Productivity & Last Day to Sign up for Pass the Torch


I don't know about all of you, but I often find myself struggling to get my thoughts in order and be as productive as I possibly can each day.  I am not sure that waking up at 10am this morning was very helpful in my quest for better time-management and productivity..HA!

My kids are on break this week and I have the pressure of trying to make their little break fun while still being as productive as possible. Yesterday, we went for a two- hour hike, did some grocery shopping, and watched the last part of Breaking Dawn together. By the end of the day, I had  accomplished having a great day with the family, but not much was done as far as business productivity is concerned. I know that sometimes, we need to take a break and spend time with family and friends. It is very important to do this, but it is also important for me to stay on top of work as well. I am supporting myself full-time with graphic design and custom art projects. My income continues to increase, but it is not even near where I need to be. The pressure is always on..haha

I am a very organized and motivated individual; however, I find that sometimes it is difficult to stay focused...especially when the weather is gorgeous outside!! I carry an ipad wherever I go, I have a custom built computer, over $15,000 in graphic design technology and software, and I will often use my ipad to waste time playing Tribez - the mindless game of building and thinking about nothing...hahaha. Instead of reading at night, I will often play a game of Farm Frenzy to settle my brain. I find that I have to do something completely unrelated to work in order to settle my brain. If I don't, then I find that I will begin to come up with ideas and end up back in the office for an all-nighter, which to me, is working until the sun rises. I typically will not get to bed until around 2-3am in the morning. 

I keep "idea" books with me at all times and enough sticky notes to cover a Giraffe from head to toe. I keep a filing cabinet with orders and sales, a hanging file for current projects and projects to come, and I have just updated my glass wipe-off board. Even with so many things in place, I find that there are days when I seem to accomplish practically nothing. 

I will typically check my emails first thing in the morning (which can take hours), get my to-do list ready, and then get started around 1pm to 2pm. This might be why I end up not going to bed until 3am everyday. This morning, I woke up late and was about to check emails when I came across an article by 

Francesca Levy (editor of Linkedin) about productivity that I thought I would share with you. Click the title to read the article directly from Linkedin.

In a convention center packed with thousands of ambitious tech professionals and entrepreneurs trying to find time to choose from over 900 educational sessions, Scott Hanselman, Microsoft’s program manager of development, told hundreds of strivers they were doing it wrong.
“Somehow we've become convinced that we can learn all the stuff,” said Hanselman at a panel discussion Monday as part of the 2013 SXSW Interactive Festival in Austin, Tx. But the drive to improve productivity by consuming ever more information only leads to confusion, disorganization and a sort of frenzied idleness, he argued. “I have a supercomputer with a quad-core processor in my back pocket, and I use it to show people cat pictures and argue with strangers on the internet,” he said.
Hanselman spoke with humor about productivity and how we can scale ourselves, combining big ideas with practical tips. Instead of constantly battling a mounting workload with the hope it will one day be vanquished, professionals need to step back and re-evaluate how they think about work, said Hanselman. “We think, ‘If I work harder, stay later, drink more red bull, it will all be OK,” he said. “But hope is not a strategy.”
Effectiveness vs. Efficiency
People who are effective and efficient, said Hanselman, are goal-oriented. They seize on the idea that they’re going to do something, and at some point they decide that they have done it. The effectiveness part is choosing which priorities to focus on. Efficiency comes in when we streamline how we do those things.
“This is why you don’t see Usain Bolt texting,” said Hanselman. “He is trying to sprint. If he were trying to multitask, he’d probably be slowed down.” Effectiveness, said Hanselman, is doing the right things, and efficiency is doing things right.
Why we shouldn’t be trying to triage
Time-management experts often advise “triaging”: Putting virtual toe-tags on incoming tasks to make sure you’re attending to the most dire needs first. But “that brings to mind the walking dead,” said Hanselman, who thinks we should question the suggestion that the most important things you need to do will present themselves in your email folder. “An email from Bill Gates, an email from your mom and an email from Viagra are all peers in your inbox,” he said.
“How often do you see people blocking out time to figure sh** out today?” he asked. Citing productivity expert David Allen’s principle of four Ds: Delete, Do, Delegate, Defer, he noted that there's one we overlook: "Drop it."
“Sometimes dropping the ball is the right answer,” he said. He suggested we think about how to make our days and lives better by focusing on the things that really matter.
“Write down three outcomes today,” he said. “What are three things you could do in a single day that would make you feel awesome? Do that for the week and do that for the year; make sure your days, your weeks and your lives always meet that goal."
If you’re Tweeting, you’re wasting your time
Hanselman looked at a room of digerati dutifully plugged into their social networks, Tweeting, blogging and Instagramming his words, and dropped a bomb: He told them Twitter wasn’t important.
“It’s really surprising how much time you guys spend on Twitter,” he said, adding: “Someone will always be wrong on the internet.”
Twitter wasn’t the only time-consuming product he dismissed. He suggested that our lives are filled with types of media we can do without. “I can drop Tivo and Twitter really quickly. It’s surprising how much people use Twitter as excuse. Twitter is a river of crap and you just need to let it flow over you,” he said.
A few more of Hanselman’s tips:
  • Make an email folder called "inbox cc." If it isn’t directed to you, don’t do it. When your boss emails you to follow up, apologize and remind them that the request wasn’t addressed to you.
  • Don’t email in the morning. “Email in the morning is how you time-travel to 2p.m.” Instead, trust that truly urgent information will find its way to you, and focus on something that really matters.
  • Conserve your keystrokes. Joked Hanselman: “There is a finite number of keystrokes left in your hands before you die.” He urges people to ask themselves why they’re writing. “Email is not a skill. Nor is using Microsoft office,” said Hanselman. “Delete those things from your resume and ask yourself: What is it that I do again?”

