day, because you can do that little check mark which is the most gratifying feelings.

Sarah (38:10):

And if you use Asana, unicorns fly across your screen after you do some of those.

Lisa (38:15):

Yeah. And I think because we use Asana as a team, that's maybe why it wasn't as affected too. As an individual if I was just tracking myself, I would probably have a board of what's my three things today, so I could check it off and get my fun little emojis. But Asana has become another thing to do for us. I think that's why this paper is hard just to zoom out.

Sarah (38:34):

I was just listening to you when you said something about you were all digital and refused to use paper and pen. And so then I thought, oh God, see we're hypocrites again. Because we always are like, "SOPs, stop using paper, go all digital." We truly believe this. It is true. And I think that's why I was like, "God, now we're paper hypocrites too." Do you remember when one of our trade show booths, when we were trying to decide what swag to give away and we're like, "Should we do pens?" And then we were like, "No. Ew, we're digital here. We don't want to encourage them to use paper and pens."

Lisa (39:03):

Let's get everyone that visits the booth an iPad.

Sarah (39:06):

Yeah. Right. I wish.

Lisa (39:07):

And we're broke.

Sarah (39:08):

But the difference is, I love this planner that we're using. Because again, like you said, I just write down my three things. It helps me focus. I do physically like to hand write notes and things like that, and I love that it's all in one place. The difference is whatever goes into this planner goes into Asana and on my calendar.

Lisa (39:26):

Sometimes I'm using it just to scribe notes for my mental thinking.

Sarah (39:30):

No. Yeah, exactly. But I'm saying, if it's a task.

Lisa (39:34):

Yeah. A task has to go into Asana.

Sarah (39:35):

It has to. So that's the difference. If you love your paper for data, cool. But it needs to go somewhere else. The data you're using to drive decision making, it needs to go into something that can allow you to see data over time and a graph and things like that. So we're not totally paper hypocrites, because I do stand by digital is better in those regards.

Lisa (40:02):

This is the only paper I use. I hate paper.

Sarah (40:06):

My paper's worst, entries and stuff.

Lisa (40:10):

I won't even check my mailbox anymore. I think the post office person gets pissed at me because it's always stuffed.

Sarah (40:16):

Yeah. So I like that. I think if we can encourage you to do anything at the beginning of the school year, and you know what, maybe in each episode we're going to remind even our own selves of what we said here. It is to check out our processes, use those to guide the things that you do that are repeatable, that you do over and over again. So again, it just eliminates, you have to think about what do I have to do? Which part of it? Oh my gosh, I have to write an IEP. And like Lisa said, I don't want to just think about that because if I have to think about I have to write an IEP tomorrow, I'm just going to lose my mind. But if I think about no, today all I have to do is call the parents and schedule the meeting. And then tomorrow I need to email them the input form I want them to fill out. And then the next day I have chunks [crosstalk 00:41:02].

Lisa (41:02):

Way better.

Sarah (41:03):

Yeah. Way better. So do that.

Lisa (41:05):

if I have a system for that, if I have a Google form that I could just shoot off because... Or maybe I've even already scheduled those all through the year. I mean, there's so many things you can do to just be such a good friend of yourself.

Sarah (41:14):

This is the other thing, we love processes, and then we love automation.

Lisa (41:18):


Sarah (41:19):

Anything that you can do, and delegation. If you can delegate too. So anyway, maybe that's not the whole conversation about automation and delegation. So the process and then write down the three things you need to get done today so that you can feel really good when you walk out the door or at least just feel like you accomplished something. And then finding ways to unstuck. Dance party, not dishes.

Lisa (41:49):

Act a fool by yourself in front of a mirror. It's great. Laugh at yourself.

Sarah (41:53):

Yes. And then we are so excited. We have so many fun guests coming on the rest of the season and guess what? They're experts in the areas that we are not. And so that's why we're going to ask some friends in the confessional. And we've got a lot of exciting things coming up. We hope everyone is thriving, not just surviving. I just wanted to throw that there, because there's another motivational saying for you. We love you guys. Email us if you have any questions or podcast topics you want us to do, or you just want to say, hey.

Lisa (42:27):

And so this is going to be posted on a Monday and we're actually recording on a Monday. So we want you to hashtag [inaudible 00:42:32].

Sarah (42:33):

Oh, yeah.

Lisa (42:36):

See, I snuck that in.

Sarah (42:37):

Oh my gosh. It was so good. What else could we say that's real gross at the end?

Lisa (42:42):

If life gives you lemons, make margaritas. That's limes.

Sarah (42:50):

I'm always thinking of the one that it's like, you have to believe it to achieve it. Those kinds of things. Oh, gross. On that note, peace out friends.

Lisa (42:58):


Sarah (42:59):