Friday, May 30, 2014

Why "That's the Way We've Always Done It is a Myth"

When you or I question a practice that seems to defy logic, the answer is likely to be, "That's the way we've always done it." The response shifts whatever blame there may be to some unnamed person at some unnamed time in the past. The response also indicates no thinking is going to go into whether or not what has been done in the past is the best course for the future.

Time Management At best, "That's the way we've always done it" is only partially true. Consider the story of the young girl helping her mother prepare Easter dinner.

Before placing the ham in the oven for baking, the mother cut off both ends. “Why did you cut off the ends of the ham?” asked the daughter.

“That’s the way my mother always did it,” was the reply.

The daughter quickly vanished. In moments, she was on the telephone to the grandmother verifying whether or not what she had been told was true. The grandmother replied that she did, indeed, always cut the ends off the ham. When asked why, the grandmother replied, “That’s the way my mother always did it.”

As fate would have it, the next week brought about a visit from great-grandmother. Overcome with curiosity, as young children often are, nothing would do but to pose this same question.

“Great Grandmother, Mommy always cuts the ends off her ham before she puts it in the oven. Mommy says she does it because that’s the way Grandmother always did it. Grandmother says she did it because that’s the way you always did it. Is it true, Great Grandmother? Did you always cut the ends off of the ham?”

“Yes, indeed, my child, I always cut the end off the ham” replied the elderly woman.

“But why?” asked the young girl.

Holding her hands about 12 inches apart, she replied, “Because my pan was only this big.”

Decades ago, Great Grandmother was confronted with a set of circumstances. Her pan was not large enough to accommodate the ham. She came up with procedures to handle those circumstances. She did the best she could with what she had.

What if we were to confront today's challenges the way Great Grandmother in the story confronted hers? What is we did the best we could with what we have? What we have keeps getting better, meaning what was "best" back then is far from "best" by today's standards.

What if we re-framed "that's the way we've always done it" to embody a standard of quality rather than a particular act? I imagine we would spend more time challenging outdated practices, more time learning the tools at our disposal, and less time carrying on with practices which worked in a bygone era.

If we look to the past for examples of doing the best they could with what they had, we also throw down the gauntlet to generations to come. We issue the challenge not to mindlessly carry on as we did, but to build on our accomplishments.

Our circumstances change. Our procedures must change with them. Our ancestors understood that. Do we?

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Monday, May 26, 2014

Does Email Make Us Stupid?

We have research that shows email makes us stupid! A study done in Great Britain, conducted back in 2005, found that email lowers our IQ by 10 points. Hewlett-Packard commissioned the study which found that the constant interruptions of email, instant messages, and cell phones temporarily lower a person’s IQ. The 10 point drop is more than double the IQ dip associated with smoking marijuana—a mere 4 points. Since that study was commissioned, we now have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other diversions competing for our time.

Is it really email that is the culprit? I certainly don’t think so, at least not when email is used correctly. Email can be one of the best tools we have going for us. We ignore it and take care of other business. At some point in the day, we turn our full attention to our email, handle every message, and get “in” to “empty.”

On the other hand, there are those who check their email constantly to see if anything new has arrived. They read and re-read messages without ever making a decision about what needs to be done with any of them. Their in-boxes grow with each passing day. Productivity drops; stress rises.

Ending the Insanity
You can take control of your email. These steps show you how:

  1. Check email only once or twice a day. If you check your email throughout the day, you will never get out of your email. You respond to people only to have them send you a follow-up on the same subject. You wind up playing "email ping-pong," and the exchange would be better handled with a 2-minute phone call.
  2. When you handle email, handle it all. Start at the top and open the emails one at a time. If it needs a response, respond. Outside of that, you can only do five things with that email. Read this post to see what those are and how to handle each case.
  3. Learn how to send emails to your to-do list. Many emails sit in our email because they embed vague reminders of things we need to do. The better digital systems allow you to forward an email to your to-do list. The subject of the email becomes the subject of the task, and the body of the email appears in the note section of the task. I composed this post on how this concept is handled in Toodledo.
  4. If you use Gmail, turn on the Priority Inbox. Gmail offers another option. It's been around since 2010 and works quite well. It's called "Priority Inbox." Priority Inbox presents all of your emails on one screen, but segments them into three groups. At the top are the emails Google has determined are important. At the bottom is a section Gmail calls "everything else." In the middle is a space where emails you have "starred" are grouped. That segmentation gives me all I need to see what might need my attention first or may need considerable time to handle, and what can be handled quickly and with no time deadline. This video demonstrates the concept of the Gmail Priority Inbox:

