This is the Real Me

I’ve considered shutting down my Facebook page recently. The negative energy on the site some days makes me crazy. I have this personality that takes peoples opinions very personally and to heart. I’m not the type of guy who can be your ‘friend’ and not agree with who you are. I wrote a post awhile ago about branding. The post dealt with how the perception that people have of us or our organization based on what we put out there for the world to see. Our Facebook posts, photos on Instagram, tweets, and our blog entries. All of those speak volumes about who we are. The real us. I’m discovering that in a lot of cases I don’t like the real you! But that’s OK if that’s who you are. People who I have known for years I am finding out that I really never knew. Both in a good way and a bad way. People who I have held in some level of esteem disappoint me on a regular basis with the things that they ‘put out there.’ And people but some pretty shameful things out there. With every new controversy I am more and more inclined to hit the ‘unfriend’ button. But I don’t because then my social networks would only be people who believed like I do and that would be close minded. Only rarely do I engage and then only when I have a valid opinion that I have researched and can support. I also struggle because of what I do and how I am perceived in the community. Being confrontational online is not part of the brand that I want for myself. I know, this is my hang up. I’m trying to be more understanding about how other people think. It is just difficult based on a 10 word meme whether that is really who you want me to think you are or if you didn’t really put a whole lot of thought into it.

I guess this post really comes down to a few simple things:

1. Research – In the age where everyone has a computer in their pocket and at least one other device to access the interweb, take a few minutes to look into the facts of a story that you are going to share. It really isn’t hard in the world of Google at your fingertips. At least take the time to determine if the information comes from a reliable source. (Yes, the large majority of kids in school say the Pledge of Allegiance everyday. No, nobody in public schools is stopping your child from praying before he eats his lunch. No, Ted Cruz, Michelle Bachman and Mike Huckabee did not defend Josh Duggar.)

2. In the same vein, take time before posting, sharing, commenting, retweeting, etc. The world sees this stuff! It is worth a few minutes of contemplation to determine the value of what you are sharing, how your posts reflect on who you are, and the pros/cons of your online activity. Remember: This is the real you; this is your brand!

3. Do your best to add value to the feeds of your followers. The world needs creators and if your means of creation is social media then use it for good and not evil. I know that everyone wants to post a gag or a funny picture every once in a while but for every cartoon or funny meme that you post, share at least one good article or picture, add at least one thoughtful comment, write at least one post that helps define who you are.

This is my attempt. I can assure you that this is the real me.

‘Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse” Exam

If you are in to pop culture, you know that the apocalypse is imminent. The only controversy is how to defend yourself against (kill) the undead. Does it take a headshot a la The Walking Dead or the Double Tap via Zombieland. Whatever it is, make sure you know the rules.

Ok, so maybe there’s not going to be a zombie apocalypse. But one thing is sure: The theories behind surviving the Cataclysm of the Undead have some things in common; The competence to think creatively, the ability to think on your feet, an expertise in collaboration and the desire to survive.

My college aged daughter is a The Walking Dead fan but definitely not a survivor. She never learned good communication or creative thinking skills. I chalk this up to poor parenting and a school system that admires skill in Math and Reading above all else.

The point of this post is that the skills needed to survive the Return of the Zombies are very similar to the 4c’s of 21st Century learning: Communication, Collaboration, Creativity, Critical Thinking. I know, there’s no ‘Communication’ in the Zombie Survival Guide but there’s also know ‘desire to survive’ in the 4 c’s. We’ll just call that a fair trade but 75% of what 21st Century learner’s need to be adept at will help them survive the Zombie Apocalypse.

Being a little older than the Walking Dead crowd, I am more in tune with the Zombieland rules. Although they aren’t all mentioned in the movie, tell me that these rules aren’t relative to 21st Century learning:

Well, maybe that’s a stretch but I hope you see my point, The skills that we need to survive the rebirth of the undead are the skills (or at least related to the skills) that we need to be teaching our students. We are a decade and a half in and we probably shouldn’t be talking about the need to teach these skills. We should be talking about how successful we are being at ingraining this knowledge base in our students. We should be talking about how we are assessing student abilities in the 4 c’s or the Zombie Survival Skills.

