July 24, 2010

GETinsight | Clearing the decks for the year ahead: Productivity for Creativity

I've just posted a new piece at GETideas on how we can all prepare for the year ahead, and make sure that we keep on top of things, so that we have more time and energy for more creative practice throughout the year. You can read the full piece on the GETideas.org site and join me for a live phone or web chat this Tuesday to share your own tips.

Where Do Good Ideas Come From? Using Quiet Times to Prepare for the Year Ahead

For teachers, the summer vacation is often seen as the quiet time of year that they might find a moment, after the sand, sea and switching off, to start preparing for the year ahead. We can head off potential problems, the rest brings some of our most creative ideas to light, and we have that rare commodity – time – to think about how we could best teach particular areas of work.

School leaders don’t have that same stretch of time, but with fewer fire-fights to tackle in our classrooms and schools there is a chance to block out some thinking time of our own.   However, as some of Jim Spillane’s research on principals’ and Head Teachers’ working habits shows, we can in education spend too much time working alone on the wrong things.

Here are the headings of my top eight ‘mind hacks’ that some of the most inspirational and creative leaders I know have drawn out of their work:

1.    Clear your decks for the next year (GTD)

2.    One must-do activity a day

3.    Set aside "Desk Time"

4.    Don't Procrastinate

5.    Getting rid of "Extraneous Pillars"

6.    Kill assumptions: Only do stuff you want to do

7.    Do, don't think

8.    Abandon the quest for perfection

You can read the full piece on the GETideas.org site and join me for a live phone or web chat this Tuesday to share your own tips.


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I definately recommend that anyone who likes this article also read Tim Ferris book the 4 Hour Work Week.

Very nice post.

Thank you.

I agree with Tim: very very nice post!

I have taken on a private project this summer, so private my wife doesn't know. She is an awesome teacher that needs some new ideas on how to "get through" to her students. She doesn't take my ideas with grace, so I have taken the summer off and have focused on taking her to functions that are more youth oriented to see different ways kids relate and communicate in a non-school environment. We have been interacting with different youth functions and taken learning classes along with the kids. A real learning experiment.
Thanks for your articles - we have been doers all summer.

Sounds great, and thanks for leaving a word or two here to let me know. Maybe see you later on tonight at the live discussion?

Great information and I really like your 'mind hacks'! Thanks for posting.

Thanks for this post. The list you gave are good tips.

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About Ewan

Ewan McIntosh is a teacher, speaker and investor, regarded as one of Europe’s foremost experts in digital media for public services.

His company, NoTosh Limited, invests in tech startups and film on behalf of public and private investors, works with those companies to build their creative businesses, and takes the lessons learnt from the way these people work back into schools and universities across the world.

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Do you worry that your school or district could better harness its people, digital technology or physical space? Do you want some actionable inspiration, a mentor for a learning journey with your staff?

In a keynote or masterclass we can give them concrete ideas based on experience, enthusiasm fired by a vision of what can be, and backup before and after to make it happen for them.

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