Gmail learns which emails are important using criteria such as which ones you open and which ones you reply to. If Gmail makes a mistake, you manually mark an email as important or not important. In the future, Gmail will treat emails from that sender according to those preferences.

If you are a Gmail user, you can turn on Priority Inbox at any time. If you are using the new tabbed inbox, you can change to Priority Inbox. On the left-hand side of the screen, mouse over the "Inbox" label and click the drop-down arrow which appears. From the menu, choose "Priority Inbox."


On your mobile devices, go to the Gmail app. On the settings, tap on your email address. Select "Inbox type" and then "Priority Inbox."

Our challenge is to be sure that our technology makes our lives easier, reduces our stress levels, and functions as the wonderful servant it can be. Technology can trap those calls in voice mail, quietly hold those emails until we choose to handle them all, and beautifully organize our to-do lists so that our minds can engage in creative thought.

Technology—a valuable tool or terrible distraction? As technology becomes increasingly important in our culture, we had better determine its function.

What are the challenges that you face with email? 
What solutions have you found?

Friday, May 23, 2014

Are You the Bottleneck?

We've all experienced it? We are driving down the highway when everything suddenly comes to a standstill. We sit and wait. We creep ever-so-slowly.

Twenty minutes later, we see the problem is a stalled car blocking the entire lane of traffic. Three lanes funnel into two. We have come to the bottleneck!

At work or home, are you the bottleneck? How many of the organization's projects have as a next step something you must do? None of those projects can move forward until you act.

You feel you are working hard, yet the piles continue to grow. You are interrupted constantly by people asking you for a "status report" on those projects.

Moving from "bottleneck" to "done"
  1. Take a look at the physical representations of work to be done. Look at the papers on the desk, credenza, windowsill, or any other flat surface. What does each piece of paper represent? What are the "to-dos" associated with each one? Are those "to-dos" on your list and are they worded clearly? 
  2. Look at your to-do list. What items have been sitting there far too long? What is keeping them from moving? If you need a piece of information in order to move forward, what will it take to get that information?  We do what's easy. Therefore, breaking tasks down and wording them in a way that makes them easy to do spurs people into action.
  3. If the workload is still too much, look at delegation. Who else can do this task almost as well as you can? Select the right person, spend the time to teach the person how to do the task, and give that person the needed authority. Do less of what others could be doing so that you can do more of what only someone with your training, experience, and good looks can do. 
  4. If you still have too much, some things simply have to go. What reports are you doing that nobody reads? What materials are you reading which are doing you no good? If you have handed off all you can, are working hard, and still finding yourself as the bottleneck, you have no choice but to start cutting. Don't be surprised if you stop doing some things and nobody seems to notice, since those tasks didn't matter to anyone anyway.
There is an old saying that goes, "Lead, follow, or get out of the way." If you feel as if that statement is too often directed at you, stop being the bottleneck. Use this article as your first step to get the actions flowing.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Check Out the New Website

I now have a totally re-designed website, and invite you to take a look. The URL is the same as before: Everything else is new, including a new hosting service. While I still have content to add, I wanted to make the site live, because I do think it is a significant improvement and one readers will enjoy.

Why the Change?
While I have been blogging for almost 10 years, my first experience with designing a website came in 2009. After purchasing a domain name (, I had one of those "now what?" moments. My hosting service did point me towards a set of free templates. I chose one and, through trial and error, was able to enter content and upload images and files.

