Saturday, February 9, 2019

Stay away from the "non-apology" apology

Sometimes, I like to tell stories. 

Sometimes I like to get straight to the point. 

Today's post is one of the latter.

Apologies are important. 

Here's why

  • Apologies show that you acknowledge that you made an error. 
  • Apologizing shows that you take responsibility for your behavior. 
  • It shows remorse for behavior that may have hurt another person. 

How to apologize

1. Get straight to the point. 

2. Don't use the word but, such as "I'm sorry, but ___________."

3. Be sincere.

~ ~ Examples of how to apologize ~ ~
I'm terribly sorry for __________. How can I make this right?
        (not getting the paperwork done on time, filling out the  paperwork incorrectly, not planning well, etc.)
I'm sorry to be late. I ____________. (missed the bus, got stuck in traffic, didn't allow enough travel time, got stopped by a teacher on the way here, etc.)
I apologize for what I said earlier.  I'm really sorry. 
I've thought about what you said. I apologize for _______ (what I said, what I did, my actions, etc.)
I heard what happened. I'm sorry.

What if you don't apologize? 

When you don't apologize, you run the risk of damaging relationships. Hurt feelings can grow, creating chasms that may not fully be restored. Trust is broken, and your reputation may suffer. 

Apologies are courageous.

No one likes making mistakes, especially ones that may hurt someone else. When we do take the step to apologize for a mistake, it creates vulnerability and opens us up to shaming, blaming, and possibly even attacks from the person(s) to whom we're apologizing. 

In addition to being vulnerable to another person, apologies can also feel like we're admitting that we're not enough, or inadequate in some way. 

Apologies are opportunities.

When you apologize, you are opening the door to rebuild trust with another person. You are creating an opportunity for dialogue about restoration, and you are creating an opportunity to make amends. 


Don't apologize with the expectation that the other person(s) will forgive you. Prove through your future actions that forgiveness and trust can be earned.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Turn your car into a mobile university

Listening to podcasts has not always been a favorite activity of mine. You see, I enjoy reading the written word. When I have the option of reading a transcript or listening or watching a video, I will always choose the script. 

This is ironic, since I recently started recording a monthly podcast with my friend Allyson Apsey. I have also begun to listen to podcasts in when I'm in my car, even though my first choice is to interact on Voxer. Time permitting, I will listen to podcasts, too, as I try to follow Brian Tracy's advice to turn my car into a "mobile university."

Not happy with the podcast app that is on my iPhone, I started searching for an app to get my favorite podcasts organized. I thought that if I could get them organized in a way that I liked, then I would be more likely to listen. (And it worked!)

As I researched, I learned that these apps are called "podcatchers," and I found one that I really like. 

The Overcast app is orange with a white circle and something that looks like a radio tower in the middle of the circle.  (I keep most frequently-used apps on my first screen. Have you organized your apps like that, too?)

In the images above, you can see the podcasts I've saved in my Overcast app. (The only one you don't see is Rising Tide Radio, the podcast I host with Allyson -- it wouldn't all fit in two images, so I just thought I would note it here.) 

I wanted to share these screenshots with you in case there are some podcasts you want to add to your collection. They're all favorites of mine, but I really enjoy listening to Ali Brown and the women she interviews on Glambition Radio. I've got several blog posts marinating right now based on things I've learned from her podcasts. 

You will see the Glambition Radio podcast at the bottom of each screenshot because that was the last podcast that I listened to. It's another neat feature of the Overcast app so that you can pick up where you left off when you open the app.

I recently added the student-led podcast that my friend Hans Appel started, called Award Winning Culture, so I thought I would show you how easy it is to add and organize podcasts in the Overcast app.

From the main screen, you can click on the "plus sign" in the upper right-hand corner, or even just enter the name of the podcast and do a search.

If you click on the "plus sign," you can then enter the name of the podcast or the URL if you have it.

I entered the name of the podcast, and these are the podcasts that appeared. I then clicked on the Award Winning Podcast,


Then I clicked on "Subscribe," then "Done." The podcast was added to my list.

When you open a podcast from the list, you will see choices for the unplayed episodes or all episodes (played and unplayed.) This is a feature I really like, because I like seeing which ones I have listened to in case I want to re-listen to one vs. listening to a new one. 

When you click on "Settings" for a podcast, you have several options to customize the podcatcher app to your liking. 

In the app, you can also create playlists (I haven't ventured there, yet), choose whether to download or stream episodes, and use Smart Speed. Instead of using 1.5x or 2.0x to speed things up and get chipmunk-like results, Smart Speed dynamically shortens silences in conversations. Voice Boost is another favorite feature of the Overcast app, allowing easier listening by normalizing volumes between voices and when listening in noisy situations. 

Other productivity posts:

**Since taking the screenshots for this post, there are three more awesome podcasts that I've added to my Overcast app: The In Awe podcast by Sarah Johnson, Transormative Principal by Jethro Jones, and My Bad by Jon Harper.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Earbuds vs Interactions: Which one is winning at your school?

My parents bought me AirPods as a Christmas gift, and they have been a GAME CHANGER for me in my workouts. Not having to fight with a cord or be connected to my phone has been awesome! I totally understand the joy of using earbuds to enjoy music, podcasts, Voxer, and more. 

In my world, though, I can't imagine myself going to the grocery store with my AirPods in. I wouldn't wear them at work, and I haven't even worn them when I've taken an Uber somewhere. 

I also know and respect that my world and a teenager's world are different, with different needs and actions.

You may be asking, Where are you going with that, Jennifer? 

All that to say... with two daughters who are young adults, and as an educator in a 1-to-1 school, I could totally relate to Jennifer Gonzalez's tweet in the image below. 

