The Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE) is one of the most important aspects of your social work career.
The ASYE social work programme gives Newly Qualified Social Workers (NQSW) extra support during their first year in employment.
This means that you may have reduced caseload, frequent reflective supervision and study days you can then use to complete ASYE reflective logs, do more research or attend workshops.
Also, this period merges what you have learned during your degree and supervises you through a gradually increasing caseload.
Newly qualified social workers often ask whether the ASYE is compulsory.
Although it is currently not compulsory, I highly recommend that you join an ASYE social work cohort when you gain your first social work role in order to develop and build upon your social work skills and knowledge gradually.
Many ASYE social work jobs will provide a comprehensive ASYE training in their ASYE academy.
The ASYE framework you may work within will have certain expectations such as providing an ASYE portfolio, ASYE reflective account, and engage in ASYE supervisions.
Your ASYE portfolio will then be presented to an ASYE moderation panel and assessed.
During my Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE), I was able to develop my skills, knowledge and capability beyond initial qualification, and this helped strengthen my professional confidence and resilience.
I completed my ASYE social work programme successfully by putting in a lot of hard work and using the techniques detailed in this article.
Do you agree with Tolkien?
Share your views with my readers in the comments section below.
So, in this article, I would like to share some tips which helped me pass my ASYE successfully and what could make a NQSW fail their ASYE.
Let’s explore this more, shall we?
How to Pass Your ASYE Using this Powerful Secret
Time management can be one of the most overwhelming concerns for a NQSW on their ASYE.
Between working on your caseloads, attending home visits, writing your ASYE paperwork and spending time with your family and friends, it is no wonder, time becomes the most valuable thing you need to manage effectively and wisely.
During my ASYE, I got up every day with a plan in mind and on paper.
However, I often struggled to meet deadlines.
So, knowing that I can’t be the only one who struggled to get everything done during my ASYE, I have put together some outstanding time management tips for NQSW to help take the stress out of managing your time during the ASYE year so you can focus on producing quality reports, reflective logs and spending quality time with your family and friends.
What is Time Management?
The ability to effectively manage the time at your disposal is time management.
It is an essential skill to have as a social worker.
Being able to keep track of your workload and organise tasks within your working hours is important because time lost can never be gained back.
What are the Causes of Poor Time Management?
As a wife, mother and a NQSW a few years ago, I had to juggle between caring for my family, typing up assessments and report writing, and I found it difficult to manage my time effectively.
I realised that to achieve the goals I have set, there was the need for me to change my mindset and review my life.
After a careful review, I realised that I was disorganised, procrastinated, lacked energy and did not prioritise.
Best Time Management Tips for NQSW
There are several areas of life where distractions can be eliminated, and time managed effectively.
Here are a few of my favourite time management techniques that helped me with my time management while on my ASYE.
What are Time Management Techniques?
Techniques can help you become more productive and efficient with your time, make better and faster decisions, and accomplish more in less time and with less effort.
The right time management technique can really boost your productivity.
What are Some Good Time Management Strategies?
1. Identify What You Want to Do
This involves identifying key priorities in your life and establishing a sense of what is desirable.
You can do this by making a list. It is important not to rely on your memory, as distractions may cloud your focus.
By keeping a list, you are sure that you have noted down everything important.
By prioritising, you can plan the order you want things done and you can tell what needs your immediate attention or what can be left until later.
You can make a list to include:
- Writing your reflective log
- Writing your observation report
- Typing up assessments
- Phone calls to people you support
2. What Do You Think is Realistically Possible?
This helps you think about practicalities.
Look at the resources you have and what is possible for you to achieve.
What would those possibilities allow you to do next? Do not take on too many other responsibilities to please your line manager or team.
Your focus is to complete your ASYE and produce the high-quality portfolio.
Investing time into the right tasks will ask for less effort, but bring better results.
This is also known as the 20/80 rule, or the Pareto principle.
3. Set Goals Related to those Priorities
Firstly, make sure you have clear objectives, as well as defined tasks and resources in order to make a clear plan that will lead you to your goals.
Write down what you need to do in a day by setting goals.
Set goals related to those priorities you have listed. However, make them specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.
When setting goals, I like to write them as if I have already accomplished that goal.
So, for example, I have typed up my 3-month reflective log by the 10th of December 2020. To help me achieve my goals, I aim to single-task rather than multi-task.
If you single-task, it means focusing on one task at a time, which helps you deliver quality end results much better than when you multitask.
4. Decide on What You Need to do to Achieve those Goals?
Consider actions you need to take to reach the goals you have set.
You can work your goals out in such a way that they relate with each other, so the sum of actions is greater than their parts.
For instance, you can arrange an observation as part of your ASYE portfolio and use this for your reflective log.
5. Manage Your Time Efficiently So Nothing Important Falls Through the Cracks
Life is made up of days, days of hours and hours of minutes and minutes of seconds.
Although, a second of ten doesn’t seem like much, thinking that you can waste a few seconds or minutes is the biggest lie you can tell yourself.
No one will have any empathy for you should you fail to send in your ASYE documents when due.
The onus is on you to ensure that you have all the essential documentation ready at the set deadline.
I like to use my Google calendar to remind me of due dates and times.
Find an App or a system that works best for you.
6. Automate Your Schedule
For me, the biggest help was my ability to schedule ahead.
Take a look at your schedule and think of ways to plan.
For instance, you can plan visits in one area on the same day.
You can look into blocking your calendar so you can type up your assessments.
Plan your study days ahead and decide on what you will do on the day.
When you have your allocations, you may want a system to help keep track of what you need to do.
I have used spreadsheets in the past to help me keep track with key-to-do tasks.
