I’ve had such a powerful day! I have one more thing to do on my to do list to really knock today out of the park. But before I do that, I wanted to come and lay some track for anyone reading.
Today is the type of day to document, because, it already comes on the heels of a powerful week. Monday, I was able to deliver an amazing day of coaching service at a local non profit after school program. Tuesday I was teaching my graduate-level Teaching Strategies course, and Wednesday I was teaching my graduate-level Teaching Seminar course. Each time getting positive feedback back from my students. I’m always surprised when students praise my teaching practice.
Teaching practice and coaching practice is hard! Shit! I’m finding in my entrepreneurship and research that teaching and coaching is about constantly evolving, and challenging yourself. It’s about communication. Its about the transfer of knowledge, and the equipping of tools.
That’s hard, but we here are EDGE-ucational Media Company, LLC believe it to be possible to strategically equip yourself with tools and lived experiences, in an effort to craft the leadership journey you want to live here on Earth. We believe that is possible and curatable in the living moment. We believe you the reader in this moment holds the power to determine your programming and ultimately where your path will lead, and the impact you will have.
Getting back on topic – as a company we had one of the strongest days of the year today. And we’re still conquering items on the to do even down to this post. the to do list we start the day with is the guide for what can be a powerful day of creation, or a wasteful day of consumption.
Today’s to do list – written during our morning journal time:
I’m addicted to them now. I found them through music artist, turned mother and author – Amerie. I’ve followed her youtube channel mostly focused on books for about 2 years now. She recently posted a 40 minute writing video:
As a writer myself, I’ve personally struggled to be productive, find the motivation, and most importantly community for creative and productive works. Hopefully you find these videos and productivity companions for you. Just as they have been for me.
Apparently this phenomenon comes from Asian cultures where you can find even more videos under the gongbank keyword.
Feel free to mute me. Or listen along to my craziness.
If you happen to use this video drop a comment below about why you found it helpful.
Yesterday a good friend asked me if I knew any solid time management and productivity strategies. I’m dumb horrible at giving coherent advice and assists on the spot. My brain just doesn’t work well on call like that, LoL. Plus I’m the King of awkward, so, it just never quite works out right.
But after a fairly productive day, myself, I tried to sit down and think of the real suggestions I WOULD recommend. Something about being a schoolteacher teaches you the value of 60 seconds. There’s been so many times when I’ve whirled into the building 10 minutes before the first bell and have had to construct my entire life, the students’, their worksheet and have it printed and ready to go without anyone knowing the wiser.
I’ve boiled the following strategies down from my own practice; hopefully some of these can help you too.
1) Goals: Come in with a goal, or set one first.
Goals are our internal road maps to tell us whether we’re getting close to completing what we initially set out for or not. Everyone’s goals will be different. Its also important to understand that there our goal(s) have different levels and therefore require different levels of commitment from us. For simplicity I’ve broken down our goals into 3 categories. BIG, MEDIUM, SMALL
BIG: Think of big goals as your long-term goals. What am I looking to accomplish in the long run? What is your end goal. Many times we start with this, but don’t do the work to break this big goal down even further into more manageable steps.
Examples: -My end goal is to… write a book.
-My end goal is to finish this new curriculum.
-Me end goal is to reach out to X amount of new clients.
-My goal is to participate in a fitness competition.
MEDIUM: Your medium goals are what I would consider your short term goals. I consider medium goals as roadsigns along the highway. They let us know whether we’re moving in the right direction toward accomplishing those big goals we’ve set out to tackle. I think of these more as weekly goals, and the small project goals we give ourselves.
Examples: -Completing 3 chapters in your book
-Drafting the first 2 units of your curriculum plan.
-Successfully making the gym 4 days this week.
-Adding 3 clients to your pipeline.
SMALL: THIS is where the magic happens. This is where your big goals either come true or don’t come to fruition. This is where you do the work to either get that project off the ground, or you let it die off. Small goals in my opinion aren’t really goals. They’re more how we manage our time to bring about change(s) in our life. Personally I generally set big goals, and then spend the bulk of my time thinking in the small goal section inching myself (via how I’m spending my time) closer and closer to the big goals accomplishment.
Examples: -Writing 500 words a day
-Building out one lesson that you know needs to get better in your curriculum
-Hitting the gym first thing in the morning before you have time to think of a creative excuse
-Doing market research during your free time to get you closer to landing that one new client
Process in action:
I’m looking to add content to my website. I work through the process going from BIG to SMALL. Check my Progress via the MEDIUM goal, all to make sure I’m on the right track to hitting my BIG.
Big Goal– Blog Every Day in August Small Goal – Write 1000 words every day! (writing more than 1000 on the days I’m feeling pumped) Medium Goal – Track the number of posts I’ve completed each week.
If all goes well I should be on my way to success. (See me in a week tho, LoL)
2) Clock: Time accountability (30 – 60 minutes)
We have to devote time to our goals. We do. We can’t expect anyone else to invest more time, energy, thoughts, sweat equity into anything we want more than ourselves. The best way I’ve learned to do that is with a timer. Generally I’ll give myself a 40 minute work period. During this 40 minutes I try to focus all of my energy on the task at hand. Not taking any phone calls, Not socializing. Just me myself working on whatever the small goal(s) of the moment are. By the time I find myself distracted, I have normally drifted off into the 45/50 minute range. Here, I give myself a 10 to 15 minute break to browse the internet or just not be focused. Then I start over again. Normally I give myself at least 3 good rounds of this when I’m working on a major project.
APPS: Phone Clock & Timesheet
Extension – I’ve read some experts that say doing this first thing in the morning gives you an AM productivity and confidence booster shot.
