I am looking forward to recalibrating my life. I am looking forward to dedicating more time to things I love and less to things I don’t. How about you? Do you need to take the difficult step of saying no to some things? Do you need to scale back too?

Source: Dangerously Irrelevant

These past two weeks, I’ve found myself lagging behind my regular blog schedule. A part of me would rather lie in bed and check email via my Android phone rather than go upstairs and work on the computer. When I do the latter, I end up writing a few blog posts. When I lie in bed, I end up falling asleep. It’s not a lack of energy, I think, but a lack of will. That’s a concern. Am I losing my enthusiasm for blogging?

When I read Scott’s post this morning, I considered that maybe I had over-extended myself in my efforts. Too many avenues of input, not enough reflection and creation. The act of creating something–even a blog entry like this one–is enough to get me going.

LeeChel Moersch wrote this comment in response to my The Power of Revelation:

It may be incomplete, but it makes so much sense. I have often sat back in awe at the regularity of your publishing work ethic. I have tried so often to find it myself. I often have things to share or questions to ask, but have such a hard time moving from thought to publishing. I for one get it that it “just is…” for you, and I am grateful.

It is a statement that I can easily make about others in the edublogger community. You see, we’re not all blogging for fame and fortune, consulting jobs, book deals, whatever. I am most impressed by those who share with little thought to the financial benefits of becoming a well-known blogger. And, of those folks, I am impressed with THEIR ethic, and I find myself in exactly the same shoes that LeeChel does when she looks at MY blog. So, one might say we are all fortunate in who we choose to read and follow…in my case, they spur me to do more than I normally might want to. For me, blogging is an important act of reflection, and in reviewing my blog entries for the last year, little of that reflection is there…but you may never know because of the quantity. I’m grateful to readers that have hung out and kept reading as I have taken a break from trying new things, learning, reflecting and sharing.

So, I re-commit myself to reflection and enthusiastic learning. Will that mean saying “No!” to projects? Well, yes, probably it will. Consider this advice from this blog entry on Adult ADHD:

Over the course of several years, I pruned my project list down to the bare few that I truly cared about versus the ones that simply interested me. The trick here was to keep asking myself “What did I really want to spend my time on?” In this way, I began to develop the motivation I needed.

I’ve always liked the idea of motivation, inspiration, as a pool of water slowly accumulating as a result of a hidden spring in the ground. While I’d like it to be a roaring rapid, the truth of the matter is that I need time to process ideas and see how they engage or enchant me…hmm…that’s not a bad way to think of it.

Here’s my stop doing list:

  • Stay away from ideas that “enrage.” For the majority of my life, I managed to keep a calm attitude towards pretty much everything. In the last few years, I found ways to tap into the anger that is part of each of us and use it. I’ve learned a lot, but I need to be careful to not make embracing rage a habit, no matter how helpful it is. I recall the recent tweet about the Gulf Oil Disaster…”Why doesn’t this enrage more people?” Is rage really all that helpful of a response? It provides fuel and energy, it can be used strategically when appropriate, but as a long-term tool, it leaves much to be desired. Rage and the drama it generates are good to engage, but not as constant tools for learners who need to embrace new learning.
  • Conferences – This past year and a half has been a year of conferences. It contributes to the unsettled feeling…in fact, I’ve kept my suitcase pre-packed so I can pretty much leave when needed. Instead of attending conferences, I want to focus in on one or two things that I want to learn more deeply and then write about those.
  • Launching New Projects – At a recent work event, a colleague asked me by way of conversation starter, “What exciting new project are you working on?” I wanted to answer that we were slimming down and focusing on a few key projects, but realized that I was ready to share some fresh ideas that had popped into my head. I’m grateful that my team is providing some leadership on this question, and I am thankful that I’ve adjusted my own approach as their supervisor to enable them to own the projects we focus on, and the projects we don’t. It’s far too easy to start a new project without giving long-term consideration to sustainability.
  • Publishing to old venues – Writing an article, as much as I enjoy it, is not as rewarding as writing a blog entry. There’s no editor to worry about, no reason to align to national standards, no reason to let the magazine change your lead paragraph or cut half the article because one is too verbose.  In the last few years, I’ve seen several publishing venues “dry up” as a result of the economic challenges magazines are facing. This has meant that a lot of my work is being thrown back up in the air, a fresh face being put on it, and then getting republished. That’s fine as far as it goes, but I want to be open to fresh ideas…in fact, I want to find out how new ideas intersect with my work and learning habits. How will NOT publishing in print venues impact my readership? If my writing doesn’t appear in TCEA’s TechEdge or an ISTE publication or elsewhere, what impact will that have? Is having 2000+ readers per day equivalent to having a potential of 18000 in a magazine once a quarter? Could this be sour grapes?
  • Hoarding content – I don’t know about you, but I’m a content junkie. I have books stacked up at work that I haven’t read but will (and I will!), towers of tales at home, sacks of stories ready to be sold at the local Half-Price Bookstore at a fraction of their value. But I have tons of content online too, crammed into every corner of Diigo and Delicious. I never look at it again after having read it. I need to stop hoarding it and cut it all loose.

If that’s my stop doing list, what am I going to do to put myself in conversations that engage and enchant me?

  • Find patterns that make sense to me in the content I do see – Face to face, or when seeking focus on Google Reader when I’m at my computer, Twitter when I’m on the go.
  • Play the “hermit” more – That doesn’t mean disconnect from people so much as take the time to play the mystic, and then share the revelations.
  • Find more to be enchanted by, rather than enraged by the injustices and pecadilloes of the education system.
  • Share more.
Will I actually accomplish all this? I’m not sure. But it will be fun trying to change habits.

Update: I was reflecting on this blog entry and remembered a Ben Franklin quote. “Serendipitously” enough, it showed up in my Twitter stream for today about 30 minutes after it popped into my head.

“I will speak ill of no man, and speak all the good I know of everybody.” – Benjamin Franklin

Of course, you have to know what led Ben Franklin to make that remark. Go find out the story!


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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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