Focus. FOCUS.

After dumping all my reads last year and starting again, my Google Reader is now up to 249 blogs/newspapers/feeds. It’s almost too much to keep me from working.

I am fairly well focused, but I am learning how easily distracted I am. I thought of it this morning during the ETT podcast, when Vinnie Vrotney was talking about the value of the iPad–only being able to use one app at a time. I thought of it an hour ago when I was skimming my feeds again, just to “be sure” I hadn’t missed anything important. And I paused once more when I started to go to Twitter instead of the PLP Newsletter I had intended to work on!

Geesh. And they worry about students multi-tasking.

One More Week of Mess?

LEGO Mini Construction SiteI don’t like to complain.

But ever since I started working from home, my house has been turned upside down. We decided to tear off a porch, remove a wall, and extend the living room. That means, of course, all the furniture is piled in the dining room, where I’m trying to work.

The eight week project has turned into 12, and it’s still going.

Oh, I’ll love it when it’s finished. But in the meantime, my neck hurts from sitting at the wrong angle, the paint fumes are making me hallucinate, and the dust causes me to sneeze constantly.

If I start writing weird posts in the next few days, you’ll know what’s going on. Just thought I’d give you a heads up.

image credit: By bucklava

Shifting That Mindset

Most of  you know, I’m working from home these days (love it). Today I needed to visit my former school to help a colleague with some HP netbooks I had left for them to use. My friend and I chatted while I was on the phone with tech support (two hours later, we finally had an image restore file), and I was reminded how powerful one’s mindset is.

This friend epitomizes one who is willing and eager to learn, not afraid to try new things. She came into her position knowing absolutely nothing about technology or computers, yet this week she is THE support person as the network administrator is out of town. She’s jumping in, asking questions, trying techniques on her own–and learning. With a big smile on her face, she explained how she was able to set up some new laptops and get them on the network.

“Everything keeps changing,” she said about our new software. “But that’s ok because I can usually figure it out.”

Carol Dweck’s book Mindset changed my own thinking about intelligence and talent. And from her website, this quote truly resonates:

Benjamin Barber, an eminent sociologist, once said, “I don’t divide the world into the weak and the strong, or the successes and the failures… I divide the world into the learners and nonlearners.”

My friend is a learner with what Dweck calls a “growth mindset,” and it was so cool to see such confidence and enthusiasm. According to Dweck,

People with a growth mindset are also constantly monitoring what’s going on, but their internal monologue is not about judging themselves and others in this way. Certainly they’re sensitive to positive and negative information, but they’re attuned to its implications for learning and constructive action: What can I learn from this? How can I improve?

If only we could all frame our learning in this way.

Evernote-Should I keep it?

I’ve been using Evernote for a while now, but it seems to be the last place I think of to work/save/share. Though Google Docs is still where I write, I want to either make Evernote work for everything else or let it go.

Giving it one more shot, I’ll be following Ron as he shares his tips:

And I’ll let you know the results in a few weeks.

All in a Day

Or not.

My days blend together now that I work from home.

Sitting down to check my email can mean being captured by a tweet that sends me off to check on whether I should write a blog post or send an RT.. And suddenly I am deep in conversation about PLP or even more complicated–communication.

But I love using social media to learn. Who would have thought I’d be doing this now? At this point in my life?
And that’s the point, isn’t it? We don’t know where our lives will lead us. Rarely will our children have set paths before them, jobs they keep for 30 or 40 years.

For me, now, it’s the balance. Today David and I took a walk downtown to look for furniture for our new room. Egads, the mess I am living in right now is driving me crazy. I have piles surrounding me as I wait for the painters to finish their work. But today it was more about clearing my head than my mess. And the weather was gorgeous.

And as much as I love connecting and chatting online, our visit to The Griffin today was timely. No, we didn’t find the furniture we need, but I did find a great book to help me focus on my writing. And the iced soy chai wasn’t bad either.

So, another day where work and life blend into a happy dance.