Much has changed since 2009. From the standpoint of the reader, many more people today are reading their content from a mobile device. That's why a year ago, I changed the template for my monthly newsletter. Instead of continuing with the two-column design, I replaced it with a single-column design. (You can subscribe to that newsletter here.) The display on mobile devices is much better, and readers no longer scroll from side-to-side in order read content.

This blog's appearance on mobile devices is good, thanks to the folks at Google. I didn't understand exactly how it happens. All I know is when I read my blog from phone or tablet, all content aligns vertically. My website, on the other hand, appeared as a miniature version of what displayed on the computer monitor. Viewing content meant pinching and scrolling from side-to-side.

Secondly, the level of technical support available was far from satisfactory. Talking to a real person was impossible. I started to see some weird formatting, and could get no help.

Here is What I Did
First, I changed hosting services. I have been a reader of Michael Hyatt's blog for some time and had heard his recommendations for BlueHost. In particular, he talked about the high quality of customer service. I contacted BlueHost and created an account at a cost of $3.95 per month.

Since creating my account, I have utilized their tech support frequently. You get a live person, and the hold time for getting to a live person is surprisingly short. My experience has been that you get someone who is knowledgeable, friendly, and doesn't mind spending time with you.

Secondly, I needed a "theme" or template. Here again, tech support is important. BlueHost is not going to be familiar with the details of a particular theme.

My Theme Choice: Creativo
I purchased a theme called "Creativo." Ordering information is here. You can also view a demonstration of the theme. The $49 I paid for the theme has turned out to be a bargain due to its design, quality of the documentation, and the email tech support. A series of videos walks you through installing the theme, installing "demo data" (and believe me, you want to install the demo data), creating a home page, how to work with the "sliders" you see at the top of my homepage, and how to create blog posts.

My approach was to start with the demo data and modify it, following the video each step of the way. As I became more confident and understood the concepts, I began to get more creative.

Creativo is a "responsive theme." That term is important. It means that the site adjusts to the device on which it is viewed. When I view the site on my phone, the content aligns vertically and fits within the width of the screen.

Tech Support
I had my share of questions and ran into my share of problems along the way. Every single time I emailed RockyThemes tech support, I received an email response in less than a day (usually within less than hour). Sometimes, the response was to simply tell me where to go in a menu to find the controls I needed. Sometimes the answer was in the form of some html code and instructions on exactly where to paste it.

I could not have done what I did on the new website without the tech support from Stef, who is the person who responded to each of my emails. There is an old saying that you get what you pay for. I am glad I went with a paid theme, both in terms of the features this theme offers and the outstanding tech support.

Pulling the Switch
I spent several weeks slowly building the site, waiting until I had large blocks of time to devote to the site. During this time, my old site remained functional. When the new site was ready, another phone call to BlueHost provided me with the information I needed to move my website and email. One day, took people to the old site. The next day, that same URL took people to the new site.

Sometimes we don't think about everything ahead of time. Yes, if people went to, they wound up at the new site. But, if they had a link to one of the interior pages of the website, they wound up at a dead end. Since my old site was no no more, I had no way to go back to it and record the URL for each interior page. It was time to go "back in time"!

Did you know the Internet has a "Wayback Machine"? Go to and enter a URL. Select a date from the calendar which appears. You will see the site as it appeared at that point in time.

I selected my own URL and chose a date a couple of months in the past. I was able to navigate the site as if it was still live, and copied the URL from each page.

The next task was to figure out some way to have people directed to my new site if they entered a URL for one of those interior pages from the old site. A call to BlueHost tech support produced even better results than I had hoped. Rather than tell me what to do, tech support did it for me, taking each URL in turn and creating a redirect that would take readers to the appropriate page on the new site. (Now you see why I like this company so much.)

Future of This Blog
Eventually, the website and blog will be "one." All of the posts from this blog will be migrated to the website, and will become the new address for the blog. At the bottom of the homepage, previews of the last four blog posts will always be displayed. Even now, you can see that element. At this point, only a handful of content exists. I expect the migration to take place sometime in June.

