Posts in Blogging
Six Blogs Every School Leader Should Read
Photo courtesy of FDP

Photo courtesy of FDP

Taking a page from Chris Brogan, founder of Owner Magazine, I decided to make 2014 the year of "RVR".  What's that?  Simply put, each letter stands for a different word that I'm trying to practice each day.  They are:

Routine

Vision

Riches

While I'm not going to go into the detail of each word or why I chose these three, suffice it to say that each means a lot to me and represents something I'm trying to work on.  As a school leader, the first word really rings true.

School people are all about routine. Most that I work with get into work at the same time each day, arrange their day the same way each day and do their work moving from one routine to the next.  Homeroom leads to period one leads to a bell which leads to period two and so on.

For me, routine runs throughout my day but it also is important with how I begin my day.  Here's what it looks like for and average day:

  • Wake up at 5:15am
  • Make coffee
  • Go to my home study and have devotions
  • Read & journal
  • Shower
  • Head to work by 6:30am

The reading part is something I've made very concrete and directly linked to my "R" for routine.  I read the same blogs every day and check the same websites in a particular order.  While this may seem strange (I've head that before!), it grounds me and keeps my days pointing towards a similar direction.  

I suggest six blogs that are helpful for school folk:

  1. Michael Hyatt - Michael is the best leader I know at productivity and platform building (something educators can do better).
  2. The Energy Project - Tony Schwartz reminds us to work smarter each day.
  3. Michael Sliwinski - The founder of Nozbe, Michael offers heartfelt advice for getting more out of your work. (you can try Nozbe for free here)
  4. The Atlantic / Education section - Sometimes controversial and always thought provoking, The Atlantic is all about learning and teaching.
  5. MindShift - MindShift is the #1 blog for schools and offers several posts per week that challenge the way schools have been "doing school" for the past fifty years.
  6. Eduleadership - Justin Baeder offers practical advice on hiring good teachers, observing them fairly and increasing your productivity.  

These are what I read every day.  What's on your digital bookshelf?

The Case for Brevity
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“If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself.” Enstein

When was the last time you read through a blog post and really enjoyed it?  I mean, actually read it through and got to the final call to action?  

For me, it was a post somewhere between Joshua Becker's Why We Work and a Will Richardson riff on the problems with the Common Core initiative that is raging through our schools.  I'm drawn to both of their subject areas (simplicity and education reform, respectively) but more than that, I was delighted to be reading through something rather than scanning it.

In both cases, Becker and Richardson kept things brief and to the point.  I learned something and was challenged just enough to reflect on the subject.   

There's an awful lot of noise out there and, if we're honest, "in here".  Our minds can be just as noisy as an open cube workspace.  Maybe it's time to cut down on your words and turn on the active listening that most people crave.   

When was the last time that you considered brevity as an important part of your writing?   How about in your conversations with others?

Photo courtesy of FDP

 

How You Can Help The Daily Saint Blog Today

Yesterday I had the privilege of attending one of Michael Hyatt's public seminars at Merrimack College.  Being back in Red Sox country was good enough but to then see one of today's best thought leaders speak took the cake.  

The topic was platform building and the role of social media.  The CEO of Hubspot was also present and got us laughing after Michael set the table for the day.

Some of the day's best quotes from Michael included:

 

"Build your platform before you need it"


"Everyone has a megaphone in today's world"


"Are you committed to wow?"


"There are only a few things you do really well- the rest are candidates for delegation"


"If I could afford it, what would I offload to someone else?"


"Big goals are compelling to other people"


"Perfectionism is the mother of procrastination"

 

As I take some time today to process my notes, instead of a regular post I thought I would ask you one question. You can answer in the comments box below.  By answering the question, you'll help me focus my energies on what readers want and need. I appreciate your help.

If you could recommend one area of focus for The Daily Saint blog, what would it be?  (i.e. leadership, education, productivity, spiritual life, etc.)

Photo courtesy of MC

BloggingMike StPierre
5 Blogs I Turn to for Inspiration

People read differently these days.  Google is shutting down Google Reader for RSS subscriptions and Amazon now sells more ebooks than print versions for several years.  I stopped using RSS readers a few years ago when Twitter came on the scene.  There's something about the brevity of Twitter that's good for people on the go.

Now I use Twitter almost exlusively for reading but there are a few excemptions.  I still enjoy going to someone's blog to see what they are up to and to "crack open" their daily posts.  

