When Doing Less is More

Today I encountered a moment of clarity in the midst of a cloud of confusion. Suddenly the hazy mist was cleared away and I realized that I needed to do less to do more. I’ve said before in the fatherhood blog (and probably even this education blog) that I’m addicted to technology and productivity blogs. There are too many to name but just do a web search for “productivity blog” and you’ll get the idea. Somehow, over time, all of these influences coalesced and finally sunk in.

Recently I’ve been reflecting and ranting about technology difficulties in the classroom and today I decided to stop fighting with people who aren’t being helpful. While at an earlier point this battle would have benefited my students we are now far past that point. There are too many different departments not working together above me and I can’t force them to sit down and have a chat. So I stopped working on fixing the problem…

…and started working on a solution. I turned off my computer, refused to check my e-mail more than twice in any 24 hour period, and decided to focus on what I could do to improve things. The first thing I did was get some of my neglected work as a student done. I had been putting it off because I was so focused on fixing technical problems for one class. Talk about a stress reliever. Next, I brainstormed about ways to actually fix the problem without actually having to converse further with the people causing the problem. How could I actually run such a large course without the aid of certain technologies? Eventually solutions came to me. They were appropriate and doable. I also found a way to give another shot to the technologies without losing my mind again… and without having to talk to IT (because the process is supposed to be fully automated). If the automated process doesn’t work I’ll just use my non-tech solution (that I thought up without stress).

In case you missed it… all of this planning is for the Fall Semester of 2010. If you haven’t read about it yet… you might want to think about working ahead. It’s really helpful… especially when you’re de-stressed.