Category Archives: Technology

My Work-from-Home Rules

My newly renovated "work cave"

My newly renovated “work cave”

My work environment has recently changed in a HUGE way.  After 12 years as a classroom teacher, I am now working from home and traveling all over the state working with teachers.  It’s that first location–my home–that has really inspired me to create a set of personal expectations.  I’ve found, in just a few weeks, that sticking to these rules makes my time much more productive.

As a disclaimer, these rules are my own and they work for me.  Others may find these too restrictive or no structured enough.  If that’s you, tell me in the comments.

  1. Stick to a schedule.  I decided early on to get up each morning at the same time and end my work at the same time each day.  I find that this keeps at bay the temptation to sleep in and waste a perfect morning.
  2. Exercise.  I have never been a guy who gets regular exercise.  Now, however, I can’t use any of the reasons that I once did because I make my own schedule.  So, I make a point of getting out of bed at the same time I used to when I was going to school.  I spend the first hour with some physical activity (walking, jogging, a seven-minute workout, etc.) and then I take a shower and start my day.
  3. Eat lunch.  During my most recent year of teaching, I often skipped lunch because I just didn’t have time.  Now, my biggest problem is that I snack a lot.  To combat this, I started a habit of taking a break at lunchtime, going downstairs to the kitchen, and making myself some lunch.  It gives me a nice Facebook/Twitter/feed-reading break, too.
  4. Work the Pomodoro.  I recently heard about the Pomodoro Technique from a friend, and I’ve started using it to keep me productive.  In essence, I work on a task for 20 minutes, and then I take a mandated 5 minute break.  I decide how many “pomodoros” each task will take and I try to complete it in less.  It actually works.
  5. Kiss the wife.  Okay, not everyone gets this perk.  My wife runs a daycare out of our home during the day, so I generally avoid leaving my “work cave” when I have a lot to do.  But when I complete a big task, or finish a phone call/video conference, I usually take a walk downstairs and steal a smooch from the Mrs.  It keeps me grounded.  And, I don’t think that she minds, either.

I’m sure that list will grow as I learn more of the pitfalls of working from home, but my level of productivity and sanity are stabilizing in a good place, thanks to the structure that these rules bring to my workplace.

What’s your system?


Curators and their Audience

curationThis is a just a rough “brain dump” of some ideas that have been bouncing around in my head.  I’d love some feedback from the greater minds in my Personal Learning Network.

I am constantly reminding my students, especially when they ask me a fact-based question, that we are living in a world in which the accumulation of facts is neither possible not necessary.  The volume of knowledge is expanding at ridiculous rates, and our sense of education needs to adapt to this reality.

We are–more than ever before–in the business of teaching students to manage information.  We are training them to evaluate, select, index, and otherwise organize information.  Ignoring the “stranded on a desert island” scenario that many older folks like to throw around, today’s citizens will never be far from the Internet and its overflowing fountain of facts.  Therefore, we are better served to teach them the skills they need to make sense of facts, not to memorize them. Continue reading