Who do I turn to for insight?  Read on...

 

  • Shrinking the Camel- by J.B. Wood, Shrinking the Camel is quite honestly one of the best written blogs there is when it comes to putting faith into work.  J.B. is a master narrator of the events of his life and how God's providence integrates with the most mundane of activities.  A classic post: Thanks for the Lovely Gift Basket.
  • Michael Hyatt- the gold standard for productivity bloggers.  Michael is also a devout Christian- combining both geekness with God.  A classic post: 5 Characteristics of Weak Leaders (and how not to be one)
  • Ron Edmundson- Ron is a pastor of a traditional church and is an incredibly adept blogger.  He finds a way to talk about his church without outing difficult folks.  Always a good read.  A classic post: 10 Things I'm Learning Leading Church Change.
  • Time Management Ninja- written by Craig Jarrow, TMN is all about practical tips and tricks.  With a nod to Apple geeks (just sayin'), TMN is always, and I mean always, useful for decreasing drag on your work systems.  A classic post: 10 Ways to Save Time With Evernote.
  • Michael Nozbe- written by Michael Sliwinski of Nozbe fame, this blog provides a behind-the-scenes look at one of today's best techpreneurs. Michael does business the right way and has created an avid following in the process.  A classic post: Combating Resistance: the 10 Step Productivity Course Recorded.

These sites work for me when I need encouragement along the way.  Where do you turn for inspiration?

Photo courtesy of RE

 

Why You Might Enjoy Using a Text Editor

ByWord.  

Text Wrangler.

Scrivener.

For years I woud hear these words and not only be obvivious to what they meant but also naive as to how they were used.  They are after all, text editors.

Turns out, most serious writers use text editors to crank out volumes of text.  Having been a Microsoft Office user for years and more recently using Apple's Pages program, I really didn't get why someone would turn to a text editor for word processing.

That is of course, until I used one myself.  

"Byword nails that fine line between useful and fiddly with features and options."  David Sparks

Lately I've been using ByWord for Mac and iOS.  It's simple, clean interface makes journaling and blog posts a snap.  From a devotional perspective, my journaling has taken on an almost poetic style and I owe it to ByWord.  No joke, it makes a difference.  My shelves of journals (maybe 10-12 books?) are now in digital version and I can write anytime and basically anywhere.  

What are you using to journal or for daily devotions?

 

Photo courtesy of:

http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=1556

 

Why I Switched from Wordpress to Squarespace

About a month ago I switched from Wordpress to Squarespace.  I couldn't be happier with the move and thought I would share some of the story behind the process.  I had intially heard of Squarespace from David Sparks of MacPower Users podcast.  If it was good enough for David, it might work for me.

Most serious bloggers go to Wordpress rather than away from it so I had to really consider the consequences of such a move.  

 

  • Would I regret the move?
  • Is Squarespace reliable?
  • Would I be able to import the hundreds of posts from The Daily Saint without losing my material?

 

So why the switch?

I was using Standard theme for Wordpress and had no real complaints except for the fact that it was limiting if you didn't know code- which I don't.  I like to write and keep things simple.  

Some guys want to tinker and customize.  Tinkering is cool but customizing code is not something that warms my heart.  To my geek friends, I mean no disrespect.  

My RSS and iTunes components of the old site were messed up and it felt like duct tape and gum were holding it together.  

So I tried the free version of Squarespace and liked the many, many different themes that you could use to publish a professionally looking blog.  

Here's what I like:

  • Aesthetics.  It's important that I love the tools that I use and if you haven't seen Wordpress behind the scenes, it's pretty basic.  Squarespace was built with an eye to making a nice looking website.  The fonts are precise and the color palates make sense.  
  • Metrics.  Built into Squarespace is a quick view of your metrics.  Before I had to use a third party site to track my site's progress.  
  • Security.  No longer do I worry about the site host (some outfit in New York) getting hacked or going down.  Squarespace has real staff that respond quickly to your questions.  
  • Ease of use.  I go to the Squarespace website, log in and get to work.  It's that easy.
  • Import-ability from WP.  I had something like 800 posts from The Daily Saint to import over the Squarespace. They make it very easy and no joke, 100% of my posts were imported in less than 3 minutes.  That's amazing.

 

So far I couldn't be happier.  The real question is, do you like the new site?

 

Photo courtesy of

http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=1708