Monday, March 21, 2016

The Switcheroo

Last week I made a big change in my life. I bought a new phone and it wasn't an iPhone. I decided to try something new. I purchased the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge phone. This is my first Samsung phone since the SGH-i607 Blackjack model I owned before my first iPhone.

From The Indiana Express:
http://indianexpress.com/photos/technology-gallery/samsung-galaxy-s7-s7-edge-gear-360-gear-vr/
I was interested in a phone with a larger screen size, more memory, a better video camera, and features I wasn't used to in my previous phones. I was open to any phone when I visited my local phone store as long as my grandfathered-in unlimited data plan wasn't altered.

It wasn't a malicious decision either. I have enjoyed using my iPhones over the years. I still use a Macbook and an iPad for work.

But I also continue to use a Windows PC and a Chromebook.

I have had some heated response from friends and colleagues on social media about the switch. People are really hung up on their favorite device.

Here's a little secret about me......I use them all. I work completely in the cloud. ALL my files are virtual.

I will still use my dual screen Windows PC at work.
I will continue to use Microsoft Office.
I will continue to use Google Drive.
I will also continue to use Adobe Creative Suite.
I will also continue to use OSX and iOS.
I will also use my Chromebook.
I will now use my Android phone.

Working in the cloud makes me device agnostic. I will work with any of them. It really doesn't matter which one it is, I will use it if it helps me get my work completed.

I think there is a complacency among those of us associated with technology and change to select 1 device or 1 operating system to rule over them all. But in reality (at least for me), I have to use all of them. I admit I enjoyed the Apple Kool-aid for a while but I also enjoyed reading what the rest of the market was doing with OS and phone changes. Each one improving on the last one's ideas. You have to admit, the phone of today has so much power in our hands no matter which one you use (yes, Jitterbug, even you).

Keeping up with the market means I am happy to hear when your phone or your device gets an upgrade. I celebrate that with you. It is great for ALL of us! I really don't care which one you use. But people get ridiculously heated about THEIR favorite one. They will slam people and these companies because they hate them so much. They may not have ever used the device themselves but they have opinions on those who use them and the devices as well.

In a time when we face world hunger, disease, famine, flood, death, cancer, etc. - is the argument of iPhone vs. Android or Windows really worth getting into?!

I am device agnostic. I will use Microsoft, Google, Apple, Android, iPhone, iPad, Chromebook, Windows, Adobe, etc. as needed. I actually enjoy them all. They all help me be successful. And I am excited to learn something new in the Android system. Perhaps learning something new will help me support my Android teachers and students better than before!

So far, I am not pushing the right buttons on my phone. They are not in the same location as where I am used to them. I downloaded an antivirus for my phone which was a first too. I love the Edge screen. I love being able to add storage memory to hit as well. I am learning!

PS: I did get to keep my unlimited data plan in the transition. Here's a helpful tip: don't purchase phones through your service providers. They will try to sell you a new plan. Go to an electronic store to get the phone. They can't really touch your plan unless you want to move from one carrier to another. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

One Word



Tomorrow, our leadership team will be discussing the book One Word that will Change Your Life by Jon Gordon, Dan Britton, and Jimmy Page (no Led Zeppelin affiliation). It is a short read.

The idea is to select one word to be your focus forward for the year. You are to pick a new word each year and cannot recycle previous ones. It is a great reminder to spend time in silence thinking of your goals and things you want to accomplish. It is timely with the New Year's resolutions not far behind to help determine this one word.

I was reminded of meditation techniques involving assigning a mantra (a sound or word) to help someone achieve their meditative state by repetition and clearing of the mind. Having a one-word focus helps clear the cobwebs and craziness of the world around you to hyperfocus on this one element, goal, drive, purpose, or failsafe to connect you back to your internal focus.

Instead of just reading this book and choosing a word, I decided to follow what the authors outline to help you discover your word. They recommend turning off your electronics and spending time in silence to listen for God or the universe to deliver the word.

I spent some time tonight in silence without distraction. I wrote down a few words that came into my head:

Enjoy
Need
Simple
Essential
Cherish
Present
Mindful

I decided to focus on MINDFUL.

Mindful is when a person can truly be living in their moment by being present in the experience of it. I think of cooking and taking the time to savor a bite. Enjoying the flavors, scent, and textures of each morsel.

I am mindFULL - not mindful.

My mind is constantly jumping from past to future. It is rare for me to be in the moment. I jump to regrets from the past to fears of the future. I tangent to other conversations. I grab my phone to look up an email or check a calendar date. In conversations, I am involved in an internal monologue about what to say next or connecting what is said to conversations from the past.

