Monday, 13 October 2008

Getting Things Done: How to Achieve Stress-free Productivity

As I read this inspirational book I want to blog my thoughts and what I've learned.

Chapter One seems to set up some of the ideas for the rest of the book, regarding setting up new practices for your workload.

Basic Requirements for Managing Commitments:
  1. If it's on your mind, your mind isn't clear. Anything you consider unfurnished in anyway must be captured in a trusted system outside your mind, or what the author calls a collection bucket, that you know you'll come back to regularly and sort through.

  2. You must clarify exactly what your commitment is an decide what you have to do, if anything, to make progress toward fulfilling it.

  3. Once you've decided on all the actions you need to take, you must keep reminders of them organised in a system you review regularly.

Why are things on your mind? Most often, the reason something is on your mind is that you want it to be different than it currently is, and yet:

  • you haven't clarified exactly what the intended outcome is;

  • you haven't decided what the very next physical action step is; and/ or

  • you haven't put reminders of the outcome and the action required in a system you can trust.

Most to do lists are merely listings of stuff, not inventories of the resultant real work that needs to be done.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Preventing stress

Back in February it was revealled which LAs had the highest stress-related absences in the teaching workforce. After feel a bit stressed myself in the last few weeks (although it could be more to do with a bug I've been trying to shake off for a while) I enjoyed a report in the TES Magazine which gives some good advice which I really need to try to follow:
  • Have a cut-off time and stick to it. Whatever you have done at say, 6pm, is enough. Go home.
  • Prioritise. Achknowledge that you can't do it all. Start with what is absolutely necessary and drop the optional.
  • Never work when you are exhausted. The quality of work will be low and make you more stressed.
  • Always stop for a drink at breaktimes. It is not a waste of time, because you can work more effectively after the break.
  • Work as a team. Always share out the planning and preparation with colleagues. never plan a set of lessons without looking at the previous years' first, to avoid duplication.
  • During the school holidays, stay off campus and and something completely different. A refreshing change makes you work more efficiently.
  • Exercies reduces stress. Take time to raise your heartbeat every day.

Without a shadow of a doubt I've been guilty of not doing every single one of these. Need to try to put myself first for a change. I've recently purchased a copy of "Getting Things Done: How to Achieve Stress-free Productivity" by David Allen for £6.99 on after a recommendation by Mark Warner. I hope this also helps me to learn to prioritise.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

I'm nomophonic

The Daily Mail reports that 2008 has given the English language more than 100 new words and phrases which capture modern life, according to experts. And while previous years have given us bling, bovvered, chav and carbon footprint, many of this year's most popular words and phrases reflect the economic crisis.

Credit crunch has dominated the headlines in recent weeks, but other increasingly familiar financial terms are included in a round-up of the words of the year. They include stagflation, the economic term for stagnant growth and rising inflation, and funt - the financially untouchable.
But it's not all economic doom and gloom. The list compiled by dictionary expert Susie Dent, also includes nomophobia, the fear of being out of mobile phone contact, and nonebrity, a person who enjoys status without anyone really understanding why.

Current events are also reflected in the list, including arguido - the Portuguese word for suspect - after the Portuguese police named Kate and Gerry McCann as official suspects in their daughter Madeleine's disappearance, only to clear them ten months later.

Cripes has made it in after Boris Johnson almost single-handedly resurrected the expression during his campaign to become London Mayor. Writing in Words of the Year, Miss Dent said: 'It is now rather sweetly old-fashioned and confers an air of naivety on the speaker.' Miss Dent, the resident language expert on Channel 4's Countdown quiz show, said the words and phrases were chosen because they captured the spirit of 2008. She said: 'Some are new words which have come into use and others are established terms which have been resurrected.'

From the U.S., momnesia is the term for 'a pattern of mental confusion and forgetfulness that characterises a mother's first year after giving birth', according to Miss Dent's Words of the Year book, published today.

Pessimistic individuals are doomers, while moofers are mobile out-of-office workers and scuppies are socially conscious urban professionals.

A YouTube divorce is an acrimonious marriage break-up in which a spouse airs their former partner's dirty laundry on the video-sharing website.

Miss Dent said the new words gave the English language more power. She added: 'You may hate momnesia and nomophobia but few of us could deny that when we first heard them, we weren't just that little bit curious.'

Have you heard any new words or phrases making their way into the classrooms?