If you subscribe to this blog and get its contents in your email, I am investigating options which would not require you to do anything. When the migration happens, your content will still flow to your email, only from a different source. That's the plan, anyway. Let's keep out fingers crossed.

I do plan to keep the Blogger blog intact indefinitely. Many people have linked to it and to its various posts. At the appropriate time, information in the sidebar will be added letting visitors know where they will go to find new content.

Everything Under One Roof
Having a "responsive" website is the biggest motivation for making the move. Quality of technical support is a second reason.

The third and final reason for the move is to bring everything under one roof. Once this blog has been migrated, everything will be located at I hope that when people visit to read blog posts, they will stay and read about workshop offerings and other resources. Those who come to read about workshops will hopefully explore blog posts while they are on the site.

Making the move is one that has taken time, and that time commitment is far from over. It has been a challenge. I must admit, it has also been fun.

It's your turn. If you have a website or blog, what advice would you offer others who are starting their own?

The Question to Ask at the End of the Day

GoalsSuccess in any area of life comes from doing good things on a regular basis. We all have those small, easy-to-perform tasks that when knit together, make life significantly better. Some involve routine maintenance which keep big problems at bay and allow us to focus on our goals. Others involve those bite-sized steps, repeated at routine intervals, which help us reach those goals. In any case, identifying those repeating tasks, and organizing them in such a way that they are in front of us at the right time, increases productivity exponentially.
How will you answer the question when today comes to a close? How did you make today count? How did you make today count?

If you use a digital to-do list, add a task which reads: "How did you make today count?" Set the task to repeat daily, meaning when you check it off, it disappears and reappears tomorrow.

In the note section of that task, answer the question. Think back over the day. What did you do that was significant? What did you do that moved you closer to an important goal? What did you do that was significant in the life of another person?

As you enter your answer to "How did you make today count?" you will also be looking at how you answered that question in previous days. You begin to get a picture of whether you are using your time to move forward or simply to tread water.

At the end of the month, cut and paste your responses for those last 30 or 31 days to a Word document, a notebook in Evernote, or wherever you would like to keep a running log of how you are spending your days. You may wish to enter your answer right on your calendar. Whenever you choose to record the significant accomplishments of your day, the process generates a sort of a "mini-diary." It also provides a compass that will help plan for the days to come.

It is a sobering question. Perhaps the knowledge that the day will end with your asking yourself that question will work on your subconscious from the time the day begins.

How will you answer the question when today comes to a close? How did you make today count?

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Photo Credit: SalFalko via Compfight cc

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

What My Dogs Have Taught Me About the Real World

The last post introduced readers to Sally, the 4-year-old Sheltie we adopted Friday from the Sheltie Rescue of East Tennessee. Ironically, as we were making the five-hour drive from Tennessee back home with Sally, another blogger was writing about his five-hour trip back to Tennessee with his new dog.

Michael Hyatt's blog is one of my favorites. In his post this past Friday, Hyatt talked about the conversation he had with the dog's trainer.

“What happens if he has an accident and eliminates indoors. How should we respond?”

“No problem,” replied the trainer. “Just take a newspaper and roll it up real tight—like it’s a stick. Now hit yourself on the forehead and say, “Bad owner!” 

She went on to explain, “If he has an accident, it’s your fault. Either you got distracted or ignored the signals.” She continued “Charlie’s trained. Now we just have to train you.” That last statement, together with my experience with Sally at that Thursday-night class, caused me to reflect.

A Flashback
Twenty-four years ago, my wife and I acquired our first Sheltie, an 8-week-old puppy we named "Lassie." Sometime before her first birthday, we enrolled her in Saturday-morning classes at the "Dick Lovelady School for Dogs," located near our home. Dick's experience with training dogs dated back to World War II, but it became evident from the beginning that these lessons would have much more to do with training the owner then with training the dog.

We learned that training Lassie meant devoting some time each day to reinforce what she had learned and add just a little more. Small, logical steps was the only way to go.

