We all have things to share. Whether its our talents, expertise, or time, we inevitably have people asking us for advice on a variety of topics.  They ask because they see us as an expert, source of inspiration, and/or trusted source.  So why is it that there are times when we don’t follow our own best advice?  Is it perhaps, “easier said than done?”

As I reflected over my summer, I wanted to share four “pieces of advice” I have given recently and still struggle with following myself:

1.  Rest, Unplug, and Be Present
Earlier this summer, I shared my thoughts on how to “keep your charge” (both on a mobile battery as well as your internal battery.)  While the content of that post was good, actualizing it requires more discipline and focus.  I still have days where I keep my phone plugged in all day and nights where I’m at the dinner table glued to my mobile device… when I should be unplugging the phone and keeping my attention to the people who are in front of me.  I now try to turn off my monitors when someone comes in the door so my eyes do not wander as well as turn “airplane mode” on my phone when I get into my car and/or walk in the door at home.  I will also start to encourage shutting our mobile devices off during staff meetings.)

2.  Blogging Weekly Regularly
I regularly have folks who start a new blog that is hosted on my Hostgator account (affiliate link). Usually, the first piece of advice I give them is to write “regularly” or at least once a week.  I haven’t written a post since early August and while that’s been attributed to the start of the semester, I should try to make a better effort in writing, reflecting and sharing. I now have gone back to writing out my posts for the month as soon as I can so all I have to do is schedule, edit and publish. Lucky for you all 😉

3.  Connecting on Social Media
Truthfully, I’ve felt and been disconnected from Twitter all summer.  This was a conscious choice to try and restore some balance in my life from feeling like I was on it too much.  I realized recently that I’ve become more of a broadcaster than someone who engages, and need to return back to reconnecting.  Perhaps its part of the growing pains of living life online, but I’m glad to have come to this realization with the help of some many of you who continue to be an inspiration for me. I now have gone back to setting aside time each morning and afternoon to share, answer questions, and engage with my online communities.

4,  You Can’t Do It All
This is classic advice I give to my staff and students when they come into my office all stressed out about how much is on their plate…yet I continue to take on more.  For a better approach to my work and life at home, I realized that I need to model this better since I can’t do it all. This fall, I am in the process of taking things off my plate, hoping that it positively affects numbers 1, 2, and 3 for next spring 🙂 Delegation has been key to maximizing my time and closing my door (guilt free) has been a must-do.

As the semester rolls on, be mindful of what advice you give out and are not completely following through on.  Whether your advice is similar or different, ask for more help than you have in the past.  While writing this post has been cathartic, I hope that those who interact with me regularly will help keep me focused. After all, aren’t we in this together? 🙂

What advice do you give others that you struggle with yourself?  What advice you have for keeping up with… your own advice? 🙂

7 Comments

  • Ed – so appreciate the candor of this post, as well as the desire to learn from others and yourself. While I think I’ve got the “blog regularly” part down :-), I’ve also been a bit disconnected from Twitter and need to re-engage, and I struggle with when and how to take things off my plate. This is good inspiration for me right now. Thanks for the post!

    • Thanks Kristen… there’s a lot more of this type of reflection coming. I just need to get this off my chest and “follow my own advice” and ask the online community for help! I think we get so busy with our days, worrying about the next thing we have to get done, we forget about living in the present. This post will be a reminder for me to stay focused on what’s important.. building and sustaining relationships… everything else will follow.

      Thanks for reading and commenting 🙂

  • Ed,
    I’ve been struggling with the same thing recently. A lot of my blogs are about best practices and good ideas I pick up from books, Ted Talks, or other blogs. Like the one about getting up earlier in the morning and taking advantage of the extra hour in your day. It’s a great idea, but one that I’ve been terrible at following through with.

    Thanks for sharing your struggles and giving us all a place to mull over our own weaknesses.

    • Thanks Becca. I think many of us in Student Affairs do this, but never talk about it. I hope others start to look at the advice they give and the actions they take and find congruence… this was just the beginning of the process for me 🙂 Thanks again for reading and commenting my friend!

  • Great post Ed. I find myself taking in a lot of advice/best practices (as Becca said) lately. Where I’ve had success is in not trying to do all 10-12-14 things on a list, but pick the 3-4 I know I can get better at.
    I’m curious how your “no devices at staff meetings” will go – our team struggles with this so I’m looking for ideas on how to make it a reality! I’ve got an ACUI commons post brewing on it as well!

    You mentioned being on twitter less – how do to get over that feeling you’re missing out on something? That’s where I am now, but I know if I can get past that I can use that time differently. Suggestions welcome!

    • Thanks Jeff 🙂 Since our staff meetings are across the hall from the main office, our students can find us if they really need us. But the hour that we are together, should be focused on each other, not sneaking a peek at our email, texts, etc. 🙂

      I’ve always known that I couldn’t keep up with all of Twitter and that all the good stuff will be RTed and shared over multiple platforms. So really, I don’t miss the things I’m meant to see 🙂 With how busy I am, I really had no choice but to limit and make the most of the time spent on Twitter.

      Thanks again for reading and commenting my friend!

  • Ed,
    Great post. I appreciate the usefulness of your tips. I’ve been trying to practice ‘presence’ in all of my interactions lately as it is very easy to be distracted by what I like to call the digital onslaught.
    I will be at Mtn. Lake Leadership conference this weekend for Longwood University, looking forward to hearing you keynote there. Perhaps I can glean some insight on how to use Twitter proactively as an academic. It seems to be a hot topic lately, but I, alas, am still clueless : )

    Regards,
    Jeff

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