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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Be a human BEING rather than a human DOING: Making choices in Overchoice



I've been on "vacation" for the last four days but with a sick daughter, messy house, and a beebee gun to the back windowshield of my vehicle -- I've been feeling more like a human "doing" than a human "being."

I came across KWHobbes' great article about "Functioning in a state of overload." He's a father of 7 so I feel that he can identify with my all too constant state of rush rush.

I believe a lot of teachers will identify with his thoughts:

"Safe to say I was overwhelmed and beginning to wonder if all the hype was worth the added stress. And, if I was having trouble,
can you image what other educators who weren’t using technology would feel like if this were thrust upon them, even a bit at a time. With the number different things that are coming at educators from all sides, an overload of information is not what they need. So how does one manage in this time of information overload and do more than just skimming and scanning or drown in the tsanumi?"
He goes on to give tips about how he handles it all and I think they are good tips. Here are a few brief thoughts, because I've got a lot of cleaning (still) to do today:

1) Sometimes you've got to let the rough end drag
A favorite saying of my late grandmother. Perfection is an illusion. It is enough to be joining in the conversation. And remember that ALL OF US, especially me feel "out of it."

2) Change your corner of the world
Change what you can and start at home. Yesterday, my daughter and I had a great photography lesson together as we learned about how to take photographs. You can see what our last photo to the left. We had a great time!


3) Practice intentional R&D

I have a whole chapter about this in my new book -- I keep a list of things I want to try out and when I can sneak in a little time here and there, I don't mindlessly surf -- I intentionally spend time on my own research and development in ways that fit into the big picture of my life at the moment. R&D is literally a list in my planner!

4) Participate but selectively congregate
It is easy to feel like that you'll "miss something" when twitter is abuzz and things are hopping in the edublogosphere. Guess what? Things are always hopping in those places.

You've got a life to live. When I'm on trips, I often "congregate" -- heading off to the latest ustream or online free event, but otherwise, I am very selective. Wow2 and EdTechConnect with Discovery Educators make my top list. (I'm on tomorrow night at 7pm EST -- enroll ahead of time for this free seminar.)

5) Automate
Automate as much as you can to facilitate your sharing.

RSS magic - For me, I use feedburner to put my delicious links into my RSS feed. Then, I use twitterfeed to take my feedburner feed automatically and post it to my twitter status. Then, I use the twitter app in facebook to automatically take my twitter status and change it to be my facebook status. (Note that I set my twitterfeed to only update once an hour at most, you don't want to inundate your twitter.)

Calendar Magic - I know everyone loves Google Calendar, but my life is on Airset -- this tool is embedded into so many things I do, from updating my public calendar on the left hand side of my blog, to reminding guests when they are coming on wow2, to setting up appointments, I love airset.

Cellphone Magic - Airset texts reminders of my calendar for the next day, reminds me of appointments, texts my husband and kids to remind them of their appointments, and I also use 4info.net to text me the weather for the day (and sports scores that are final for my favorite team, the Georgia Tech yellow Jackets -- not much to follow lately, but I like to know anyway.)

I also set up my gmail account to forward e-mail from my husband to my cell phone via text message. (Follow the instructions from your carrier or use something like MyCell.)

Additionally, I use callwave for my cell phone voice mail now, if I miss a call, callwave records the message and forwards it to my e-mail with a pretty good transcription and a copy of the message that I may listen to from my computer. I just use that for everything and am about to set my home phone to no answer transfer to my cell phone -- I need ONE place to check everything -- gmail is it -- even my voice mail.

E-mail Magic - All of your e-mail accounts can be set to go into one gmail account under your account settings. (It checks pop and imap e-mail.) I set all of it to go there.

If you have gmail, all I can say is filter, filter, filter. I have several important folders set up -- one is 2READ -- I filter all of my newsletters, etc. to go directly to that folder and skip my main inbox. Mark things as spam and filter them. If you don't want them, just tell gmail to delete it automatically by pressing the little down arrow on the right hand side and select filter messages like this. I still get 100 messages a day -- but that is down from the 2000 or so that I was getting since I went to gmail. It has the best spam filter and although I miss outlook a little, I have got to have the spam filter!

Use folders - I use the Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity method by David Allen and have folders marked @ACTION and @WAITING to file my e-mails that I need to act on or am waiting for others -- I still have to go through and review, but it is important to be able to get that inbox down to zero.

6) It is ok to be a being and not always be doing!

The hardest thing for me to remember is that I am not validated by my list. Relaxing and remembering that I have a family to love on that won't be here forever is very important.

I'd love to know your tips for being more efficient. Please, share!


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