How Do You Get So Much Done?

Prioritize. Easy as pie.

The Internet, and all it has come to include, is the most powerful interruption technology ever invented. It slices and dices our focus, fractures and distracts it, gives us less and less of more and more. @tonyschwartz

 Okay. So there’s a lot out there competing for our attention. How do we achieve the goals we’ve set for ourselves? How do we master Time, bring the Internet to heel, and take back (a portion) of our lives?

  1. Backwards Design: What’s your ultimate goal? What are you attempting to accomplish by this task or activity? Put it in black and white. Post it. Tattoo on forearm. Oh yeah: Graduate in May 2014 with Ph.D.
  2. Parkinson’s Law: Understand that a task will swell to fit the time allotted it. Limit the time you will commit to a task. You got 10 minutes, baby. Make it count.
  3. Chunk the big stuff: Make a check list. Create deadlines. Cross off tasks you accomplish. Blog post. Check.

My CEP 956 class requires me to tweet using the #MSUepet tag, retweet, favorite, and generally use social media for learning. In theory, it’s a lovely idea. In reality, it sucks up way too much of my time.

Why? It’s my fault, really. I find I can’t just go through the motions. I can’t just do the required minimum of two #MSUepet tweets a day. A fellow student in the class mentioned in a discussion forum that sometimes teachers (taking classes) just go through the motions, do the bare minimum, and little learning ensues.  Is this true? Certainly. Are there valid reasons? Probably.

So I’m torn. As a full-time teacher (only 3 more weeks of school and 4 more Acts of Romeo & Juliet to deeply discuss and enjoy!) and half-time doctoral student, I already get up at 4:30am every day in order to accomplish the tasks at hand. Do I really have time to tweet?

Yeah, not so much. But will I still sift through the rubble to find the gems? Absolutely. I love Seth Godin’s blog. I found it on Twitter.  That Ken Burns video about what makes a good story? 2 + 2 = 5 slips right into my digital storytelling curriculum, and I have @brainpicker to thank for it. And the article regarding the impact of teachers on social change? Yep, you know it – twitterfeed.

Among them is a teacher’s ability to change lives because of who they are as human beings — how well they listen, encourage, and inspire children to be active participants in civil society. These vital abilities cannot be measured quantitatively yet they have immense capacity to change the world.

So how do you get things done in a technologically driven life? Harken back to what’s truly deeply important and hold on with both hands. Remember that you really are in charge of what you focus on and how much time you spend. And constantly prioritize. Choose to be where you are, what you are doing, who you are doing it with. Because, you know what? That’s Life.