Since I’ve broached the idea of assessment, can anyone imagine testing these skills. Quality based assessments that would tell educators where students need to improve to be successful IN THE WORLD. Yes, I yelled that! I’ve mentioned this before and I will debate this forever: The only reason we test what we do (Math and ELA) is because it is easily quantifiable. Unfortunately the skills that students need to be successful are not always quantifiable.

Woody Harrelson would have been terrible at the PSSAs but I would definitely want him as my zombie killing partner. Think about what kind of student you want next to you when the living dead visits your neighborhood. Do you want the kid who knows all the answers on the test or the one who can fold up the test and make a weapon out of it? I know which one I will pick.

In the meantime, remember the first rule of Zombieland: Cardio – the faster you run, the further you are away from a Zombie. Wait, should that be the first rule of the PSSA?

Protect Your Brand

There has been a lot of chatter recently on Twitter concerning ‘branding.’ I never really thought about branding and really thought it was a bunch of crap. That is until I read this tweet:

Now that makes sense to me.It is a wake up call to all of us and most definitely a new way to portray social media to tweens and teens.

For professionals, we can talk about having separate accounts for professional use and private use but the reality is that whatever we put out there represents us. We can’t hide behind psuedonyms or private accounts. We can, I guess, but it doesn’t change who we are. Whatever we put out there impacts our brand. I don’t think there is any positive or negative; it is just a representation of who we are. As educators and professionals we should strive for transparency in our tweets, Facebook posts, blogs, etc. We should put out there who we truly are and what we truly believe so that when others read our content, they know who we really are.

This rings true for our schools’ social media platforms. The content creators for our schools should be putting out the message that this is who we are. This is what we believe and this is what we strive to do for students.This is the positive side of social media that many districts still fear.

Mr. Whitby shared the above tweet also. How true! We are being branded in public education on a daily basis. This is our opportunity to take the bull by the horns and put our content out there. There is no question as to the power of social media. Parents are on. Taxpayers are on. Students are on. We can touch our worlds in 140 characters or less and change our brands for the better.

The second thought I have on branding is that it is important that students know this information too. On a daily basis they are building their brand. What they say and post tells the world who they are and how they want the world to see them. For the most part I think kids are who they really are more often on social media than in everyday life. They should remember that this is who the world sees. That’s right, kids, the whole freakin’ world. Protect your tweets but know this: What you say is who you are or who you want to be no matter whether the general public can see it or not.

I’ll retire now with one final tweet from Dr. Weston. In both of the instances in this post, I don’t mean for anyone to be different than who they are. The fake you is hard to maintain and very stressful. {Ever watch Catfish?). The real you is your brand. Keep it safe!

 

40se7en

As has become tradition: my birthday blog post! This is the end of three years of the 40phor blog and the beginning of year four. I started this blog on by 44th birthday; thus the name. Although I’ve never posted as much as I thought I wanted to, the blog has been therapeutic and sometime cathartic. Although I don’t know how many readers I have, I know that at some points in the last three years I have touched someone, made them think, hopefully made them react, and possibly evoked an emotional response.

When I go back and read my own posts I am often impressed by my own writing as if someone else wrote it and at times rereading those posts remind me of who I was then and what experiences I was having. The ultimate goal of this blog was to get the constant thoughts out of my head and out to the world. Sometimes I forget that and keep the running dialogue in my head rather than sharing it with you. As always I will promise again this year to try to do better but we both know I probably won’t.

As for my year: some big events. My older daughter graduated from high school and matriculated at Temple University a few weeks ago. I ran a marathon, 4:02, for the first time in almost 15 years and ran a PR by 13 minutes. I lost a brother, friend and running mate. That’s three pretty big life events in one year.

For this year I hope to keep more consistent with the running and the blogging. I will finish my certification as a superintendent very soon so, who knows, maybe a change in employment also. Whatever the case, its just another year that I will try to make the best one yet!

Are Teacher Interviews Better Than a Coin Flip?

Interviews are a poor indicator of success. Why not abandon this expensive, old-fashioned practice and just hire the next person who walks in the door?

Read more: http://www.inc.com/margaret-heffernan/hiring-recruiting-forget-interviews-hire-anyone.html#ixzz39FFS1eyG

Wow! Can that really be true when we are talking about teachers?

After posting my previous blog post, The Status Quo, I received an email from a long time reader of the blog with some challenging follow up. He’s that kind of guy who like to keep me on my toes. In his email he questioned the effectiveness of the interview in hiring new teachers. A great point and something that I have struggled with for several years.