Dick practiced what he preached. Birmingham's Summerfest Theatre was preparing a production of Annie. Dick was hired to handle all aspects of the character "Sandy," the dog. Dick was to secure a dog, train the dog, attend rehearsals with the dog, and be just off-stage during performances.

Dick went to a local animal shelter and rescued a dog that looked the part. From "square one," he began training "Sandy," all done with hand signals. During the performances, Dick was just off-stage, directing Sandy's every move. The audience watched as Sandy would trot on-stage at just the right moment, sit, lie down, speak, exit the stage, and other tricks. The entire time, Sandy was keeping a close eye on Dick and his hand cues.

Sandy was the star of the show. After the production ended its final performance, Dick was approached by a number of people, all with the same question: "How much will you take for Sandy?"

The reply was always the same, "Sandy is not for sale."

Wealthy individuals, who wanted Sandy as a pet for their children, begged Dick to reconsider. They were willing to pay a handsome sums for this well-trained dog.

You see, four months earlier, they could have had this dog for a song. Who knows how many people walked right past this adorable dog at the animal shelter with no consideration given for adoption. Who knows how many other dogs, also in that same facility, were capable of "stardom" if the right person had come along and knew how to unleash their potential?

The Clicker
When Lassie died a dozen years later, we adopted Bonnie, our first rescue. We began classes at the Birmingham Obedience Training Club, where she and I were introduced to the concept of "clicker training." The process started by clicking the clicker and giving Bonnie a treat...repeated over and over again. The point was that she would come to associate hearing the click with the prospect of a treat to follow.

I thought it was the most ridiculous idea I had ever heard...until I saw it starting to work. At first, Bonnie was scared of the sound the clicker made. After a few treats, that sounds became music to her ears.

The hardest part was to train me. Being late with the clicker would confuse her on what behavior was being rewarded. Expecting the "finished product" in the early stages of learning a trick was setting us both up for failure. Extending a training session past he length of her attention span was an exercise in frustration for both of us.

What Did I Learn?
What works with our dogs spills over into so many areas of life:
  • Timing is everything. The "click" must come at the right time, or the opportunity is lost. The challenge is to pay attention and seize the moment.
  • "Shaping" is important. The ability to play the beautiful cadenza, catch the touchdown pass on the run, or roll over on command each start with a simple skill. Defining what merits a "click," deciding how to progressively raise the bar, and knowing when we have achieved the finished product, lead to success.
  • Consistency is King. When we are sure of the expectations, and the expectations are reasonable we perform at higher levels and with lower stress. When we work on our goals a little each day, the results are rewarding.
  • Occam's Razor is alive and well. This theory translates that the simplest solution is most often the best one. In our busy lives, we tend to resist what is hard. That which is easy gets done. 
  • We run across "stars" in the most unlikely places. The ability to recognize potential, and the willingness to develop it, produce results in all walks of life.
We are beginning our journey with Sally. She is quickly proving to be well-mannered, loving companion to me, Davonia, and Cabrio (our other Sheltie). We hope that she is as pleased with her forever home as we are with her.

Sally (the taller Sable) is pictured here playing with her friend, Shiloah, at the rescue

Monday, May 12, 2014

Sally: The Newest Addition to the Family

Our dogs are important to us. Anyone who knows me and Davonia well at all knows that. On Friday, we welcomed a new addition to the family.

Sally is a four-year old Shetland Sheepdog. Several months ago, a family surrendered Sally to the Sheltie Rescue of East Tennessee. A very shy girl, she had been attended classes to learn obedience, but mostly socialization. That investment paid off. Everyone at the class talked about the transformation they have seen in her.

Thursday, we traveled five hours to Greenville, Tennessee to meet Sally.We had the opportunity to attend her class, see what she was learning, and even begin working with her. Friday, we brought her home.

This video shows Sally playing with Shiloah, a 7-year-old male, while at the rescue. Sally is the taller sable.

