Wow! I don't know about you but over the past year, I have accumulated a massive amount of programs and apps and browser tabs to the point where I can't even make sense of them anymore. I sat down a few weeks ago, in an attempt to put them all in a list and start determining which ones were going to drive my practice forward and which ones I needed to let fall by the wayside.
This week, I want to encourage you to do the same. There are a number of practices and programs that we have stacked up over the past year. Some are making our lives a little bit easier, and a bit more efficient, while others may just be getting in the way and cluttering our focus on the goals that we have set.
Consider setting up a three-column chart for yourself:
In the first column, go ahead and brainstorm. Make a list of all of the different programs, apps, ideas or approaches. Even some of those strategies that may not have been a part of your repertoire at this point last year. If it's not serving you well, as you look towards the end of this school year as well as ahead to next school year, go ahead and cross it off. Put a line through it. There is no harm in identifying specific strategies that may have worked well in the moment but are not going to push our practice forward long-term.
For each of those items that you left standing, I want you to take just a few seconds each and identify how is it making your personal or your professional life just a little bit easier or a little bit stronger. Is it perhaps making some of your scheduling more efficient? Is it enhancing connections with your family, your friends, or your students? What are the ways that those apps, programs, and processes are helping you to become just a little bit better each and every day?
And then finally, in that third column, for each of the apps, programs, or tabs that are still left standing, I want you to identify one that you're going to let go of. Think back to the past several years to the different programs and processes that, in their time, were the right thing to do or the right strategy to take. But right now, in light of where you are and in respect to the goals that you've established for yourself, just are not going to push you forward as fast or as effectively as you might like.
One of the critical mistakes that we consistently make in education is that we continue to layer on. We start doing, start doing, start doing, and forget the important decluttering process that we stop doing.
I hope that third column is a reminder that for every new strategy or every new program that we start employing into our practice, we have a responsibility to identify at least one that we are going to stop integrating as well.
As you start looking ahead to finish the year strong, think about what is getting you just a few steps closer to your goals and what decluttering of those practices do you need to do to become even stronger next year.
Please share with me on social media @thelearningloop about some of that decluttering that you're engaging in so that we can continue to support one another's practice moving forward.