Less is More #IMMOOC #LCInnovation
Time. Time is something that most of us wish we had more of. The reality is that we all have the exact same amount of time in one day. No matter how you try and spin in, there are always 24 hours in a day (and of course as I write this I realize that tomorrow Daylight Saving Time begins, so we actually loose an hour, but you know what I mean). This is something that I’m trying to be more mindful of because some people seem to get an incredible amount of things done in a day while some days I feel like I’m spinning my tires. Why do I spin my tires? How do they get some much accomplished?
In the #IMMOOC Twitter Chat this week, one of the questions was “Innovation is not only about adding, but subtracting. What could you stop doing to move forward?”
This question came at the perfect time for me as this is something that I’ve been struggling with, especially this school year. I’ve confided in several people over the course of the last few months about the challenges that this year has brought on and how there simply isn’t enough time in a day to do all that I want to do. Although I’ve had many powerful conversation around this with trusted friends, this advice in particular really stuck with me: “less is more” and “get it done”.
less is MORE
What do you spend your time doing? Is the investment in that time worth the reward? While discussing this with my close friend Tamara Letter one day, she told me that one of her colleagues, Heather Causey, always asks “is the effort worth the impact?” I love how Tamara expanded on this and said “is the amount of time you are pouring yourself into going to have an impact so great it will be worth the sacrifice of time, energy, and passion?”. If you don’t feel like the investment is worth the impact, then eliminate it! I’m trying to look at everything with this lens now, but I realize that it’s easier said that done and it’s not always that simple. Sometimes the rewards or the impact that you’re having isn’t obvious, and sometimes you have no choice but to do things that you don’t see value in, but I still think it’s worth considering.
Here are a couple of examples: last week, I intentionally decided that after the #IMMOOC live episode on Monday night, I wouldn’t hop on over to the #tlap twitter chat. My reasoning? The #IMMOOC episode had already provided a lot of food for thought which I had consumed and was processing. In order to do that justice, I didn’t want to flood my mind with more things to ponder. I didn’t want to simply consume information without processing, reflecting, and implementing. This didn’t happen because I don’t value what the #tlap chat brings every week (trust me, I love this community and all that it has to offer), it happened because I knew that the time that I would have invested in that chat, on that specific night, would not have paid off for me. My time was better spent elsewhere: less is MORE. *Note that I said for me, this is a personal journey.
How about committees at school or attending after school events. I love to participate in everything and hate missing out. I love to be involved and to help others in every sense of the word. I’d probably even say that helping others is one of my biggest strengths; I have a big heart and always want to do what I can for others. I’ve been learning though, that sometimes, it’s okay to say no. Or, it’s okay to put limits on what I am capable of doing and taking on. I know that if I want to do what I am doing well, than I can’t do everything: less is MORE.
GET IT DONE
I don’t know about you, but I’m a planner. I’m organized. I like to know where I am, where I’m going, and how I’m going to get there. Those are great qualities to have, for sure… the only problem is that sometimes I spend all of my time doing just that: planning and organizing. I am completely and utterly organized, but then I run out of time (or steam) and I don’t have much to show for it. I overthink, over analyze, and sometimes I trick myself into believing that this means that I’m accomplishing something, but I’m really not, I’m really just wasting time. I think this can also be applied to things that we endlessly talk about during staff meetings, for example. Have you ever been in the middle of a discussion and thought to yourself “How are we still talking about this? Let’s make a decision and MOVE ON!” Yep, I’ve been there, more times than I can count. We need to be mindful of what is truly important, give it the time that it deserves (remember, time, effort, and impact) and then DO something.
This quote from Learner-Centered Innovation by Katie Martin stood out to me:
“If we don’t pay attention to the systems we design and how they impact learning, they can become hurdles to jump over instead of supporting the teaching and learning that they were intended to create.”
I think that I’d add that it’s not necessarily just systems that we design but our own way or thinking and doing that can create these barriers. Is your time and effort worth the investment and reward? Is it having the impact that you hoped it would? Or are you creating hurdles for yourself and for those you serve?
Alice VigorsMarch 10, 2018 at 9:30 pm
A timely reminder for many educators I think. I know I am guilty of doing too much sometimes and am definitely going to keep the question “is the effort worth the impact?” In the back of my mind moving forward. Thanks for sharing your journey.
Annick RauchMarch 10, 2018 at 9:35 pm
Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts, Alice! It certainly is a struggle for most of us, it’s just in our nature to want to do it all!
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