As I responded to him, I have had mixed success with the interview process. I have been on teams that hired candidates who did exceptionally well in the interview and the faltered in the classroom. I was on a team as an assistant principal when we made the decision to hire a candidate based on her classroom experience although she had a terrible interview. That teacher eventually resigned rather that be let go. I also was on a team that brought in a candidate to teach a lesson to a live class. She was ten minutes late, her lesson was barely adequate and the principal decided to offer her the position anyway. For the next year she took a tremendous amount of our time and eventually her  position was eliminated y the superintendent.

If you are going out to the web to look for ways to make the interview more relevant to hiring teachers, good luck. Most everything out there is based on business models which aren’t always the same. In business there is more upward mobility and a first year candidate doesn’t necessarily need the same skill set as a 25 year employee. In teaching everyone needs the same set of basic skills. In business your turnover rate is probably hire than in education. At least in my district, we hire with the intent that this is a long term relationship. Those two differences bring about some challenges in education that we don’t always see somewhere else.

Looking through the web I have managed to mine a couple of ideas that could improve the hiring of teachers. First, applicants will be at their best in the interview. They will anticipate your question and have a prepackaged response. I try to cut through that by asking some questions that will take them out of their comfort zone. I thought of that idea after reading through some supposed Google interview questions. I wouldn’t get away with those questions but I have come up with some questions that make the candidate think on their feet: Tell us something that we wouldn’t know about you from reading your resume, What book do you think everyone on the staff should read?, What are your three favorite books/movies/TV shows of all time? These types of questions allow the team to know if the candidate is a fit personality and culture wise. In my opinion, 60-70 percent of the selection process is based on whether the candidate is someone with whom the staff and I will want to work.

Secondly it is important to look at performance over promises. This is probably more difficult in hiring teachers than it is in the business world. When you are hiring someone to fill the same position over a long period of time, you may be looking at very young candidates and trying to compare them to candidates who have several years of teaching experience. How do we level the playing field? How do we determine performance data for candidates who really haven’t performed yet? I approach this in two ways. First, talk to anyone that you or the team knows that may have some experience or knowledge about the candidate. Sometimes candidates will come with glowing resumes but there is a question about why they don’t have references from important resources. At times we will have connections with other districts that can give us some off the record insight. Second, in the second interview we like to do a performance based activity. In my tenure, the teacher candidate teaching the panel scenario has never gone well. In the last few interviews we have done we have asked teachers either to prepare a presentation to the board or a group of teachers to promote an idea that they have or we have asked candidates to develop a lesson plan including certain components based on a category that we give them. For our last interviews for a fifth grade teacher we gave the following scenario prior to the interview:

 

1.       Create a plan for a fifth grade lesson on some component of figurative language. The lesson plan should be thorough and include a technology component using BYOT. A typical ELA period would be one hour. It is also important to note that only 1 in 3 students typically has their own device.

 

2.      Typical class size in the District is 20 students. Since our ELA classes are homogeneously grouped, prepare the lesson as if you are teaching the middle group. The PSSA scores in this class usually range from low Advanced to low Proficient and include both students with IEPs and 504s as well as students in the Title 1 program. Special Education students may be experiencing Learning Disabilities, Autism Spectrum Disorders or Emotional Disturbance. Title I students are either experiencing difficulties in fluency or comprehension.

 

3.      Submit the lesson plan by Tuesday, July 15th via Google Drive and share withjkuhns@greenwoodsd.k12.pa.us. Please do not share a link.

 

4.      You will not be teaching the lesson but be prepared to defend the lesson plan based on Charlotte Danielson’s Framework for Teaching.

 

5.      You will be expected to lead the panel through the BYOT component. Panel will have various devices with internet access.

 

6.      The interview should last no more that 45 minutes. Questions about your lesson plan should take 15-20 minutes as should the technology walkthrough. The remainder of the time may include additional questions or discussions.

The team felt that this scenario allowed us to see whether a candidate had the skills to create an appropriately rigorous lesson, the ability to integrate technology, and knowledge of using differentiation. Those were all things that the team felt were important.

All of this being said, We won’t know maybe for a couple of years how successful we were. Sometimes I wonder if we put too much time into this process when we may be better off choosing at random or flipping a coin. I don’t know.

I’d love to hear from others about how they handle the hiring process with teachers. What kind of questions do you ask? Have you considered alternatives to the traditional interview?

