10 Reasons I haven’t blogged in 475 days… and why all of these excuses are true, yet terrible.

The last time I posted on this blog was 475 days ago (August 29, 2014). Why did I stop? Why haven’t I kept going? I have no idea, but in order for me to move forward, I need to list them, own them, and move on. Here are 10 reasons I came up with.

 

1. I’ve been posting once a week on The ‘Stang (our school’s blog), so I don’t need to post on my blog.

Each Friday I email our faculty and staff, and while it is true that my Friday Thoughts are posted to the school’s blog each week, it’s certainly not a valid reason for me to not post on my personal blog. In fact, I should use the same discipline and dedication (I haven’t missed a week yet!) to post on my blog.

 

2. I am no longer teaching in the classroom.

As a classroom teacher, I experimented often with educational technology. I read about it, researched constantly and looked for ways to improve how I taught. As a principal, I haven’t stopped learning and looking for ways to improve and that should be a reason for me to have kept writing and sharing ideas.

 

3. I’m new at being a principal and I don’t know how much I have to offer/share.

This is a bad excuse. If nothing else, I certainly have a lot of “not-to-do” ideas to share. I doubt I’ll ever have this principal gig figured out, so why should I wait until then to start writing? In fact, wouldn’t it make more sense for me to write to share ideas and get feedback from people much smarter?

 

4. Life got busy.

While this is true, how terrible of an excuse is this?! Of course life got busy. I’ve never met anyone whose life got less busy. Using this excuse is evidence of my lack of discipline and commitment.

 

5. I ran out of things to write about.

Including faculty, staff, and students, I interact with over 500 people every day– so there’s always something I could write about. Our teachers and students do amazing things every single day, so content should never be an issue. I still read like crazy, I still listen to podcasts daily, and I still learn something new every day. There’s always content.

6. I wonder if anyone even reads what I write.

It’s evident that someone will read my blog because you’re reading it. So that excuse is dead in the water.

 

7. I was going to write later.

Ah, the good ol’ procrastination excuse– later. I’ve been using this one since I can remember. The thing with later is that it’s open-ended. When does later happen? I started writing my Friday Thoughts email in November of 2013. Every Friday since then (well, every Friday during the school year), I’ve written a post and published it. It’s my own personal goal to not miss a week, and I’ve hit that goal every single time. My goal for those posts isn’t to write them later– it’s to write and share them each Friday. (And to be honest, I have no idea how many of our faculty or staff or blog visitors even read the posts which goes back to excuse #6.

 

8. I worry that if I write about an experience from school, I might offend someone or share more information than I should.

If this were the case, no one would ever blog anywhere about anything. This is a weak excuse I’ve made up to justify not writing. It’s time I call it what it is.

 

9. WordPress wouldn’t update.

Nope, this excuse won’t work either. My issues aren’t with WordPress or with my Mac or even with Evernote. I have all the resources necessary to write– I’ve simply chosen not to.

 

10. I couldn’t come up with the perfect post to help me “get back in the game.”

This actually may be my best and worst excuse. Even as write now, there’s a sense of embarrassment of the reaction when this shows up in a subscriber’s inbox. I picture the thoughts now.


Whoa, what’s this? An email from Jordan Collier? Who is that? I don’t remember signing up for that blog. Oh wait, I kind of remember now. Wow, that like 2 years ago. I wonder why something is just now showing up…

As if the “perfect post” will fix that. Nope. This isn’t the perfect post and I don’t even know what “get back in the game” really means. I just know I’m posting something after 475 days off. And I’m glad I didn’t wait until day 476.

Those are my excuses. If you’re in the same boat I’ve been in, what are some of your excuses? Feel free to add those to the comments below.

The No Complaining Rule

 

The No Complaining Rule

Recently, a student suggested I read some books by Jon Gordon and offered to let me borrow his copies. I had never heard of Jon Gordon, but I took the student up on his offer and borrowed The Energy BusTraining Camp, and The No Complaining Rule. All of the books are short, inspirational reads and I would recommend them to anyone because we all need positive encouragement in our lives.