7. Avoid Diversions
It is easier to talk about some things than others.
Trying to complete a telephone assessment on a complex case can be hard.
You may have to carry out a home visit in the end.
As a result, analyse each case you are allocated and decide whether a home visit will help you gather most of the information you require.
When you schedule a home visit, try to avoid rearranging the appointment unless the person you are going to assess decides to cancel.
8. Stay Organised
Have you ever spent hours attempting to find that information you wrote on a piece of paper during an assessment or lost the telephone number of a person you are supporting?
Spend some money on quality stationary!
Having a dedicated book where you keep all the information you require will save you a lot of time.
- Organise your work space, drawer, bag, etc. This way, you will not have to spend hours looking for a particular document or information because you will already know where it is!
- Keep a calendar – Until recently, I kept both an online calendar and a paper diary. I realised I was duplicating information and sometimes both calendars did not match up because I failed to update one. I have since switched to an online calendar only–everyone will have their preference, so choose what suits you.
- Writing a chronology and genogram and reading the case notes will help you produce a list of questions. Make your visit a flowing conversation rather than a question-and-answer session. Building these sets of questions will save time. Otherwise, you will end up carrying out more home visits than you planned just because you didn’t stay organised well enough to ask important questions the first time.
- Save telephone numbers on your work mobile. That way you do not have to keep searching through your notepad for key numbers. I have always saved contact numbers of key agencies such as the Occupational Therapist, Food Bank, Local Taxis, etc. I have also saved the contact numbers of the people I am supporting within the community. Once I have completed my work with them, I then delete the telephone number.
- Have a routine. What is a list without a routine? Having a routine helps you to stay organised and gives you a reason to stay motivated. My routine starts in the morning and I find that this helps transform my day! Check out my article on How to Transform your Day as a Social Worker
9. Manage Your Stress
Make sure you manage your stress with stress relieving strategies and tactics, in order to feel more relaxed while doing your work.
If there is one thing that can interfere with your ability to function and manage, it is stress.
Make sure you keep your stress in check and under control.
Try one of these activities–taking a walk, talking to a colleague briefly, listening to music.
10. Make Time for Yourself
No matter how much time a NQSW spends managing their case load or time, it is always important to make time for yourself.
If you are tired, hungry, or irritable, you cannot function at your best, so be sure to eat the right foods, get plenty of sleep, and exercise.
That way you will be less stressed and able to function at your optimal level.
Paying attention to your health will make you feel better. You will work quicker and feel better.
There is a lot of research which has found a link between physical health and performance at work, such as research by Hogan et al. (2013) and Fox (1999).
A lot of social workers try to work with little or no food. They miss their breaks!
Also, it is not professional being in someone’s home feeling hungry or lightheaded and needing to have a challenging conversation that requires your full focus and attention.
11. Learn to Say No
Learning to say ‘NO’ as a NQSW can be a challenge.
You may be asked to take on additional tasks when you are already bombarded with your own caseload and ASYE work.
Be never afraid to say you have enough on your plate!
12. Manage Your Case Notes
Learn to use applications such as copy talk – www.copytalk.com or www.jott.com where you can dictate any message up to 4 minutes and have the transcription emailed to you within hours.
I will recommend you read this article on Sample Case Notes for Social Work You Can Learn From.
13. Screen and Avoid Unwanted Calls
In social work, making and receiving calls is very much part of what we do daily.
However, from experience, phone calls can take up most of your day if not managed effectively.
Sometimes, your phone number may become public and even get to the wrong hands! This is disastrous!.
I took the following steps in managing my phone calls and it made such a tremendous difference in my time management.
- I established do-not disturb hours when all calls go directly to my voicemail with no ring.
- I customised my voice message to let callers send me a text message if the situation is urgent or to leave the exact actions they want me to take on the voice mail.
14. Create Systems to Limit Your Availability
I will recommend that you use email instead of face-to-face meetings to solve problems where appropriate, especially where this is an internal issue.
- If you have to attend meetings, go to the meeting with a clear set of objectives and agenda.
- Set an obvious start and end time and remind participants of the time set.
What is the Best Time Management Strategy?
I have tried a few time management strategies such as time blocking, time boxing and eat that frog technique.
However, the 10-Minute Rule is my favourite time management technique.
You work on a task for 10 minutes and after 10 minutes are up, you then decide whether to keep working.
Putting my task into small-time chunks helps me have a sense of momentum, and I do not feel overwhelmed.
If you use this method, remember not to get distracted by constantly checking the time.
As you continue to use it, you will be able to estimate when the 10 minutes are up instead of checking constantly.
Time management can be very difficult to achieve as a NQSW, but with the right tips it is very doable.
With the right mindset, focus, and adoption of new skills, it is possible to be good at managing your time.
Learning how to effectively manage your time is important as a NQSW.
It will help you not only reduce stress in your life, but it will help you become more effective, better productively and you will pass your ASYE.
However, just like all things, practice makes one perfect! The more you put these tips to use, the better you will get at them.
Do you have a favourite tip that helps you manage your time more effectively?
What advice would you give to Newly Qualified Social Workers looking to pass their ASYE?
How to Pass Your ASYE Using this Powerful Secret
- Identify What You Want to Do
- What do you think is realistically possible?
- Set goals related to those priorities
- Decide on What You Need to do to Achieve those Goals?
- Manage Your Time Efficiently So Nothing Important Falls Through the Cracks
- Automate your schedule
- Avoid distractions
- Stay Organised
- Manage Your Stress
- Make Time for Yourself
- Learn to Say No
- Manage Your Case Notes
- Screen and Avoid Unwanted Calls
- Create Systems to Limit Your Availability
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