The Status Quo

There is a key point that I always keep in mind when hiring new teachers: We do not want the teacher we hire to become more like us; we want our school to become more like them. The gist of that statement comes form Todd Whitaker in his book What Great Principals Do Differently or maybe it was from a presentation I heard him do but either way I’ve always attributed the thought to him.

By this tenet I want to be an organization that continually grows. I never want to become stagnant in the way we think or the way we interact. New blood allows us all to become better; challenges us to change for the betterment of our kids. While I’m a proponent of allowing autonomy among the teachers, I also understand that everyone has an impact on everyone else. Ask not for whom the bell tolls…and all that! Which leads me to the status quo and this blog post by Greg Miller: You Weren’t Hired to Maintain the Status Quo.

The post came at a very important time for me. Having just completed interviews for a teaching position I was left with the undesirable decision of whether to hire a new graduate or an applicant who had extensive substituting experience in the district. I chose the candidate that best fit my tenet from above: Which candidate do we want our school to be more like? While I will hang my hat on the fact that the best applicant for our students was chosen, it was still one of the hardest phone calls I’ve ever had to make. The easy decision would have been to hire from the substitute pool but the interview team felt that this applicant made our school better and I couldn’t disagree. In Dr. Miller’s blog he quotes Dr. Justin Tarte, “You weren’t hired to maintain the status quo; you were hired to make a difference and make an impact.”

Dr. Tarte and Dr. Miller were using that statement to talk about hiring teachers. It is also important to remember as administrators. Whoever hired us didn’t do so because we were exactly like the last person. We were hired to make our schools and districts better. We were hired because someone thought we could make an impact. We were hired because we are risk takers and capacity builders.  We were hired because we love kids and someone believed that these kids deserved us. We should never lose sight of that. Sometimes that means making the tough choices. It means upsetting someone as well as the status quo. It means always making the students the focus of your decision making. And it means that sometimes people aren’t going to like us.

Another motivational guy on Twitter, Salome Thomas-El put it this way:

 

That sounds tough but it’s true. Our jobs aren’t easy and we shouldn’t need to be told that. We chose to be the people who have to make tough decisions and as long as we are making the right decisions for the right reasons we should be able to sleep at night. All of us know people who have chosen not to take that step into administration. This is a big reason why. Does it make me feel good that every year I have fewer friends? Not really. Is it easy for me to see my wife’s disappointment when community members avoid her? Not at all. Does it make me feel good that I am making decisions that positively impact students? You bet.

Besides that, I like dogs.

For Hattie on Graduation

When I think about everything that has happened over the last 18 years, I am amused, honored and amazed. I know it is cliche but it really does go fast. If I only had one piece of advice for you it would be this:  Live in the moment! Don’t forget that this is the only life that you have and probably the most important thing is to suck the joy, pain, fun, sadness out of every moment. All of those things are what makes us who we are and they all have a purpose. One of the few regrets in life is that I worried about important moments and never really sat back and felt them. Living the moment is important.

 

I also want to say that you have come a long way, from a student who experienced some early difficulties to an honor student and a member of the National Honor Society – I never would have guessed it. That is the thing that I am most proud of today. Your athletic ability was a gift to me that made my life more enjoyable over the past several years but truly your hard work academically impresses me so much more. No one gets to have everything but you went out and worked to get what you needed; what you wanted. Being gritty is important.

 

One thing that I want you to know about today: This is your graduation from high school. It is a great thing to celebrate but remember it is only an interval of where you are going. For some kids today may be the apex of their lives. For you, my hope is that you will understand that this is but one major event in your life and the greatness will continue. Mackenzie’s Nono, Mr. B, once told our class that if he saw us in ten years walking down the sidewalk with our varsity jackets on he would know that he had failed. He wanted high school to be our springboard into great futures. All the high school accomplishments are considerable but they don’t amount to anything in the real world if you don’t continue to grow. Growing is important!

I love you and like any parent I want you to have it all. Over the next few years you will grow more and more independent. You will continue to live every moment, you will continue to be gritty and you will continue to grow. Through all of that remember that I am always here for you but not as a crutch. Your life from now on will be what you choose to make of it. Make good choices, make good friends, and make good connections. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, don’t be afraid to take chances, don’t be afraid to live out loud but always remember that your dad is only a phone call away and he will always be your biggest fan.