In The No Complaining Rule, Hope (the main character) is faced with improving the morale at her company. She searches high and low for solutions, and eventually develops a strategic plan to make the company culture positive, encouraging, and pleasant. Throughout the book, Gordon uses Hope’s situation to teach readers key principles and practices (two of the ideas are below) to help avoid being a complainer.

Three No Complaining Tools

1. The But —> _____ Positive Technique. When you catch yourself complaining, add a “but…” along with a positive.

  • I don’t like driving to work for an hour but I’m thankful I can drive and that I have a job.
  • I don’t like that I’m out of shape but I love feeling great so I’m going to focus on exercising and eating right.

2. Focus on “Get To” instead of “Have To.”

  • “I have to grade these tests” turns to “I get to grade these tests.”
  • “We have to go to chapel” turns to “We get to go to chapel.”

3. Turn Complaints into Solutions.

  • Identify your intent when complaining.
  • Justified complaining moves you toward a solution.
  • Mindless complaining is negative and should be avoided.

 

Five Things To Do Instead of Complaining

1. Practice gratitude.
2. Praise others.
3. Focus on success.
4. Let go.
5. Pray and meditate.

We’re getting into that part of the school year where we’re all tired and extremely busy— a bad combination— and students are getting restless. It happens every year, but since we know it’s coming, we need move forward with a positive outlook. I want to encourage everyone to be positive, to look for solutions, and to avoid mindless complaining.

As educators, we have an important job to do— correction, the most important job to do—and that’s to mentor and educate our students. No two thoughts can occupy the mind at the same time, so if we’re focusing on being positive, negative thoughts have no place in our minds or in our schools.

My goal is to be the most positive person in my school. I challenge you to do the same.

 

Managing Online Reading

To maximize online reading, I use several services to find great articles, to stay organized, to save articles for later reading, and to annotate while reading online. I’ll briefly explain the services I use below.

Zite– This is my new favorite! Zite allows users to create a personalized online magazine. After creating an account, users enter their interests and Zite combs the internet for blog posts and articles matching those interests. My Zite interests include blended learning, BYOD, classroom, classroom 2.0, Evernote, leadership, personal development, principal, teachers as technology trailblazers, and 12 other keywords. When I read an article, I can favorite it, share it, and I can also subscribe to other keywords.

Instapaper– Instapaper is how I save articles to read later. When I see a post on Twitter, Facebook, or anywhere else, I save it to Instapaper (using the toolbar extension). When I have time to read, I open Instapaper and have a list of posts I saved for later reading. I’ve used Instapaper for a while now and I love it!

Delicious– Delicious is new for me. It’s a lot like Instapaper but has some great social media functions built in. In addition to saving articles to read later, other users can subscribe to my Delicious channel and I can subscribe to other users. This is a great way to let others find the good stuff! Click here to check out my Delicious page.

IFTTT– If This, Then That is a pretty awesome service that finds resources for me and sends them my way based on a recipe I set up. For example, one of my recipes is “If I like a Twitter post, then send the post to my Delicious account.” So as I’m going through Twitter and come across something I really like, I’ll favorite it and the link is saved in Delicious. There are so many pre-made recipes on IFTTT that I just have gone through and picked the ones that might work for me. There are several that work with Evernote that are really helpful!

Clearly– I use the Evernote Clearly toolbar extension when I’m reading an article or blog post online because it clears out everything except for the text (no more ads, side links, flashing pop-ups, etc.) and it allows me to annotate directly on the article. Clearly links to my Evernote account, so when I highlight or make a note, the article and my annotations are automatically sent to my “Articles” notebook in Evernote. Click here to read more about how I use Evernote Clearly.

Lightly– This one is brand new for me, but I’ve already found it very beneficial when I’m reading on my iPhone or iPad. This app allows me to highlight key ideas while reading, and then the article is clipped (saved) directly to my “Articles” notebook in Evernote.

With so many articles and resources out there, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, but these systems have really helped me manage my online reading. If you’re not already using a service similar to one of these, I suggest you give one of them a try.

If you are already using a service to manage your online reading, I’d love for you to post a suggestion below. I’m always looking for something new to try out.