Sally had to be shaved when she came to the rescue, the only way to remedy her overly-matted coat. We look forward to watching a beautiful coat come in over the coming months. She loves any sort of attention. Having her coat brushed is surely something she will welcome.

We saw Sally's shyness when we visited her on Thursday, but she quickly warmed up to us. She responded beautifully at her class. Now at home, her favorite place to lay is under my desk. In fact, that is where she is right now as I am composing this post.

On-leash, she walks right by my side without ever pulling. Off-leash, she still walks right by my side. Her classes employ clicker training, and so the sound of the clicker is a loud she already relates to having done something well, and that her treat is coming.

We took Cabrio with us on the trip. He had the time of his life. Cabrio had his first  stay in a hotel Thursday night. Taking his bed with us made him more comfortable. He enjoyed playing with the other dogs, both at the rescue, and at Sally's class. He is teaching Sally how things work at our house, just as Bonnie did for him almost four years ago.

In the next post, you will see pictures of Sally along with thoughts about our experience with these beautiful creatures over the last 24 years, and the truths about life they teach us.


Friday, May 09, 2014

How Do You Know You're a Teacher?

This Jeff Foxworthy routine has made its rounds around the Internet for some time. It's always good for a laugh, mainly because of some of the truth it embeds.
  1. You get a secret thrill out of laminating things.
  2. You can hear 25 voices behind you and know exactly which one belongs to the child out of line.
  3. You walk into a store and hear the words, “It’s Ms./Mr. ____________ and know you have been spotted.
  4. You have 25 people who accidentally call you Mom/Dad at one time or another.
  5. You can eat a multi-course meal in under 25 minutes.
  6. You’ve trained yourself to go to the bathroom at two distinct times of the day, lunch and planning period.
  7. You start saving other people’s trash, because most likely, you can use that toilet paper tube or plastic butter tub for something in the classroom.
  8. You believe the Teacher’s Lounge should be equipped with a margarita machine.
  9. You want to slap the next person who says, “Must be nice to work 7 to 3 and have summers off”.
  10. You believe chocolate is a food group.
  11. You can tell if it’s a full moon without ever looking outside.
  12. You believe that unspeakable evils will befall you if anyone says, “Boy, the kids are sure mellow today.”
  13. You feel the urge to talk to strange children and correct their behavior when you are out in public.
  14. You believe in aerial spraying of Ritalin.
  15. You think caffeine should be available in intravenous form.
  16. You spend more money on school stuff than you do on your own children.
  17. You can’t pass the school supply aisle without getting at least 5 items!
  18. You ask your friends to use their words and explain if the left hand turn he made was a “good choice” or “bad choice.”
  19. You find true beauty in a can full of perfectly sharpened pencils.
  20. You are secretly addicted to hand sanitizer.
  21. You understand, instantaneously, why a child behaves in a certain way after meeting his/her parents.

Friday, May 02, 2014

Which Blogs Should You Be Reading? My Starter List

How do you stay on top of trending information in your field? For me, it's blogs. I have identified about 100 blogs which provide me in the information I need or want. Visiting 100 blogs would be time-consuming, so I have relied on one RSS reader or another to take all of the new content from the blogs I like and put it in one place.

I use Feedly to gather into one place new material from the 100+ blogs to which I subscribe. I can flip through articles which are of no interest. The next time I check Feedly, those articles no longer appear. I can read an article, and Feedly automatically marks it as "read." When I return to Feedly, that article no longer appears.

One situation remains. I read an article and decide I want to read it, or do something else with it, later. On each Feedly post, a small ribbon icon appears. Scrolling over that icon reveals a message, "Save for later." Clicking that ribbon turns it green and marks it as saved.

At any time, I can open Feedly and click on "Saved for Later" in the left-hand column. All of the articles I have marked are now before me. As long as the ribbon is green, the article will be available in the "Saved for Later" section. When I am done with the article, I click the green ribbon to "unsave."