Running for Answers

Image

 

Harrisburg Marathon Start 2008 by the author

On Saturday morning I went out for a little 17 mile run. Sure, 17 miles seems like a long way. Further, I would guess than most people drive to work in the Northeast. Further than most people have to travel to a proper grocery store. But I was running it. And running it quite well for a 46 year old guy. As I ran, I started to contemplate how I got here. Who in the hell voluntarily runs 17 miles? I have never been an athlete but I have done the marathon distance before – twice. Why? Not sure about that. But the following is what I thought about during that run:

Over 20 years ago at the age of 25 I decided I was out of shape and aging faster than I wanted to. I started getting in to running. I went out and bought a pair of “cross trainers.” Now anyone who is reading this that considers themselves a runner knows that you can’t be a runner in cross trainers. I was green and in those days I didn’t even know what questions to ask. I started out humbly, not even able to run a mile. I bought my first pair of running shoes and eventually I got up to where I could run three miles without falling down. I thought I was in great shape. I entered by first 5K. 3.1 miles. I was an athlete now! I could do this. I ran 27:56. Which if you are not a runner is precisely 9 minutes per mile. I thought that was awesome. I got beat by old ladies and guys who had a hitch in their giddy up. I had no idea how slow I actually was. I was embarrassed and determined to get better. Eventually I ran a personal record of 22:47. Not many years after that first 5K, I read an article about training for a marathon. It didn’t sound that difficult. So, just a month after my 31st birthday I ran my first marathon and followed that up with a second marathon the following year.

So 14 years after that second marathon, what am I doing on a country road 8 miles into a 17 mile run and seemingly in pretty damn good shape? Well that is another story that will wait for another time but I did begin to contemplate what I have learned from running and why I felt relatively good for an old man training for his first marathon in over a decade.

  1. It’s easier to run a marathon than it is to train for one. Marathon training is long, boring runs on early Saturday mornings with no one cheering you on. Marathon courses are usually lined with people and other competitors and they give you food and drink along the way. You don’t get that in training. The lesson: The hard work is usually done behind the scenes. What gets you to the show is the practice, the studying, the time you have committed to your goal.
  2. Running a marathon is mentally more difficult than it is physical. Sure, there are morning when I can’t walk down the steps because my calves are inflamed. There are nights when I can’t sleep because my hips hurt so badly. But the worst thing is allowing your brain to convince your body that this won’t kill you. It takes a strong, positive mind to get yourself out of bed on a cold Saturday morning, hit the road and keep moving. Lesson: Much like above. There are times when you are working towards a goal and you just want to hang it up. It gets too hard. Your professor tells you that you’re not good enough, your family and friends think you;re nuts. The reality is that this is your goal and your work. You get to decide whether it is worth it or not. And you can decide that its not but let it be your choice.
  3. Running hurts and running fast really hurts. Sometimes you have to run fast or do harder workouts to get better. You may get better at these workouts but they will never get easy. Running repeats on a track, doing hill repeats, running 17 miles will never be characterized as easy. Same goes with life. If its getting easy you probably aren’t doing it right. If you are spending too much time in your comfort zone, you are not getting better – at anything.
  4. On the flipside, sometimes you have to go slow. We are in training, we don’t need to kill every workout. Some workouts are for developing stamina and those workouts are slow. Slower usually than marathon pace. Same goes for life. You also need to take the time to relax and enjoy life. Six minutes miles will get you to the finish faster which is good in a race but probably not in a life.
  5. Training for this marathon I feel much better physically than I did 14 years ago and I’m running the same if not slightly faster pace than I did back then. In fact I have run personal records at every distance but the 5K in my 40s. Getting older apparently has its benefits. I have already made the mistakes. At 25 I didn’t know what questions to ask. In my 30s and now in my 40s I have made the mistakes and learned from them. I have asked the questions and had them answered. The lesson is that there really is no replacement for experience. Easily the best teacher in many ways. Experience doesn’t necessarily mean that you learned it on your own but it means that you have learned what to ask, where to look for answers, and who to give your trust to.

 

So I’ll keep running, and asking, and answering, and learning

Progress?

