Category Archives: At work

“Remain Calm”…and other writing on my wall

Right now a series of post-it notes is affixed to the wall across from my desk. Once in a while you hear or see something that really hits home, and you know it will again, so you save it. On those days –you know the ones – when every task is high priority and nothing seems to be working as planned, a quick glance can help bring perspective.

Remain Calm – when is this not good advice? Unless you are working in something like emergency medicine, you’ve got the opportunity to take a deep breath before making a decision, responding to email, etc. (And even in emergency medicine calmness is probably a welcome quality.)

One Task at a Time – This is an era of multitasking, right? We have computers, smart phones, instant messaging…all of which allow us to monitor multiple channels at once.  We can manage multiple priorities, but when it comes to true focus of attention, there may be a better approach.  Take a look at this article from NPR – Think You’re Multitasking?

Be Helpful –I think this one came from a tweet from Chris Brogan, but I’m not sure. I do remember that it immediately resonated with me. You can probably name these people at your workplace. They pitch in when help is needed. It’s a powerful thing and makes a huge difference in the day-to-day. I want to be one of those people.

Save the Commentary – All of those electronic tools mentioned above also allow for a back channel of commentary during meetings, presentations, etc. This one is closely linked to ‘be helpful’ above.  Does the commentary you might add help everyone to move forward? If not, it may be better to resist the temptation and leave it out. For more on the good and bad of back channel chatter, check out this post on WebWorkerDaily.

Swing Big – If there is a decision to be made or a proposal to put forward, go for it.  Be realistic, but stretch a bit.  It’s often that stretch, that willingness to take a measured risk, that will open opportunities.

I know you have these post-it notes, too. What do yours say? Share the wealth and positive vibes.

Additional Duties as Assigned

We’ve all found ourselves tackling assorted tasks that were not exactly part of the job description. (Once I actually had to build a sign with donated plywood and paint!) This may be particularly true of Instructional Designers. In a field that is dynamic and in an economy where organizations are striving to do more with less, the job description expands.

What takes up your time that isn’t in an Instructional Design model? Thinking about my last few positions and employers, these are the items that stand out for me and seem to be consistent:

  • Copyright/license research and documentation of permissions
  • Report writing
  • Keeping, typing, and distributing meeting minutes
  • Attending meetings, lots of meetings (I knew of course that there would be meetings, but…)
  • Conducting the hiring process and writing performance evaluations
  • Marketing (business development) at expos, manning tables and booths
  • Copy editing and formatting

I have personally and professionally learned from the process and everything involved. It all adds to your knowledge base and builds up your skill set – ultimately allowing you to do more and understand more about the organization.

What have you found yourself doing that was a little unexpected but added value?

photo credit: Beverly & Pack, Flickr

A Day in My Online Life

This post is a response to D’Arcy Norman’s Connect Project. The project asks: How do you connect to people online? As a remote employee, managing online course development projects, online communication and connection makes up most of my day. So to answer this question I tracked first who I connected with and then how the connections took place today.

Connecting with Colleagues: Today this includes my supervisor, co-workers, and project team members (an instructional designer, subject matter experts [SME], program chairs), and teaching faculty.

  • E-mail sent from a work account mostly answering questions about courses in development.
  • Calendar Tool (our organization uses Outlook) Looked at others’ schedules. Sent out and accepted meeting invitations.
  • Skype used for both instant messaging and for a conference call. I currently have a Skype Number I use for work. I can call outside numbers and others can call in to my Skype account from their phones, too.
  • On Sharepoint I posted updated files for an instructional designer and reorganized a folder with docs that are posted in all of our courses. I also responded to an issue posted by an instructor on another Sharepoint site.
  • I uploaded documents to Basecamp and introduced this tool to a new SME to kick-off a project. Basecamp includes our project milestones, to-do lists, existing content files for editing, etc.

Connecting with Students: These are the consumers of the courses I help to prepare and produce. I am not currently teaching, but I think I connect with students nonetheless through updates to individual courses in our Learning Management System. This took place in the form of:

  • added Announcements,
  • updates to reading lists, and
  • review of a course in the final stages of development.

Connecting with Friends: Friends, family, and former colleagues

  • E-mail sent from a personal account. A former classmate just received news of a job offer! (Note to self: send e-card.)

Connecting with the Public at-large: posting information and responding to others’ posts.

  • Twitter via Tweetdeck is usually running on my computer. Today I sent out a few tweets and followed a little bit of the #ecoo conference. The majority of my tweets are related to work, either passing along some piece of information I think might be helpful or asking others for recommendations. This is the newest way in which I connect with people online.
  • Blog posts like this one. Hopefully it will help me connect with a reader or two. I also posted a comment on one other blog today.

While not used today, it is also worth mentioning that I often connect with others online via synchronous web meeting-type spaces. My employer uses Adobe Connect Pro and this has been successful recently for professional development sessions and a virtual conference.

How is your online day different from mine? Any suggestions for new tools to connect?