Here are my words from 15 years ago:
For as long as I can remember, I have been interested in systems that people had that helped them get their “stuff” done–or what kept them from getting their stuff done. I have been in education for over 20 years, and am currently a school principal. During my career, I have managed to put together a system and some strategies that I believe not only work for me, but can work for anyone who is interested in being more organized, experiencing less stress, and managing the limited amount of time available to us. Please visit often and enjoy.
The paragraph you just read is the entire text of my very first blog post. The date…August 30, 2004. That’s right, 15 years ago. It was before Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, podcasts, or YouTube. Blogging was fairly new and it was the only game in town.
And it was a significant new game. I like to say that before blogging, content was composed by “really smart people who lived far, far away.” After blogging, content was being composed by average people like you and me. Anyone with a message to share could share it with anyone willing to listen.
Now, there’s no shortage of social networks. But what’s to stop any of them from going belly-up tomorrow? Where’s your content then? Your blog is the one piece of the Internet you own. When I moved from Blogger to a self-hosted WordPress site, I took every single post with me.
My journey started as a way for people who attended one of my workshops to stay in touch. Both then and now, it provides a place to address a complete thought without limits on the number of characters. It’s a place to call “home” without the restrictions and whims of any social media platform.
This post is number 1,562. We’ve covered a lot of ground. You’ll find posts about tools that no longer exist and others that are new. You’ll read about principles that have stood the test of time.
With that many posts, it’s hard to pick favorites. But, I’m going to give it a try:
- 2004 Choosing a Signature Tool
Then and now, having one place for everywhere you need to be, everything you need to do, every person in your life, every piece of reference information you want to have from everywhere, and the hub of your communication is essential to leading an organized life. Whether the tool was a Day-Timer, a Palm, a BlackBerry, or now an Android, the concept has been the same.
- 2005 Email Makes Us Stupid
Email lowers our IQ more than smoking marijuana. That’s what a British study found. Fourteen years later, we’re still trying to figure out how to stay on top of email.
- 2006 An Overheard Conversation
Keeping your mouth shut is often a good move, especially when it relates to a conversation that doesn’t include you. I ended the post by saying, “I could not help having felt that by remaining quiet, I had become part of the problem.” See if you agree.
- 2007 The Hoax That Almost Hooked Me
By this time, the Internet was an important part of our lives. Facebook was still in its infancy. Email chains were commonplace. Sharing jokes and warnings through email was an everyday occurrence. Teaching people not to believe everything they read in an email was a never-ending challenge. I showed teachers how to use Google as a way to check the authenticity of a claim before forwarding it. In this post, I share an email that I almost forwarded. I’m glad I didn’t.
- 2008 NAESP Review
The first edition of Get Organized: Time Management for Leaders had been published and was doing well. I presented at the National Association of Elementary School Principals Conference for the first time and presented to a packed room. In the years since I have presented almost annually. In many ways, the time-management challenges of 2008 are alive and well in 2019.
- 2009 Two Roads
In this post, I announced my retirement from public education. To this point, my posts consisted of text only. I posted content generally every other day. The conventional wisdom at that time was posting daily should be the goal. That idea has changed. Over the years, the content would become less frequent but would include images and become more focused.
- 2010 Of Givers and Takers
If you’re wondering “why should I start a blog,” this would be a good post to read. The post ends with this thought, “We must write as if what we say does matter, because that’s the only way that it will matter to us or anyone else. At the very worst, our blogs provide for us an outlet for our own creative juices. At the very best, they just might be changing lives, even in subtle ways, for people we may never meet. And in that delicate balance between being givers and takers, we may see ourselves begin to hold up our end.”
- 2010 Goodbye, Dr. Jan
Jan Borelli was a friend of mine long before we ever met, and blogging was at its heart. We were both Editorial Advisors for the National Association of Elementary School Principals, both active bloggers, and both keenly interested in pushing the envelope when it came to using technology. I was stunned to read on Facebook that she had died in her sleep totally unexpected. If you don’t click through to any other post, click through to this one. Read the section entitled “The Frigid Plains, Tamales, and Family.” It’s Jan’s account, on her blog, of an ice storm and how her community dealt with it. Jan’s blog no longer exists online, and her beautifully-crafted prose would have been lost forever. I am glad I had included it here in my post.
