Time to Blog 2

My last post was titled time to blog. We all know we inhabit a world where many of us experience time poverty. We have  long list of deliverables, and just not enough time in the day. This is a curious state of affairs. Technology was supposed to liberate us wasn’t it?. There are I’m sure many reasons why some of us don’t feel so free. Too much information? Lack of clear goals? Disorganisation, prioritisation issues, complexity of work, lack of resources etc. General reasons and explanations aside, I thought I would offer myself and you, potential reasons for and solutions to my lack of time issues, and outline how I intend to move forward.

Last week, I attended the BILD session titled The Future of E-assessment. (More on that in another blog)  A delegate mentioned the fact that ego-centric person is centred on the self.  Wikipedia defines it as:In psychology, egocentrism is

  • the incomplete differentiation of the self and the world, including other people and
  • the tendency to perceive, understand and interpret the world in terms of the self.

I mention this, because I think I definately fall into this bracket. Now ego-centricism is not neccessarily percieved as a good thing, but in my mind, whatever it takes for me to understand is ok 🙂 Besides…I have always viewed the world this way. I can well remember in my school days, being one of those children who always had their hand up, always had a contribution to make, and often found a way to relate what I was learning and assimilate it into my own understanding, my own life and my own experience. If I still have your attention, you may wonder where I’m going with all this? Well, for one….they say blogging (or sharing or teaching or reflecting) is  good way to embed learning and understanding, so even if no-one reads my blog….the act of putting my thoughts and finding down in some kind of format, should most definately assist my personal and professional development. So far….many of my blogs have been just that….ego-centric in the fact that they relate to my own thoughts or feelings on L&D  related topics, and are not necessarily based on copius amounts of research. Just like this one….they have been  streams of consciousness.  However, as an individual who has been in the profession for over 10 years in a design and delivery capacity,  who plugs into many networking events, conferences, webinars, and reads more books than anyone I know…..I think I have alot of tacit insight. Not only that…..I have had many life experiences which have prepared me well. As a Mother, the role of Teacher, Guide, Mentor, Coach and Support is part and parcel of the role. I have been a Mother for more of my life now than having not been one. The learning opportunites there are legion. Not only that…..I enjoy what I do. I’m engaged by it, and I feel I am always learning something.

So 1) Parental Responsibilities reduce the time I am able to give to engaging with Social Media. The pull of family committments often take precedence over time online. E.g. Cleaning the house, cooking dinner, washing clothes etc……(did I mention watching TV?) 🙂

Back to these life experiences.  I became a Mother at a fairly young age.  Lucky for me….I was able to achieve well over the mandatory 5 GCSE’s in order to be able to study my A-Levels before I had my baby. I started studying for my A-Levels when my daughter was just 9 months old. Over the next year I became homeless and spent the 2nd year of my A-levels living in bed and breakfast accomodation. These issues had a profound affect on my ability to study. Having a child also affected my choices in other ways. Before having a baby, I was due to take Drama and Theatre studies as one of my A-Level subjects as I had always has designs to work in the performing arts. I also had a great interest in the Classics and wanted to study Classical Civilisation. Instead, I  selected subjects I thought would be more practical, and involve less extra curricular activities where I would need to find childcare. My classmates were in another world to me…clubbing at the weekends, getting drunk, going on holiday with Mum and Dad, taking Gap years etc. No time for frivolity when you have a young child to care for. When I applied for and got into University, things were a little different. I had been out of education and working for a few years by that time, and even though still only a youngster myself, my life experiences up to that point meant I felt I had more in common with more mature students. So what does any of this have to do with having time to blog? Well for me its more about the routes to competence and how your background or circumstances can impact your choices, perceptions and indeed how you are perceived….and often how you go about doing things. My background and route into Learning and Development seems to be fairly uncommon amongst my professional networks whether internal or external. This had an impact on my confidence. It seemed to me as though I were always trying to prove myself to others. Now I view my alternative perspectives as a blessing in disguise, especially when I see people stuck in a ‘because we’ve always done it that way’ mentality. Often though, we just want to fit in and gain the respect of our peers.  As such my no one has told me my blogs are inadequate in anyway. In fact, in all the blogs I have written so far, I have had zero feedback (no one has commented)…so it’s hard to know what people actually think of what I write. I know people are reading them (or clicking onto  and viewing them :-)) No….the point is….I am comparing myself to others. By reading their blogs, their insights, their cleverly worded pieces……and I simply didn’t feel like puttng myself out there, when I knew I couldn’t hope to match their contributions…..so why bother? I have been reading Clive Sheperd’s Blog: http://clive-shepherd.blogspot.com/ intermittantly for a couple of years now. His was the main blog I followed for a long time, because although I didn’t know the man personally, I had trained at the Institute of IT Training, where he was Chairman. I had the e-learning cookbook which I found valuable at the time, and dipped in and out of his various activities online…so it was my first real foray into the world of the L & D blog……I felt he knew his stuff. I have Clive’s blog to thank for being the source of much of my knowledge back then.

2) Lack of confidence. Not wanting to ‘put yourself out there’ for fear of appearing stupid or uninformed. We all know that once you hit send…..it’s too late.

3) Information Overload. This is a big one for me. As an information junkie, it is far too easy for me to become distracted.To be intrigued by the random, to be seduced by time devouring unknowns. It is not unusual for me to have 10 – 15 web pages open at any given time!!! Now we all know that we can only do one thing at a time….so this seems like folly…but I often have to keep pages open so that I don’t forget to read them. I don’t read them at the time, because they are links from related topics etc. We all know that Social Media can be disruptive if not managed. It is easy to fall into this trap.  

4) More haste less speed. I have a tendancy to think quickly and act quickly. To multi-task.  It’s my modus operandi…..and it needs to change!

5) Procrastination. ”Help me now to follow through. Not just say but also do. Why must I procrastinate, I’m the master of my fate, with a little help from you.”  Excerpt from Time Won’t Wait – Alex Watson ‘ (You can listen to the song by clicking on the link at the bottom of this post)

Its all too easy to sign up a social networking profile, blog or join an online forum. However, making the most of these tools, maximising their reach and ability to drive and develop performance, creating opportunities through or earning revenue by their use is an entirely separate matter.

So how do I intend to move forwards.

1) Adopt a Good Blog Protocol: Make a list of titles I would like to blog about. Create a clear SMART objectives for each blog to help orient me and prevent my going off track. 

2) Be consistent: Make a commitment to how often I engage with Social Media and be disciplined and focused about engaging with my various social media channels.

3) Be mindful: Become an active listener. As ideas and insights present themselves, be sure to capture the ideas as soon as possible and endeavour to blog, tweet or create an online discussion based around them.

4) Be reflective: Build time into my schedule for consuming relevant content (whether via books, online videos, and reflecting on these)

5) Don’t worry, be happy: Information overload can often lead to anxiety. Don’t worry that I don’t know enough. Don’t stress about staying ahead of the curve. Focus on what I can do, and do it to the best of my ability.

6) Know when to switch off: Become a master of your precious time and not a slave to it.

In conclusion. Whether surfing, coasting, careering, speeding, walking or running along information superhighway. Rememeber. This is your journey. Only you truly understand where you are headed and why.

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Singer/Songwriter Learning & Development Consultant Good Egg

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