I see this in our school. I see kids in the hallway, cafeteria, and in classrooms with earbuds in their ears.

I shared this image with our staff and asked for their feedback. Here's what some of them said:

“I completely agree- it's a rare treat for my kids to get to have their earbuds in.  I let them do it a good deal last year, and I really ended up questioning myself.  I felt like I was contributing to their inability to communicate well, deal positively with down time- all that stuff.   
So this year, as I've prevented them from having their individual music during independent work, they've questioned me.   
And I've answered with evidence about how our dependence on tech has made us more isolated, and more and more our students are without some vital communication skills as well as the ability to deal with frustration levels.  I tell them that I want them to talk to each other about the content as they work, to be able to ask me questions, that sort of thing.   
Ultimately I realized that last year I was letting the earbuds become my babysitter.  It's harder when I don't let them have the music during all independent work, but that's ok.  And they're getting used to it.”   

“It concerns me greatly that so many of our students have become 'islands of isolation.' They walk down the hall, across the courtyard, sit in the cafeteria or library or classroom with earbuds/headphones on, reading their phones, etc. and absolutely no contact with those around them.  
I call their name and they can't hear me because they're so into their music or their video game. I drive to work and I see them, young ones even, waiting for the bus, standing in isolation from the others as they're on their Chromebooks or phones. It's disturbing to me.”


“I would say that 70% of the students that walk into the health room have earbuds in their ears......while they are explaining their symptoms. We have discussed putting a sign on the door stating to remove earbuds and headphones before entering. We will do this and see what results we get.” 

“One of the things that is bothersome to me is headphones in the hallways. I have tried to call students names out and they will not turn around because of the music in their ears. I think this is risk if there was an emergency situation. Just my thoughts:)” 

“This is why I ban the phones and make them work in groups.  It's not a good trend.  Very rarely are they allowed to listen to music while they work.” 

“I have a no earbud and no phone zone.  BUT it is a struggle daily. I've done it all.  Asked to put them up.  Taken them up.  Had them put in bags.  Written them up.  I've decided that it's just going to be something I have to constantly deal with.  The addiction to their phones is so real.  Really.  There are not many of us that have this rule.  According to my kids, I'm the "ONLY" one.  I know that is a stretch, but there could be some truth to that?  
How do I get them interacting?  I did away with reading check quizzes.  It's graded discussion now with the pilot/co-pilot method.  They are talking a lot!  They really like it and many who were not good at this at first are getting better.”

“Small thing, but I know when I walk down the halls I say hello to every person I pass and demand at least a recognition back, most of the time waiting for at least a verbal response.  Many times students pull their earbuds out to hear me and/or reply.  Again, small but it at least requires some type of exchange with another person…”

One of our teachers shares her No Distractions Policy with her students at the start of the school year. This teacher is well known for using technology with her students, and on almost any given day, you can visit her classrooms and her students will be using technology such as Kahoot, Goosechase, digital breakouts, and more. 

I'm curious and want to learn from you... I'll ask again the question from Jennifer Gonzalez: What is your school doing to get students interacting more? 

Leave a comment below or connect with me on Twitter. I would love to hear from you. 

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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Achieve More with Less - Applying the 80-20 Rule

Among the goals that have been shared with me by blog readers and newsletter subscribers, many of them have to do with personal productivity and achieving more than in the past. 

In today's post, I want to share a productivity strategy with you to help you reflect on your time management and make adjustments that will yield greater results for you this year. 

Have you heard of the Pareto Principle? It's also called the 80-20 rule. 

It says that 80% of consequences come from 20% of actions.

Vilfredo Pareto was an economist in Italy in the late 1800's and early 1900's, and he noticed that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the people. He also noticed that 80% of the peas in his garden came from 20% of his pea plants. 

"80% of effects come from 20% of causes"

Maybe you've heard of it in terms of your clothes. It's been said that we wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time. (Are you grabbing the same outfit week after week?)

In graduate school for my administrative degree, I heard, "Twenty percent of the teachers account for 80% of the discipline referrals."

In terms of management, there's a belief that 80% of the work is done by 20% of the team members. (Do you find this to be true in your workplace?)

How can we use the 80-20 rule to help us be more productive and better time managers? Use the Pareto Principle to evaluate specific areas of your life:

  • How are you spending your leisure time? 20% of what you are doing is providing 80% of the joy you get from leisure activities. What can you eliminate?
  • Are there clothes that you haven't worn in a while that you can donate? It will reduce your choices in the mornings and save time and decision-making energy.
  • What about your email Inbox? You probably read 20% of the newsletters and emails that you've subscribed to. Unsubscribe from the extra ones, and read and implement what you learn from the 20%.
  • Twenty percent of your daily tasks produce 80% of your results towards your goals. What can you streamline and take OFF your to-do plate? Eliminate unnecessary tasks or ones that you can delegate to others. Try to only do the things that produce results and move you closer towards your goals. 
  • Since only 20% of your tasks produce the results you want or need, avoid starting with the "busywork" that doesn't produce results. Sometimes we start with the "easy" tasks that allow us to check a box somewhere, but we need to be focusing our time and energy on those actions that have the greatest impact.

"If you want to have more, do more, and be more, it all begins with the voice that no one else hears."  
~Tim Ferriss

I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts the other day - Glambition Radio with Ali Brown, and she was interviewing Lynn Perkins, CEO and Co-Founder of UrbanSitter.

In the interview, Lynn said that at the beginning of each day, she writes down three things to get done by the end of the day. 

Those three things are ones that when she leaves the office in the afternoon, if she's done those things she would feel good about what she had accomplished that day. 

It helps to keep her goals prioritized throughout the day, especially when things get hectic. Can't we all relate?

I would love to hear about the changes in your life after applying the 80-20 rule.

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