…and Life: On being a soul searching hermit… with email, voicemail, IM, videogames, and RSS feeds.

You may have picked up on my offhand comments about dealing with some serious “and Life” issues these past two months. Well, unfortunately, that’s still the case and is likely to be for some time. As with my work, my research, and many other parts of my life, I am just happy that I’ve kept this blog trickling along in the meantime. The content of what I’m dealing with really really doesn’t belong on this blog (though I’m writing a lot about it… and I’ve considered an annonymous online outlet), but some bits of the process might be worth sharing.

While Eva is out of town, I’m spending this week being something of a hermit. I’m not returning emails or phone calls… and keeping my IM set to away. Still, that means I’m reading emails, listening to messages and, frankly, responding to brazen IMers… and it still feels like being a hermit… I suppose to a 21st century educational technologist, it is. I suppose I really need to get away into the woods. But perhaps that wouldn’t help either.

But, soul searching is much more time consuming then I ever imagined! I’m also taking some time to really delve into new years resolutions, annual goals, and a concrete plan to follow through on them. Naturally, resolutions and soul searching really do go hand in hand… and resolutions (with concrete goals and plans) can be equally time consuming.

Meanwhile I am being sure to take time for some recharging type chores (organizing and cleaning mostly), and for entertainment, including actually playing World of Warcraft… and actually getting a PSP (and an RPG to play… it’s something like an interactive paperback now).

Oh, and I’ve gotten back on my feet for the next phase of my research… I brought home a whole stack of Vygotsky and Bruner books from the UCI Library, ordered many more from Amazon, and added them to my stacks of Squire, Steinkuehler, and Shaffer articles.

Wouldn’t you know it… I find myself making a To Do list for each day with undone items being fit into following days… just as if I were at work! I told Eva on the phone earlier that I think you could take away my job and I would still be busy all day everyday for the next year and barely notice the time go by!

At any rate, I found one particular resolution I’ve been working on worth sharing here. (Perhaps there will be more later). Resolution 8 (of the 10 I originally narrowed it down to) was this:

8. Blog Regularly.

Sub-points included posting at least once about my work, once about my research, and once about “and Life” per week. I’d still like to stick to this if possible, but when it came time to work out how many hours a week to allocate to each goal (you really do have to do this if you’re both working and going to school full time), I still had too many goals and not enough hours.

So, I managed to cut it from 10 goals to 8, putting off some more things untill 2007 and finding an interesting solution for the old blogging resolution, which I think is relevant to helping educators (and others) sort out how blogs and RSS feeds can be worked into an already busy schedule.

Others have said it elsewhere, but the key is this… blogging and reading feeds must be integrated into the other pursuits you find important. So, I will read feeds as part of my job, part of my research, and part of my entertainment. And, I will blog this way, too. Work posts will come from things I write at work (with only a few minutes more overhead for posting them). Similarly research posts will come from what I am writing for school, and “and Life” posts from journals or other writing I do for life… or else come out of entertainment time. (Wow… I don’t know if that sounds like a successful person or a crazy person!)

This has also helped me to clarify and focus on what I should be blogging. Additional posts on my Dewey readings will now wait until I actually start writing the next paper… in a few weeks time. (Sorry, Dave). There may be some Vygotsky and Bruner notes in my near future though, since library books necessitate some typing on my part – and because I think the annotation of my notes will be valuable when it comes time to write. (The books I own still get annotated in pen… and I’d still love a way out of this and into the digital world with my reading and annotations.)

I will really need to be more vigilant about identifying things I write at work that can also be used here.

As far as “and Life” goes, I like sharing posts like this one, which is still a hybrid of technology… and life. I’m not sure how I feel about truly “and Life” posts being here, so I’ve flirted with the idea of a separate … and Life blog. I’m asking myself the same question everyone else is though… would anyone read it? Also, as I said earlier, I’m considering an anonymous outlet to fully differentiate it from my professional presence online – but there is also a part of me that feels part of the spirit of this whole thing is helping others to see the personal side of professional content providers and I am somewhat resistant to splintering my online identity.

As always, I’ll appreciate any comments.There’s a potential for some juicy ones here. And, thank you for reading.