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Looking Back to See Ahead

Today I went to the eye doctor. I am blessed to have healthy eyes, with solid blood vessels and functional optic nerves. My lenses leave me a bit out of focus but I live in an age where this is an easy ailment to correct.

Game Shift Board
Game Shift Board

Being able to see is an integral part of my practice in life and in my work with Agile Learning Centers. It isn’t literally to see, which is nice, but it is trying to make explicit what is often only implicit. The Kanban allows anyone to see what is happening, the ROTA shows who is responsible for what, the Game Shifting (left) are all tools to make visible what is often times invisible.

As this first semester draws to a close it is wise to extend this metaphor towards looking back. We only know where we are going if we are able to look back at where we’ve been. When looking back I find it helpful to ask the tough questions.

Today we decided to ask one of those tough questions.

What are 5 ways you’ve wasted your time this semester? How could you improve going forward?

  1. Internet based distractions. The social media, click bait, picture sites, news aggregators, comment threads, online videos of lack luster quality.
    • Self control would improve that. One technique I like is that used by the four hour body diet where you get a “cheat day”. Diet all week from the processed sugar that is reddit and facebook then once a week have a day where you allow yourself to binge!
    • Another idea is Self Control, the mac app that blacklists any websites you want then (as the website states) “until that timer expires, you will be unable to access those sites–even if you restart your computer or delete the application.”
  2. Video Games. I’ve played a lot of video games in my day. Over the past 10 years I’ve played 730 hours of Team Fortress 2. While here in Everett I’ve played 70 hours of Frozen Synapse! Just last month I played a full day of This War of Mine. I’m also level 41 in Skyrim which I’ve dumped whole days into over the past few months. I’m not sure how I feel about this, I think I’ll write a blog post dedicated to this actually.
    • Self Control, naturally, but what I think would work better is doing what I ask of my students. Set intentions behind the play. If I’m going to play a game I should do so with intention. What is my goal? Pwn 20 n00bs? Get 3 levels? Complete 2 quests?
  3. Poor Sleeping Schedule. I find that I am very productive when I wake up early and seize the day. I also find that if I am looking at screens past 11pm I tend to stay up doing jack squat with my glowing rectangles for hours and end up going to bed at 3am.
    • Once again self control, I have a rule that I wont look at screens past 11pm, but haven’t been keeping to it, but I will!

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