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“Mindful May” strategies for school psychologists – How to FOCUS when you are overwhelmed

Hi School Psych friends! Watch this quick video to learn how to FOCUS using a FROG and tap into the secret school psychologists can use to turn something mundane into something meaningful to increase your happiness at work (I’m looking at YOU, report writing!)

And here’s the TRANSCRIPT for those who like to kick it old school. 🙂

Hello, my fellow school psychologists! It’s Mindful May and I wanted to give you some quick tips on focus and why is focus important. Let me tell you, if you’re like me, as a school psychologist, you get interrupted all day long!

I was reading some research on this from the University of California—fascinating, that once you get interrupted, it takes the average person 25 minutes to get back on task. So essentially every time you get interrupted—you answer an email, you get a text, or someone knocks on your door, it’s going to take you like 25 minutes to get back on track. So that’s wasting like a half an hour every time you get interrupted.

Other research shows that 41 times a day is about how many times people check their emails, and that the average American checks his/or phone 120 times a day. So those are all little interruptions that are going to stack up to you not getting reports written and then you’re going to be sitting there on the weekends, filling in those gaps, right?

So, I’m going to give you two strategies to get focused and get through the end of this school year without these distractions, which happen all day long, right? So, the best thing I’ve done for focus is a mindset shift. I read this quote by Mark Twain that I just loved and was like, “Oh my gosh this is it!” So, Mark Twain once said that:

The first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog. And if you do that, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that it’s probably the worse thing that’s going to happen to you al day long.

So, “eating the frog,” for me as a school psychologist, is writing up reports and particularly meaty, difficult, challenging, or complex reports. I tend to put them off and then it’s two in the afternoon and I’m too tired to do it, but I have to because I have a meeting and it’s got to be done.

So, if your “frog” is your biggest, most important task, the one you really have to get done and the one you’re most likely to procrastinate on and if you don’t do something about it you’re going to consequences. It’s also the task that has the greatest positive impact on your life and results at the moment.

So just for keeping it light and having fun, I have this frog that sits on my desk by my computer and it reminds me that each morning when I get to work I need to “eat the frog.” I need to do the most difficult task first while I still have fresh energy, while I still have my coffee going through my system!

ceu for school psychologists

So, for you I encourage you to try this week to “eat the frog” first thing in the morning, try to get things done, get that difficult report written or get something done that you know is going to take a lot of brain energy. And from there it’s going to be downhill and you’ll feel really accomplished.

So, the second thing is tapping into that happiness research that I’ve been talking about and it’s about reframing the mundane as meaningful. So, when you’re sitting in that moment and you’re like “Gahhhhh, I don’t want to write up this CTOPP, this doesn’t sound fun,” you need to reframe that as something that taps into your “bigger why.” And for a lot us school psychologists, it’s the kids, right??? It’s helping students and families and teachers.

So for me, when I’m sitting in those moments and I’m trying to “eat the frog” and I don’t want to eat the frog, what I do is I don’t think “Oh I’m writing up the CTOPP,” I think about it and say “Okay, I am helping this student understand how she learns best, so she doesn’t feel dumb. And that makes something really boring and mundane meaningful for me and that helps me focus in on why I’m doing it.

So, I encourage you to try those two strategies today, “eat the frog” with my friend Kermit (actually this is the bad frog from Muppets Most Wanted, this is Constantine). So, eat the “bad frog” first and then reframe the mundane as meaningful. And I’d love to hear from you guys and see how this is going for you!

Also, be sure that you like and follow my Facebook page, it’s and make sure you follow as well because if you just like it you won’t see the videos, but if you follow then it will pop in your feed and you’ll get some inspiration to get through May. So, I look forward to hearing from you guys about how your focus strategies are going! Have a great day!


Dr. Rebecca Branstetter is a school psychologist and the creator of the Thriving School Psychologist Collective™, a professional development learning community for school psychologists. To learn how to “eat the frog” during the workday so you don’t have to write reports on the weekends (and earn NASP-approved CPD credits doing it!), visit

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