- 2011 Thinking About Getting a Doctorate?
I received my doctorate in 1997. While others may have horror stories about their experiences in this arena, I found it to be the smoothest of all my collegiate degrees. In this post, I share the secrets that are as relevant now as they were then.
- 2012 Note Taking: “Day in the Life” Example
How to trap information easily and find it later has been a long-time interest. This post is the third in a series on the topic. Readers will see how I approach taking notes during a meeting and what happens to those raw notes afterward.
- 2013 When “Good Gives Way to Better”
One of the themes consistent through my teaching is that of change in the world of technology. This post may well be the first time I articulated the theme of welcoming the sunset of a digital tool.”Good things are replaced by better things” is a mantra in which I believe and one that provides hope.
- 2014 What My Dogs Have Taught Me About the Real World
On our first wedding anniversary, our gift to each other was a puppy. From that day forward, dogs would play an important part in our lives. The arrival of a new dog, or the departure of a treasured friend, would be chronicled on this blog. This post examines the life lessons I’ve learned along the way. You’ll even see a video of our newly-adopted Sally.
- 2015 More Thoughtful or Just Better Organized?
Being “organized” and being a “people person” are often thought of as being polar opposites. In this post, you meet someone whose thoughtfulness was masked by forgetfulness. Being better organized allowed the thoughtfulness to shine through.
- 2016 Cabrio: Lessons on Life, Love, Bravery, & Letting Go and Jackson: When You Only Need One
Two more dog stories highlight second chances. For the last three years, Jackson’s favorite place to lay was at my feet as I work. Earlier this month, he died at age 13. It still feels weird to look down and not see him there.
- 2016 The 6 Best Reasons You Should Stay With Evernote
I had been an Evernote user since July of 2012. That was the point at which I moved away from my Blackberry synced to Outlook in favor of an Android device and an all-cloud-based productivity suite. Initially, Evernote took the place of the Outlook “notes” module. Over time, my use of Evernote expanded. In 2016, I moved from the Basic (free) version of Evernote to the Premium version and became more of a power user. While some revolted at Evernote’s price increase and their decrease in the services offered in the free plan, I was firmly convinced Evernote was worth it. I still do.
- 2017 7 Productivity Secrets for Educators
This post points readers/listeners to the “Every Classroom Matters podcast” with Vicki Davis where I was the guest for this episode. We talked about the 7 things to look for in a digital task list. I have continued to talk and write about these 7 points. They are as accurate now as ever.
- 2018 How to Win the Email Battle: 52,000 to 2
Getting the email inbox empty every day has been a tactic I’ve practiced ever since email became part of my work culture. The method I teach has helped countless people go from thousands of emails to a clean inbox. This post examines how one person went from 52,000 to 2 in a single session.
- 2018 Great Notes When You Need Them. You Can Have It Today.
A favorite post from 2012 talked about note-taking. This post is the last in a series that explores note-taking in a variety of settings. In an information-rich era, our information is only as good as our ability to find it. And what we find is only as good as our skill in creating that information.
- 2019 Remember the Milk: What You Need to Know About the Learning Curve
The Kenny Rogers song, “The Gambler” tells us, “You’ve got to know when to hold ’em. Know when to fold ’em.” I had been a devoted user of Toodledo since July 2012. You’ll see many references to it on this blog. But when a new owner instituted changes that I felt reduced the value of the program, I left for another task manager and fell in love with Remember the Milk. I then did what I’ve done for years…left tracks for others to follow.
- 2019 Global Gurus #1 in Time Management
I’ve been writing and speaking about organization and time management for a long time now. Often, it’s hard to tell the impact you’re making. Being named #1 in the world by this organization is certainly a high point and humbling, to say the least.
1,562 posts later, we’re still going strong. We’ve gone from simple text to more mature formatting. We’ve added pictures and then better pictures. We’ve added an audio component and will now be looking at more video.
Thanks to everybody that has made this a gathering place for people who want to get organized and make it look easy. I hope we can do it all for 15 years more.
Have you read my book, Get Organized!: Time Management for School Leaders (2nd Edition). It’s practical. It’s concise. It’s written so it’s understandable. Order your copy from wherever books are sold.