It is rare for me to be in the moment. I can turn off my phone but my thoughts bounce around. I am not enjoying the moment while I am physically in it. So I am working on being mindful and taking time to cherish the moment I am in.

Anyone else have their One Word? I'd love to hear it and your story behind it.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Healthy Resolutions and The Secret Simmons

I know this isn't a "digital learning" post but it about change and ways to motivate practical change in an organization. And I hope this idea can be replicated and shared in other places so feel free to take any of these ideas and use them as you wish. No credit required!

Each year brings on new resolutions about health and fitness for me and many of my colleagues. We all talk about it daily. We all have our own diet regimen, our own exercise plan, and a sometimes willful push to get together as a small group to "walk the track" that never seems to come to fruition.

We get bogged down with meetings. We forget to bring our workout shoes. We have a family emergency. We get tired. The routine of change doesn't stick.

We lose momentum.

This year, I am leading the charge in our administrative offices to apply practical steps for goal setting and group motivation so we can all help each other out with our various health and fitness changes. Surely as a group, we can extend our behavioral and diet changes to last beyond the expected fail date at the end of February!

First Step: Goal Setting & Sharing
With any change, there is a point where you must define your goals, your action steps, your achievement dates/check-in points, and the rewards for completion of those goals. In setting health and fitness goals, people normally just set the goal of "I need to lose weight" or "I need to exercise more" without quantifying what that actually means. And here we are in education where we set tangible goals measured by actual data all the time. So let's apply this to our own personal progress.

Our guide for goal setting includes these questions:
1. Why do you want to achieve your goal(s)?
2. What is your health goal?
3. List action steps and achievement dates (gave 3 blanks)
4. What are your challenges in achieving these goals?
5. How can someone at work best support you to meet your goals?
6. What rewards have you set for yourself along the way?

This information collection is on one piece of paper for participants to complete and save for their own records. I respect confidentiality so I didn't want to have anyone feel they had to turn anything in if they felt it was too personal. Then this goal sheet could be posted near their desk if they wanted it for self-guidance.


Second Step: Group Support
The second page of our goal-setting had questions more oriented toward building a group dynamic exercise plan. By knowing what apps or wearable technology our participants use, we can build competition and support inside the apps for the products used by the same participants. We can also look at finding a shared workout space for all the various videos, unwanted weights/machines, etc. to share together for after hour workouts. No funding required!

1, List any wearable technology you are using to help with your fitness goals (ex. fitbit, garman, nike+, misfit, etc.)
2. List any websites/apps you are using to help with your fitness goals (ex. weight watchers, loseit, myfitnesspal, etc.)
3. Would you be interested in exercising with coworkers after hours? If so list options of interest (ex. walking, Zumba, yoga, etc.)
*This question does not offer a before work time because we do not have a space for showering on site. I limited it to after-hours to prevent the need to provide a place for showering (which would require funding).
4. What days would you most likely be able to commit to each week?
5. Do you have any exercise equipment you would be willing to donate if we built a central office workout area? If so what? Note to include physical exercise equipment and/or DVD/workout videos.
6. Would you be willing to serve on a committee or donate your time outside of the normal work day to develop a central office workout area? If so, write your name below.
**This is the only identifier on page 2 of the form. I made this the option for the information in case anyone wanted to complete the other areas of information gathering without identifying themselves.

I am truly proud of the last ingredient for our social fitness resolution support: The Secret Simmons.

I am sure you are familiar with the "Secret Santa" concept which is usually only used during the weeks leading up to holiday break. You submit your name and a list of your favorite things to be randomly drawn by other participants and you all become recipients of secret gift exchanges.

Well, we have created the Secret Simmons here which uses the same concept but extended for the entire semester where gift exchanges are simply secret motivations to keep up with your health/fitness goals. It doesn't have to be a tangible gift. It doesn't have to be given on a specific day. The idea is you are randomly assigned someone to motivate from now through May 20 by completing a survey with your health goal. You could send notes of encouragement to your recipient or you could send them bags of almonds and healthy snacks. It is really up to you.

Our Secret Simmons form includes these survey questions:
1. Name
2. Your health goal:
3. Any food allergies?
4. Favorite healthy snacks?
5. Favorite healthy drink?
6. Gym/Fitness Club membership? - some offer gift cards/incentive points
7. Restaurant most often visited?
8. Reward you plan to treat with?
9. Do you collect anything?
10. Favorite workout music?
11. Favorite color to wear?

Our first meeting will be this afternoon where this is presented to our central office/administrative staff. I will post in comments how it proceeded and overall responses to it.

Again, I hope this post is helpful to you and whatever organization you work in as a possible motivation toward good health planning as a group or individually. Good luck and stay the course toward great health! Cheers!