The US political establishment

While I’ve enjoyed being excessively busy this week, the political fabric of the US unravels.

The two party system is crumbling.

Both parties have serious contenders whose platforms only vaguely resemble party orthodoxy. While it’s a change I whole heartedly support, it will take courage to see the process through. Let’s hope it stays civil and peaceful.

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Procrastinate and binge

I don’t count time management as one of my strengths. ‘Procrastinate and binge’ would best characterize my creative routines. That worked alright as a music student in university and when I was single and often had entire weekends of free time to fritter away.

Now, with a family including two young children and a career as an international elementary school teacher, free time is a precious commodity.

I have designs on writing a novel, articles for my teaching blog, documentation and reflection for my teaching portfolio, music, learning, etc. All of that adds up to a sizable cognitive load that won’t easily fill the tiny gaps between family and work. If I wish to accomplish any of my creative goals, I need to plan a routine to retrain myself to work more efficiently within a limited timetable.

I have the same number of hours in a day as Thomas Edison and JS Bach, so I know there is time if I can devise a system for using it.

The first step in this process was to input all of my ‘to dos’ into an app called Any.do. Some are daily tasks like writing a journal post, updating social media accounts, or organizing in Evernote. Some are weekly like checking in to a MOOC or publishing a blog post. Each day starts with about twenty five.

Next, I created a personal Google Form to log the number of ‘to dos’ remaining at the end of each day. Although up until now, I’ve mostly added new tasks to my list. It’s taking some time to get used to, but I can sense that I will start finding new ways to tick off boxes every day.

Between those two tools, I expect to find ways to build the kinds of creative habits that will lead to the creative flow I hope for.

I need a hobby.

Realized that I don’t do anything purely for fun. Must be a byproduct of being very serious about many aspirations.

I enjoy writing and making music, but they always feel like work.

Preferably something outdoors and with other people, my wife in particular. Golf comes to mind, or tennis. Hiking? Perhaps integrating photography? Gardening? Not in Tokyo. Maybe some form of making like pottery?

Suggestions welcome!

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Flu day

I don’t have the flu, but there is a flu epidemic in Japan at the moment and my school leadership has decided to close the school on Monday in an attempt to prevent further infection. A very wise decision that I support on many levels.

We need to slow down. This culture of working through illness is partially to blame for illness in the first place! Sick people, stay home!

Fine, I’ll stay home for you. Not sad about it.

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February 14, 2016 at 09:08AM

‘#ValentinesDay is about love and #chocolate. We always have lots of love, and today we have lots of chocolate!’

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Preview of Spring

We thought we were heading out for a winter stroll this morning, but ended up stripping off our coats while Ren rode around the neighborhood park and Ray charmed anyone who happened to look in his direction.

Obviously a preview of what promises to be a fun outdoorsy end of winter.

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Artificial jet lag

Mind still reeling from #gafesummit, the education technology conference featuring Google Apps for Education. Felt jet lagged despite having stayed in one time zone so resolved to go to bed early last night and succeeded. Thanks to Yuka for that! So strange to feel simultaneously motivated and exhausted.

Brought my inspiration to school by introducing Quizizz, which had the students crawling over themselves to answer questions about evolution and natural selection.

Biggest takeaway, though, was that I completed my first formal conference presentation! I fumbled pretty badly with the dual screen presentation format and ended up not even using it, but attendees seemed as engaged as one could expect in the last session of a weekend education conference. I know I wasn’t the only one back in the classroom on Monday morning.

Looking forward to a weekend at home.

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