Mobile App
On my Android phone, I downloaded the Feedly app from Google Play. An app for iPhone is also available. You will want to visit the "Preferences" menu on the mobile app. I accessed it by touching an icon in the upper-left corner of the screen. On the "Advanced Settings" in the Preferences menu, I checked "Auto Mark as Read," so that when I read or scroll past an article, unless I mark it as "saved," it's gone the next time I access Feedly.

You may want to adjust the "Article Font Size." Also, experiment with the "Default View" to see what appearance you like best.
Our mobile devices allow us to function from anywhere. In most cases, however, we work best at our desktop computers. It's hard for a single, small screen to keep pace with my large dual-monitor setup. It's hard for two thumbs on a piece of glass to do what the fingers of two hands can do on a keyboard. 

Using Feedly on my phone is proving to be an even better experience than viewing it on my computer. For this reason, reading Feedly becomes something I can do from anywhere. Because I can read just one article or the entire feed during any given session, it becomes a perfect option for filling spare minutes. I can read it while in line at the grocery store or waiting for an appointment.

Passing good content on to others through social networking is important. I am able to that so as easy from my phone as I can on my desktop computer. Icons allow for instant sharing on Facebook or Twitter. Another icon allows me to share an article through other options.

Google ReaderFor example, I use Hootsuite on my desktop to organize social media content. I also have a Hootsuite app on my phone. While reading an article in Feedly, I can choose to share an article through Hootsuite. Hootsuite lets me decide whether the article goes to Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Google+, or any combination thereof. In addition, I am able to schedule a day and time when the item will be shared.

One of the features sure to become a favorite is Feedly's appearance You see beautiful images together with the title and snippet of each article. You skim articles by simply sliding through them with a thumb. Sliding upwards advances to the next article or page. Sliding downwards allows you to move backwards. Tapping on a article opens it.

My favorite Feedly feeds
So what are the blogs I have in Feedly? I don't think you want the list of over 100. Below are 17 of my favorites with a link to each one.
  • Barbara Blackburn writes about "rigor" in education.
  • Engadget keeps me informed about the latest in technology.
  • Fast Company reports on what's hot in the world of business.
  • Lifehacker provides hints on how to do most anything quicker and easier.
  • PC World helps me get the most out of my computer
  • Tech Crunch keeps me abreast of what's new in technology.
  • Copyblogger provides a wealth of information about blogging.
  • Connected Principals provides a variety of perspectives from practicing principals.
  • Dotto Tech provides short videos on hot to use popular technology services. His explanations are great.
  • Eduflections contains the thoughts of a tech-savvy teacher and author.
  • Eduleadership is a great source for principals, especially those who are interested in technology.
  • Free Technology for Teachers provides superb guidance on a wealth of free sites for educators. This site is probably my favorite on the list.
  • Gmail Blog is a must for users of Gmail.
  • Jason Womack writes about leadership, time management, and making "your best better."
  • Michael Hyatt is a social media giant.
  • Raymond L. Young is a great example of an elementary school blog.
  • Seth's Blog provides interesting perspectives on "selling," and does it in a few words. 

I read Feedly from my phone. When I have a minute here or there, I'm not checking email or Facebook; I'm reading Feedly. I never read every article. At any one time, five titles and the first couple of sentences from those five posts appear on the screen at a time. With one flick, an entire screen can be dismissed. Tapping on the title opens an article. Touching and holding on the article saves it to read later.

As I read Feedly in those spare minutes, I flip through pages where none of the five articles interest me. Of those article which do look interesting, I read the "quick reads," which are then automatically marked as "read" and will not appear the next time I access Feedly. For those articles which will take a little more time, perhaps because they include video, I mark those to read later.

From home, I access Feedly on my desktop computer and review the "read later" articles. When I am finished with an article, I "unsave" it. That way, the section of saved articles is zeroed-out periodically, and the current articles on my phone reach "empty" every few days.

For me, the careful choice of blogs and a methodology for reading them during those spare moments keeps me on top of my game.

How do you stay on top of your game? What is your strategy for your managing your own learning? Leave me a comment and let me know.

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