A Day In the Life of a Stay-At-Home SLP
When people ask me what I do, I often jokingly call myself a "stay at home SLP". I say that because I'm able to schedule my private practice work life around my family life. The only way I've been able to manage that is to work for myself, and more recently, to contract with a teletherapy company as well. My schedule is nontraditional and won't work for everyone, but this is what my Mondays through Saturdays as a "stay at home SLP" look like!
5 am: get up, drink a glass of water, and head down to my basement office to work until my toddler gets up around 7:30. This is when I get my best "creative" work done, like blogging and course/resource creation. I also answer any important emails that came in overnight. I'm a morning person, so I usually don't even need an alarm, but when I think I might need one, this wake-up light alarm clock is AMAZING for a nice, gentle wakeup (Amazon Affiliate link)
7:30 am- 1/1:30 pm: toddler is up and at 'em, so I'm making food, wiping up spills, and running to playdates, errands, or preschool until nap time. I see private clients from 9-11:30 am one day a week and do teletherapy from 8 am-1 pm one other day, so she goes to daycare during those times. On the days I don't see clients or students, I often take my toddler to the park and get a run in there, or do a YouTube workout and have her "help".
1:30-3 pm: Toddler Naptime means work time for me. This is my time to get more administrative work done for my practice (like paying bills, replying to more emails, and making work-related calls), and for my courses.
3- 7:30 pm: toddler is up again, so we go about our day. I'll clean the house, do some crafts or read some books with her, maybe run another errand or squeeze in a workout before my husband gets home. She watches TV from 5-6 pm so dinner can get made (no judgment here! Her language is developing beautifully). If I have evening clients, I will see them between 4:30 and 7:30.
8-9 pm: you'll find me planning for the next day's social media posts, finalizing my schedule and coordinating with my husband, and answering any last-minute emails, then usually getting in at least a half hour of reading before bed. This past year (2018), I was able to read 112 books, especially since I designated Sunday as "Screen Free/Work Free Sunday" so I have time to read (e-books are allowed, but I prefer to look at paper). I'm usually in bed around 9 pm so I can try to get a nice 8 hours of sleep before 5 am rolls around.
This schedule works for me, but it won't work for everyone! I've made a lot of adjustments to it over time, and it is not set in stone.
Before you start coveting my flexible schedule, here are some caveats:
I work 6 days a week, for a total of about 30 hours. 5 work days a week wasn't allowing me to get everything done that I needed to without putting my daughter in daycare for longer than I wanted to, so I made the decision to work on Saturdays as well. Once she is in school (her current preschool is one, 1.5-hour session a week), I will be able to work during those times as well and hopefully phase out some evening work.
I don't love working in the evening. I am a morning person by nature and would rather have all of my work done by 3 pm. However, most private clients need evening hours, so that is when I have to be available. Some days are 14 hour days, from 5 am until 7:30 pm- that's the way that private practice works, and I had to be flexible.
I had to designate one day a week without work and with as little screen time as possible in order to be fresh for my other 6 workdays. Most weeks, that's Sunday, but some weeks I've chosen Saturday or Wednesday- I can be flexible!
My flexible schedule is possible because I took the time to set my private practice up correctly and learn about workflows and systems to make it run well. If you are interested in starting a private practice and want to work smarter, not harder, check out my step-by-step Private Practice Foundations course! It guides you through everything you need to start your own private practice that works for your schedule.