It's funny. Often, in life, when we start focusing on something, we start seeing it everywhere. Since I started to develop this blog, I have read two the blogs about the 80/20 rule. One about learning to play the guitar and one about conditioning your body to perform your first pullup. Then I read about the 80/20 rule in the book I just finished reading Why Zebras Don't Have Ulcers by Robert M. Sapolsky (an amazing book by the way and one which will be the subject of a future blog post).
I'll start. I like to work out and do yoga as regularly as possible (and I don't view them as the same thing). I watch what I eat but I try not to diet or follow any fads. My "diet" is to try to choose the better choice as often as possible (80% of the time?). I like to watch movies, comedy and criminology TV shows. I LOVE the ocean and marine organisms, especially seahorses and even have pet seahorses in a tank at home. My three cats are like my children and I have 5 snakes; the largest is just about 12 feet long. I love to spend time with my family and both of my parents are educators. I guess my 20% is jam packed!
Feel free to use the comment section to tell me about your goals in using your 20% to it's fullest!!! In the next post, we'll talk about great ways to utilize that time and keep stress down!
Ok, so I'm sold on this whole "creating good habits" premise, but how does one go about doing so? We all know that bad habits are easy to slip into; a few days of slouching at your computer and (Bam!) you're slouching all the time. We all know that bad habits are hard to break; just try breaking (or ask someone who has) a nail or pen biting habit. Many people have heard the old adage that it takes 21 days to make or break a habit. One thing that people don't realize is that those are 21 consecutive days. Good habits need consistent effort to create and maintain.
Technology can be leveraged in order to help remember the different habits you are trying to build. Reminders are helpful during those 21 days so that you don't miss any in an effort to create those good habits but I caution anyone going this route against using an app created just for this one task in mind. It's better to use an app that you are already using (your calendar app, your to do or task app) so that you are not creating too much stress on yourself trying to remember to check a new app so that you remember to do all of these new, great, habits that you are trying to foster.
There are many ways that you can use automation services such as IFTTT and Zapier in order to use the Web 2.0 services that you are already using to remind you to do the habits that you are trying to create. For me, I have Zapier scheduling weekly (for my weekly tasks ) activate Google Tasks which is synced with my favorite To Do app called To Do Tomorrow which I have been using for years. For me it just works because I have some tasks that I do once a week and some I do every day. Any questions on using these services, feel free to ask in the comments!
Each summer, before the school year starts, I try to dedicate a focus for the school year. My first years teaching, my focus tended to be a bit more superficial; organizing units, creating resource guides for my students, making sure that my resources were in line with the curriculum. My early years were very focused on learning to relay content.
Two years ago, my focus turned outside of the classroom. Being a teacher is far more than imparting information to knowledge hungry students. A teacher is a mentor, a confidant and a guide. My focus that year was to ingrain myself into the school community and say "yes" to every opportunity.
This year, my focus will be on balance. My joke each year to my friends as the school year starts is that I will become a phantom again for 10 months because I get so absorbed into the school year that I forget that I am a human being with human wants, needs, hobbies and hunger pains. This year, I will not make that well meaning joke because this year I will focus on not losing myself to my work. I will find a place where I can be a teacher and a person at the same time.