Staying Organised and Prepared

This may seem very basic or common sense, but it can be overwhelming and detrimental if you don’t keep on top of the admin. Every one has their own preferences to organising things: laptop, paperwork, folders etc. This post will cover some of the ways in which I found it efficient to record, plan and prepare for work.


Summaries


After each session with an athlete, using both my memory and my notes I typed up a summary of the session. This included writing my notes up in fuller sentences that would make sense when I came back to look at them later and doing so in a chronological order. For example, my summaries would reflect the order in which I had asked questions and conversation flowed.

After having a complete session summary, I highlighted parts that I felt were important. What constitutes as ‘important’ is one of those judgment decisions you have to make for yourself. For me, it was information I felt I could either delve deeper into and would help in the case formulation or ‘diagnosis’ for a lack of a better word.

Additionally, I highlighted and noted within the summary, anything that linked to a psychological skill or technique. For example, one athlete had expressed “I am able to remain switched on and engaged, but when I’m ticked off I focus on others instead of myself.” This, I highlighted as a link to attentional control theory.

I made notes within the summary about how I could potentially handle the situation or things I could potentially implement when it came to intervention. With the above example, I noted next to ACT, ‘instructional self-talk to focus’, as a note for myself about how I could progress with this athlete on this particular issue.

At the end of each summary I wrote down talking points for future sessions, which would help to create the next session agenda.


Session Agenda’s


Similar to summaries, session agendas follow a logical order. The first session agenda would be for the intake session, which will be wholly discussed in its own post. Following session agendas were based on the previous session summary. For example session 4 agenda would be based on session 3 with the client, the notes I had taken and the summary I wrote.

Firstly, I would have a ‘general’ section where I would ask the client how they are feeling, what they have been doing since the last time we met. If they had had any events, games, presentations or meetings etc since I had last seen them. I would be sure to ask how they felt they went, how they performed and if they were happy with the outcome. There is nothing really behind this other than genuinely caring about the person and wanting to understand their thoughts, feelings and perspective on their experiences. Of course, this helps to build rapport with the client, lets them know you care and want to listen.

For the remainder of the session agenda, I tended to focus on no more than two prominent ‘issues’ (for a lack of a better word) or experiences per session, that the client had mentioned previously. Again, these would be topics I felt I could dive deeper into as I thought there would be something in that that may help me to understand where the client could improve. For example, one client had talked about their anxiety and a lack of motivation. As she had come into the initial session knowing exactly what she wanted to discuss, I put these to psychological skills into 2 different sessions.

One session agenda included ‘general’ and anxiety. The next session agenda included ‘general’ and motivation. The anxiety session included discussion about anxiety in life in general and anxiety in sport. It was important for me to understand her anxiety in both contexts in order to decipher if this was a clinical issue or a performance-related issue. I followed a similar logic for the following session about motivation.


Label Everything


A simple but efficient way to remain prepared and organised is to label and organise your laptop, admin worksheets and folders. Whatever medium you use to work e.g. pen and paper or technology, keep it structured. Give documents names of exactly what they are. For example if you have a word doc about performance profiling with u 12 swimmers, then name the file ‘performance profiling for u12 swimmers’. Do not leave it entitled ‘Doc 1’.

If this sounds like common sense, I apologise. I have seen computers with a complete lack of arrangement and order, which I can only imagine makes it very difficult to work efficiently and effectively.

Things I have folders for:

  • Different teams
  • Each client (client records)
  • Sheets/handouts
  • Meetings (agendas and summaries)
  • Notes
  • Research papers 
  • Log of work/time sheet (separate post)

University related folders

  • Each university I attended
  • Year 1
  • Year 2
  • Year 3
  • Masters
  • Semester 1 lectures
  • Semester 2 lectures
  • Semester 1 assignments
  • Semester 2 assignments 
  • Dissertation 

I’m not kidding.

This really helped me to find and store work easily and retrieve it even more effortlessly. You will have your own way of organising admin (there’s a lot of admin) in a way that is logical to you, this was a way that was logical and helpful to me.

Scheduling and Calendar


I keep a regular diary planner to hand write tasks I need to complete instead of writing them in my phone. This used to be an academic year planner, but is now an ordinary calendar year planner which I just note down things I need to do and when they need to be completed by.

I find that physically writing down my goals or tasks for the day, week or month makes it more ‘real’ in a way and motivates me to get them done. I’m also more likely to refer to the planner than I am to my phone. I used to write ‘things to do’ in my phone all the time and never remember them or remember they were there. I figured this was because we use our phones for almost everything else as well, whereas the diary is there for the sole purpose of planning tasks and ticking them off upon completion. When I see the diary, I see my tasks. When I see my phone, I do not. Simple association to help keep my life and work in order.

I downloaded and use the google calendar app rather than the apple ‘calendar’ app already installed on the iPhone for scheduling sessions with clients. Again, I just found it easier and more efficient to separate work from personal life. I use the apple calendar for everything from my dogs’ next groom to socials with my friends, so keeping client sessions on a distinct platform was essential.

These are a few of the ways I like to organise and structure my work, the admin and the planning. Effective record keeping is key. Efficiency is key.

Work smart.

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