3) List: Progress accountability (3 things)
Know what you need to do. Lists are a great way to track yourself through some of the smaller tasks that will help you build to something bigger. I don’t use any fancy apps for this. I use whatever page currently has the most information I need on it. Write my list at the very top. I normally include 3 to 4 must complete items on my list. Anymore and we just play around doing all the easy stuff. Any less, and its not much of a list. As you complete, cross things off. It’s a great visual and physical habit to get into, and its easy to see what you’ve done across the different lists you’ll end up collecting. Stick to the list, if falling into a YouTube coma isn’t on your list…. Then you’ll know exactly where you went wrong when you wake up 5 video’s later.
NO APPS: mark up the paper you’re currently using, or small post it notes. Make your list visible at all times!
Extension – Learn how you can maximize your time. Build your own schedule around this concept.
4) Material/ Space: Material Accountability
Think about the materials, physical and space, that you as an individual need to succeed. I’ve provided a basic list below. Many of us are conditioned to sit in a desk/cubicle, in front of a computer/notepad when we work. As an educator, I see that that is not always the most conducive environment to pump out creative work, specifically when it may be only you holding yourself accountable. Check the following list to see what you may need to bring or have access to to really get in YOUR ZONE!
Materials: Post its, pens, pencils, markers, colored paper, white paper, laptops, desktops, white boards, chalkboards, internet, flash storage
Space: power outlets, chairs, personal work space, large work space
Hacks: Social Environments – Starbucks, Panera Break
Quiet/Spacious environments – Libraries, Your living room floor with tv turned off
5) Communication/Social Media: Communication Accountability
I’m the type that needs to tune everything out when I’m in what I call Workshop Mode, y’all might call it In the Zone. I believe in the power of energy and momentum throughout life. I feel like I’m my most creative and efficient when I am completely in tune, uninterrupted by people. When we allows ourselves to get sidetracked/distracted this takes us away from our most productive selves. It’s advantageous to experiment with different settings and boundaries until you find what’s optimal for you. Shy away from posting about what you’re doing on social media or to fam/friends while you’re doing it. (For instance. I’m not posting on my IG that I’m making a dope post right now.) I’ve read a few articles that say that productivity-killers like this give the user a false sense of accomplishment, causing them to work less hard to accomplish their goals.
(This is almost 3x as much as my 500 words for the day. My bad)
All things are accomplished through our explicit application of our time.
Time is a limited resource, but it’s one that we have the most control over.
Direct your time toward the accounts you want to fill, grow, and flourish within your life.
What did you think of these tips? Do you have any suggestions that we can add to the list?
When assessing my life I often try to figure out what I’m doing with my time. For some reason I’ve always wondered what Oprah Winfrey was doing with her time to get to where she was in life. We see her on her show for an hour a day, but what is she doing outside of the tv show with her time that is making her so successful?
I used to dream about having a talk show where I asked interesting people the real questions we all wanted to know the answers to. I would always envision myself interviewing people like Oprah, Tyra Banks, Russell Simmons, etc… These were very real conversations I would have with them in my mind. One of the questions would always sound something like this…
“So Tyra… we see you on TV hosting America’s Next Top Model, you have your books, your endorsements, basically doing your mogul thing. But… what does your actual schedule look like behind all of that?”
Lady O, Tyra, and Uncle Russ would always grab their chests and laugh at me for being a bit caught off guard. But they always followed up with a detailed schedule that they ran day-to-day to get whatever business done they needed to get done. I would always be shocked at how they had managed to find extra time in the day in ways that I had not thought about before!
My talk show is nowhere in the near future, so the celebrities are on hold for a minute. But, I will say that I’ve always assumed scholars and other entrepreneurs adopted similar schedules as the celebrities in my head. It must take a lot repetition or where-with-all to keep pumping out articles, compiling research, managing customers and investors needs simultaneously. So I reached out to Dr. Boyce Watkins, former Finance professor for Syracuse University turned Social Entreprenuer, to ask him what his schedule looked like. Again, quick response and I came away with more than I could have hoped for.
My schedule looks nothing like this. But I’m excited to see how I can try to plan things differently to sneak more minutes out of each day. I’ve been reading a lot of articles lately that say waking up a couple hours before you need to start getting ready for work is the way to go. I can also say that last year my preps (periods off when teaching) were used to rest and just mentally recover. NOW, I make sure I get as much work done as I can. Usually its planning for my 7th period Post Graduate Prep elective course, or making small changes/prep work for my English classes. Either way I get as much done while I’m in the school building as possible before I leave. Once I walk into my house, my body and mind are prone to shut down, and recently I’ve stopped trying to fight them.
What does your schedule look like? Would you say you use your time well enough to get to the level of success you expect for yourself?
Addition:One thing I really loved about Dr. Boyce’s message is that it figuratively gave me permission to say fuck it in my head to my friends and peers who question and perhaps even judge why I use my time the way I use my time. I’m not much of a partier – I never-ever have been. However, whether its my frat, my coworkers, my fam, my fellow grad students, whoever – sometimes I feel a bit accosted when asked why I don’t want to hang out or why I’m not doing what normal people do on weekends, etc… It was really difficult trying to validate to myself that spending time researching, writing, thinking, working was worth it when so many people I respected gave me the mental side-eye for being different. It’s still never easy to tell my frat – “No homie, I can’t go out tonight.” Now, I realize that I can use my time however I want without feeling bad for going against the grain.
Thanks again Dr. Boyce – you let me see that since I’m trying to accomplish something different than my peers my schedule will inevitably look different than their’s as well – and that’s ok.