My time as a teacher has made me a better blogger, but it has nothing to do with subject matter and everything to do with organizational skills. Here are three tips that help me as a teacher that also apply to being a blogger.
Image: torange-biz via Flickr
Prepare for the Next Day
When I started teaching seven years ago, my mentor shared with me plenty of her golden rules. Among them was this: prepare for tomorrow, today. The concept was simple enough: never walk out the door without being ready for the next day.
I adopted the habit quickly and it's done wonders for my productivity when teaching, and now when blogging. In fact, the last thing I do before I go to bed, is set up for the next day.
Whether it's finalizing my to-do list, scheduling my social media shares, or just laying out my favorite pen to write with, I end my day by doing something for tomorrow. It makes my morning run smoothly, knowing that one task is already done before my day even begins.
Use Time Wisely
Teachers are masters of structured time. From years of experience, I've learned that every second in a classroom must be filled with activities -- something to keep students' minds active and avoid downtime. Downtime means boredom, and boredom leads to unproductivity.
This is even truer when it comes to writing and blogging. Distractions run rampant with technology. A laptop, a tablet, even a phone offers plenty of diversions, and I'm no angel. Too often, I've been a known to fall into the abyss of emails and social media when I'm supposed to be working.
Therefore, creating structured time is something that I still attempt daily. Whether it's finishing a chapter from my novel or writing an upcoming post, I find a way to eliminate my distractions, even for just a fraction of my time.
Tactics such as placing my phone and tablet in a different room, or disconnecting my computer from wifi are just a few options I've been known to take. This keeps me focused on just my words and my thoughts; nothing more. It was tough at the beginning, but I'm slowly getting used to it.
Unplugging gives me at least a productive hour or two, enough to write a first draft of a post, or a few paragraphs of a chapter.
Lesson plans are what drives instruction in the classroom, and it takes finesse and years of practice to establish successful planning for each class. However, I've learned from experience, that plans can't be too meticulous; there has to be some room for the unexpected.
An unscheduled safety drill, a power outage, or even just a malfunctioning equipment can send the rest of your lesson into a tailspin, but having that room for improvisation, for the elusive Plan B will always allow you and your students to move forward.
The same can be said for blogging. Since I work from home, I schedule my hours around my daughter's nap times, play times and her rare quiet times. Though it works wonders for me most days, there are times when my schedule goes awry such as when Little Lady refuses a nap, when we lose power for 36 hours, when a short bout with a cold puts me to bed early.
Life happens, even if it's blog worthy or not. The best way to handle it is to have a Plan B. For me that's saving links of past pieces to share on Twitter, or a backup post that can be published and shared from the comforts of my tablet. This way, if the unexpected happens, my absence won't be as noticeable.
There's also the option of simply riding out the storm; of enjoying the impromptu break and just letting go of the uncontrollable. No matter what options you take, just make sure that you leave room for a little life to happen.
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