Over the last two decades, the organized school leader has been transitioning from a paper planner as the “signature tool” to a suite of productivity applications taking on that same role. We are all at some stage of that transition, and like the pioneers of any age, as we find what works, we share it with others. Of course, to say “school leader” is to narrow the scope. Our world’s advanced nations, paper-based since the invention of the printing press, have transitioned to a digital way of life, and it has happen in one generation.
During the academy, we talked about the areas where we seem to be doing well: our contacts and our calendars. When we look up an address, we pulls out our phones or consult our computers, with the two hopefully syncing to one another. The paper address book and the Rolodex have become scarce. Likewise, when we consult our calendars, the majority of us are looking at something digital.
In two other areas, we seem to be looking for answers: our tasks and our notes. Many who keep their calendars digitally keep their to-dos on a legal pad or array of Post-Its. Those who say they keep their tasks digitally resort to simply adding the tasks to their calendars, with the multitude of non-day-specific tasks blurring the hard-and-fast appointments. Others use a digital notepad to house their tasks and miss out on the many advantages of a true digital task application. In the area of notes, we tend to create individual documents for each piece of information.
When the complexity of our system matches the complexity of the demands, the result is simplicity.
Mastering Toodledo and Evernote may well be the biggest game-changers from the academy. Yes, the tickler file tends to be the instant favorite. The concept is simple and something you can have immediately. Getting control of the vast number of tasks, with all of their related data is a more complex job. Getting control of all of your reference information is a more complex job. Let’s face it…our jobs are more complex now than a generation ago. When the complexity of our system matches the complexity of the demands, the result is simplicity. Note: In October 2018, I left Toodledo in favor of Remember The Milk due to changes made by a new owner.
“I would not give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity, but I would give my life for the simplicity on the other side of complexity.” -Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
Think about that last statement… Look under the hood of your automobile. You see a complex piece of machinery. However, all you have to do is turn the key, and the engine hums…the ultimate simplicity.
Now for the nuts-and-bolts
I have written about both Toodledo (as a place for your tasks) and Evernote (as a place for your notes) in many posts. In addition to the ebook you downloaded following the academy, here are two resources from this blog:
The Evernote posts: This link brings up all of the posts I have written on Evernote.
Get Organized With Toodledo: This post is the first of a series of six which walks you through getting started with a simple tool that will handle everything you throw at it.
Thanks for the comments
Here were some of the comments from the academy:
- This academy was especially practical. The devices, programs, and various strategies discussed provided guidance for administrators who carry out many different responsibilities on a daily basis.
- This was my first true Online Academy and I can honestly say it was great. I definitely took away some items that I can put to use immediately and I look forward to participating in future Academies as well.
- This was a very practical and timely academy topic…the presenter modeled the techniques he was presenting very effectively and used real-life examples to which we could relate easily.
- I think this may be some of the most useful information I have ever received in an online academy!
- It was a solid presentation!
- No suggestions. It was great!
In case you missed it
Time Management for the 21st Century School Leader will be offered again on May 4. Stay tuned for information on where to sign up. Thanks to the Illinois Principals Association for sponsoring this academy and for partnering with NAESP and NASSP to make the opportunity widely available.