Category Archives: Life Online

Resolutions galore!

Who has made their new year’s resolution? I’m still wondering what mine shall be. Normally they’re quite easy to keep because I always resolve not to make one because I just break them. This is because they usually involve dieting, exercise, more work-life balance etc.

Again, I haven’t made a definitive resolution but rather set myself some goals. One of these is still about trying to achieve a better work-life balance but this is already going to be an up-hill struggle because my work is my obsession. However, in an attempt to succeed I’m going to share them with you. Some goals are professional goals and some are personal (there’s a balance already!)

For those of you who have read my bio, you’ll know that one of my neglected hobbies is field archery. This year I’ve decided get back into it slowly concentrating on marked distances only when allows me to concentrate on my form and just enjoy the day.

But my main goal, by way of maintaining blogging momentum, is to set myself a specific time each week to write at least one blog post and to make better use of Evernote for drafting these. I’ve started a logical plan (a bit late as it has been a year since starting blogging). If I get the time to blog more than once a week then, hey – I’ve exceeded my own expectations.

Is that balanced enough?

What’s your new year’s resolution?

And the nominees are…

Purple Learning’s top tools for 2010

A Happy New Year to one and all. For my first post of 2011 I thought I’d look back on my 2010.

2010 was a year of firsts for me:

  • 1. I started Tweeting
    2. I started blogging
    3. I got my first iPhone
    4. I delivered my first presentation to a room full of strangers
  • It won’t come as any surprise to you all then to hear what my top tools for 2010 were!

    One that has to be near the top of the list is Twitter which has proved to be an invaluable professional development tool. It’s been nearly a year since I began my Twitter journey and I will review my first year at another time.

    The others, in no particular order are:

    WordPress which I use for my blog
    Evernote – very useful for collating my research articles and planning my blog posts
    Hootsuite – helps me manage my social media posts
    Google calendar – to share with friends and colleagues
    Feedly and Google Reader to help collate my blog subscriptions
    PowerPoint 2007 (not yet got 2010)

    The overall number one tool for me in 2010 though has got to be my iPhone (although other smart phones are available) which has helped me use my beloved Twitter at more convenient times. Snatches in between sessions, waiting for a train, sat in the dentist’s waiting room – always connected. Before my iPhone, it was often inconvenient and frustrating to use Twitter. Although I could access it from my normal mobile phone via text, it was cumbersome and using it on my laptop meant I was probably interrupting some other piece of work I should have been concentrating on.

    My smart phone gives me easy access not only to Twitter but to my top tools as listed above and:

      e-mails (all accounts)
      my contacts and calendars
      all blogs I subscribe to
      my Amazon account
      video snippets on YouTube
      podcasts
      my Skype account
      a collection of online newspapers
      my Kindle collection

    In fact, I will go as far as to say, my iPhone has become my mobile office.

    What are my predictions for top tools in 2011? Well, I’m guessing my new Kindle I had for Christmas might be playing a big part in 2011 for me. My iPhone, of course will still be there as the contract doesn’t come to an end until 2012. It is debatable whether I will stay with the iPhone – but smartphones are here to stay.

    A year blogging

    Well, it’s been nearly a year since I began blogging which was a new year’s resolution I actually kept. I’m afraid the one about maintaining a healther lifestyle as usual didn’t last long at all – no surprise there then!

    So how have I found blogging during the last 12 months? It’s been mixture. Firstly, I was apprehensive and very quickly got writer’s block in that as soon as I sat down with my laptop in front of me, all the little ideas that came to me in the strangest of places, disappeared and I couldn’t think what to write. I was also anxious. Anxious that people wouldn’t like what I wrote – even worse – people wouldn’t read what I wrote. I became worried. Worried that not only would I struggle to think of something to write but struggle to find the time.

    After a little talk with myself (I do that quite a lot) and a little grounding from friends and fellow bloggers, I set myself some ground rules (in no particular order)

    1. Aim for one blog a week
    2. Not to beat myself up if I couldn’t achieve this
    3. Jot down ideas for blogs as they come to me
    4. Share my opinions on other people’s posts from my own perspective as I would if discussing them with a friend or colleague
    5. Share any hints or tips that have helped me
    6. Write as naturally as I speak (within reason!)
    7. Be nice even when I disagree
    9. Write as if everyone is listening
    10. Accept that maybe no-one will

    What have I learned from the whole blogging experience?

    I’ve learned to keep a record of my ideas in one place. I have two tools to help me with this. I have a notebook I carry around with me where I will write down any little thing that comes to mind and write rough notes or even a first draft. I have also found Evernote invaluable and as I speak (sorry – write), I am drafting this in Evernote now. The beauty of Evernote is that it synchs across platforms which means if I have access to the internet, I can log on and write. It also allows me to collate any research I need for my blog posts.

    I’ve learned to speed up my writing process – although I still struggle with this. “I didn’t have time to write a short letter so I wrote a long one instead” a quote often attributed to Mark Twain (amonst others) is so me.

    Blogging has helped me analyse and consolidate. I’m a magpie with information. I was in danger of just collecting great stories, statistics, presentations and hiding them away in my Evernote library – where they sat. I do that with books too. It’s almost like if I collect enough books I might absorb their riches by osmosis! I would read but not always analyse. Blogging has helped me analyse and make sense of things. It has helped me form my own opinions and reasoning.

    More importantly, I’ve learned to believe in myself, in my experience and in my abilities a lot more.

    If you haven’t thought about blogging before. Go on – jump in with both feet. I wholeheartedly recommend it. And if you have started blogging recently I would love to hear your tips and experiences.