When I decided to do this Workflow Thinking Project, I wasn’t sure where to start. I began with a mind dump of all the tools I use – on my mac, on the web, on my devices, work or personal, etc. Then I tried to organize them somehow. A while back I organized my iOS home screens into folders based on the action for which I use those tools. For example, social media things are grouped into “Connect.” Going on that same premise, I tried to create some umbrellas under which I would group some things.
This is what I came up with:
- Communicate & Connect
- Note, Create, Publish
- Think & Do
- Store, Save, Organize, Sync & Retrieve
- Smooth & Secure
After creating that list and trying to group some tools and apps under single umbrellas, I realized that some could appear in more than one based on my intention for using it at that moment.
For example, I use Twitter in a variety of ways. I use it to connect and communicate, to learn and consume information, to browse in some cases. I also publish my own ideas there. Twitter is a multipurpose tool. I found it curious that the apps that I have a hard time organizing under one umbrella are the ones I also use the most.
The question mark category is for a few apps that I’m not sure about. I don’t really have a category or action connected to them. Which begs the question: why is it on my device?
As a technology teacher part of my role is to teach students about how to determine if a tool is right for the job (not just how to use the tool). With so many tools out there available for the same job or action, we often wonder which tool it is we should teach or demonstrate. However, I believe what we should be teaching instead is how to vet and assess a tool to determine if it’s the one we should use at all. Move that decision away from you, as the teacher, and guide students in learning how to make that decision for themselves. Transfer ownership.
Another reflection that came out of this activity was which category had the most tools. Now, if a category has a ton of apps one must also ask why. Is that the action I perform most often? Is that the one I want to be performing most often? Is that action in line with my personal and professional goals? Have I even articulated those?
One of the first things our instructor Leigh talked about in reference to tech tools is making our intention and rationale clear. Why are we using THAT document sharing method versus another? Is it because everyone is using that tool or is it because the tool is best for the job?
I’m hoping that in iterating my workflow in this way will help me clarify some of the reasons why I use the tools I do and hopefully be better prepared to model that thinking and reasoning for my students.
Tags: actions, goal setting, gtd, reflection, Twitter, workflow, workflow project 1 Comment »