Alright, if you are like me, then you are trying to re-consider how you start out your day to improve productivity..haha. My biggest crime is the morning time-travelling email quest. The first thing that caught my attention in the article was this line -

“We think, ‘If I work harder, stay later, drink more red bull, it will all be OK,” he said. “But hope is not a strategy.”

Ummm... GUILTY!! I think this exact sentence (with diet red bull) is a daily part of my working vocabulary!! I am very goal oriented; however, I do struggle to pick and choose which priorities are most critical when I have a stack of things to work through about 6 inches thick. Then, while trying to choose, I am suddenly hit with more emails, messages, and other things unrelated to my main goals, that seem to take up my entire day - some days. Taking longer to plan for the day only seems to take up more time, but actually help to improve productivity.

I often will say how great I am at multi-tasking, but multi-tasking really does tend to slow me down. When I choose one thing to focus on and shut out the rest, I tend to get through so much more and feel so much better at the end of the day. I have really begun to manage my time more efficiently and when I read this article, I did not feel so bad about having to stay away from emails or social networking in order to complete something important.

In the article, Levy mentions how Hanselman encourages people to write down 3 objectives (outcomes) that would make us feel awesome if we finished today. I immediately thought of how I would plan out my classroom lessons - first beginning with the standard and content objective or end goal, then working my way to that end goal. If you are having a difficult time managing all of the things you have to do in your day (aside from teaching, meetings, kids, conferences, copying, cutting, eating), you can plan them the same way you plan out your classroom lesson plans. Begin with your objective and then work your way towards those objectives throughout the day. Tell yourself it is okay if something does not get done as long as these objectives are met. This means that you might have to stay off of Facebook for a day or not publish a post, but the whole idea is that you will feel more productive if you accomplish the main objectives for your day. I tend to plan and write things down - crossing them off as I get through each one. If, at the end of the day, I have more X's, then I feel like my day was productive. hahaha How do you all manage your time when it comes to juggling so much??

Last, I want to remind you that TODAY is the very last day to sign up for the Pass the Torch Linky.

Please click on the image above to read more about  this AWESOME linky!!! I hope you all sign up! I can't wait to take a peek in your classrooms!!

Have a wonderfully PRODUCTIVE day everyone!!!
To-Do: Wednesday Post - CHECK...bwahahaha!!!



  1. I'm very goal-oriented too. Lots of lists, and a brain that won't shut off sometimes at night.... I have at times felt guilty for not completing stuff "on the list" and looking back later wondered why I felt that way over something so trivial. I loved the article. It definitely made me think about things (of course, I took OCD or over-achiever syndrome there...teeheehee). I have often said "time is not my friend", but perhaps it's not time, it's my unrealistic perspective. Thanks for sharing.
    The Lightbulb Lab

    1. I completely agree!!! I have lists for my lists...hahaha

  2. Thanks for the Hanselman refocus. If only he could have said Pinterest is a waste of time, rather than Twitter, I'd feel like a free woman! Thanks to this post, I'm headed to cross things off my to-do list right now. Merci!!!


    1. Bwahahahaha!! Ain't THAT the truth!!! I can get side-tracked and end up on Pinterest for hours!! I came across this article this morning while getting through emails and it completely derailed my plans...hahaha...

  3. Oh my goodness, I felt like this article was written specifically for me! I totally needed to read it. Thank you for sharing it with us!

    The Daily Alphabet

    1. No problem!! I felt the same way when I read it this morning!! I have had so many conversations about time-management with several people lately and I know that there are so many of us who feel this way!!

  4. Hey! Would you be willing to help me out with a giveaway?? It is kinda different...but wonderful! Here is the link

    Crofts' Classroom

  5. Thank you for sharing! I have been taking baby steps away from the "time sucks" vortex - only checking email at specific times, scheduling specific times to work on TpT stuff, and setting aside at least an hour every day to be fully present with my family (body AND mind!) :) Thanks for the reminder.
    Hello Mrs Sykes

  6. Thanks for sharing this article! It is something I needed to read at this time in my life. Although I have purchased your graphics on TpT I had never seen your blog. I am happy to have found it, I am your newest follower.
    More Than Math by Mo

  7. We have a lot in common! :) What a great article! Thank you for sharing! (I love your clip art!) Melissa


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