Ok, so as I’ve been reminded, the last post that I made promised updates on my progress. It is probably apparent to some that my progress was not what I had hoped. Unlike Niall at Disrupting the Rabblement, I found it very difficult to take time everyday to log my progress. This is probably a habit that I need to develop. My personality doesn’t lend itself well to keeping track of things. I’ve been a runner for more than 20 years and am probably one of the only runners that I know that doesn’t keep track of mileage, times, races, etc. I’ve tried but I lose interest after a couple of weeks. Sometimes it would be nice to be able to compare where I am now as a runner to where I was 20 or 15 years ago but it doesn’t really concern me on a daily basis. Same goes for this daily tracking of habits.

After a couple of weeks of tracking my habits, I realized that it was more stressful than I wanted it to be. Forcing myself to do things rather than letting them flow and doing them because I want to leads to a modicum of stress. I posted a new photo on my blog for two plus years. It was a great experience and really helped to improve my photography. After awhile though it gets stressful to constantly be looking for a shot that is good enough to post on a daily basis. I have considered in the past few years running another marathon. At some point, the tress of knowing that you have to run takes the enjoyment out of running. I didn’t want this to be stressful, I wanted it to be rewarding.

After some thought I decided that there were two things that I really wanted to do. Train for a marathon and practice Spanish. On those two fronts I did pretty well. With the exception of the few days that I was ill in January, I have run at least five days a week and have worked my long run up to 14 miles. Given the weather in the US this winter, it is probably obvious to many runners that many of these miles are on the treadmill. On the Spanish frontier, I have been using a program called Duolingo. Using this program I practiced for 28 days in January including a streak of 19 days in a row. I highly recommend the program and love the back story especially its roots in Pittsburgh. For no cost you can practice online or on the iPhone/iPad app

The one thing that I would like to get better at is limiting the television more often. When I got sick early in January, the only thing I wanted to do was lay around. I didn’t feel much like reading, writing, photography, etc. So I watched TV. The northeastern weather hasn’t helped much either. The snow doesn’t bother me so much but the frigid temps have kept me on the couch more than I had hoped. Excuses, I know. 

The other thing that has kind of slipped is my decision to read more. I have no excuses for not reading more. I’ll get to it.

All of that being said, I’ve decided not to be Niall but to be Jeff. The habit I am going to track are Reading, Running, Spanish, and No TV. I will try to update more often and post photos.

Happy New Year

It’s been a while since I posted. I know. It’s been a busy year and a the end of it has left me with little to add. As I reflect on the year I realize that I abandoned the blog because it wasn’t really making a difference. I wasn’t really saying anything new. I read blogs all the time and there is a lot of conversation about what is wrong with education, what is wrong with the world and they aren’t really creating change. Maybe some people feel better by complaining about what suck about this and that but it just makes me more distressed. 

I’m not big on making New Year’s resolutions but the new year has just seem to come when I feel the need to make some changes in my life. Nothing big. I just want to concentrate more on the things that I enjoy doing and be more involved in helping people and the world.

I’ve been following a blog by Niall Doherty called Disrupting the Rabblement for a couple of years. Niall is attempting to travel the world without flying. He’s not a billionaire or a millionaire. He pretty much does it on a shoestring. A great voyeuristic adventure for me to read but a little out of my current level of comfort. Anyway, one thing that Niall does is track his monthly activity in several areas that he calls habits and also charts his daily sense of his own energy, contentment, stress and productivity. I’ve decided to adopt this practice for my own to see how it works. You can see my spreadsheet here.

On my chart I intend to keep track of the following:

1. Time awake and time asleep = hours of sleep per day

2. No. of days and how many miles run – I’m training for the Pittsburgh Marathon in May

3. Days doing Yoga and other exercise.

4. Days practicing Spanish, days volunteering, days reading, days writing, and days posting a photo to my other blog. All things that I wish I did more of.

5. Score myself on a 1-10 basis on energy level, productivity, contentment and stress level. This is more for the science to see if there is a relationship between some activities and these scores. I don’t intend to spend much time contemplating the score but just making a snap decision.

6. Score myself from 1-10 on my social behavior. Not my social media behavior but being sociable with others. This is something that I struggle with.

7. Days completing a “key activity.” The key activity will be one thing that I want to accomplish during that day. It will also be something that I would put off if I didn’t track it or make myself do it.

One idea that I have kicked around in order to add time for these things is to eliminate TV. Not sure if that is going to happen or not but the amount of time that I waste watching crappy television robs me of the opportunity to do some of these other things.

I hope some people follow along to see my progress!