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  • Jim Mercer

SamTastic Weekly Tip: 4/23/18 - Disconnect to Connect

Today’s tip: Disconnect to Connect


Do you feel like your tech controls you? Does your smart phone vibrate, buzz and ding to take your attention away from the people you want to influence? The best SAM teams control tech so instructional leadership can come first. Here are things that work:


1. Set two 20 minute events each day on your TimeTrack calendar to look at email—don’t look at your email at any other time. This is SO MUCH harder than it sounds but can make a huge difference in your focus.


2. Set the automatic reply feature on your email with a message like this:


Thanks for your email. During the school day I do not use email so I can focus on my work with teachers and students. If your issue is an emergency please contact my SAM, Ellen Stevens, at the school office.


• Pick a person to vet your email—separate the items you need to deal with from items a FirstResponder can handle.

• Train people to use email in a manner that helps you:

• don’t respond to emails you’ve been cc’d

• identify someone who cc’s you on everything—ask them to stop

• don’t cc people unless absolutely necessary

• feel free to ignore emails that don’t fit your goals or needs—you don’t need to respond

• if the content is important schedule a time to talk with the person

• Take email off of your smartphone if you carry it around with you all day.

• Disable the notification features, sounds, vibrations, screen notices, on all of your devices. These are distractions that pull your focus.


These email moves will take a bit of the stress out of your day while allowing you to focus on the work you value most: improving teacher practice and student learning.


It is counter-intuitive: you have to disconnect in order to really connect with the important work.

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