Beside my desk at home, I have a list of questions that were created by Kenneth Mikkelsen who wrote the post on The Best Leaders are the Best Learners.
Every week, I glance over to it and make a mental note to use it as a means of self reflection for the week. After all, I capture daily work and learning out loud videos through my YouTube channel (and shared on Instagram Stories) but sometimes I forget about what it is that I’ve learned because I’m in the moment of doing it. I need to take the time and reflect on what I have achieved, learned and been challenged about.
Every week at our work meeting, we have to share one good thing – personal and professional that happened in the week as a way to start the meeting so these questions would also go some way in recalling what these are. So here is what happened this week.
What surprised me the most?
- Four people who came forward to offer their assistance to help me learn French by being there to practice my language skills; offer of advice to provide me with extra resources to assist
- People found my personal learning maps and public declarations “inspirational”
- DMs from people on Instagram saying that “I’m inspirational” (that always surprises me because I’m like ‘wha?’)
- Another said, “I’m killing it on the socials” (and I’m like ‘wha?’ especially when I noticed my views, shares, replies and comments on Twitter and LinkedIn especially have decreased drastically – it seems that people aren’t engaging on anything I share and I wonder if it’s personal or if people are simply too tired or too overwhelmed).
Who did I learn from?
Andrew Williams from my Twitter network let me know about Scott Young’s book called Ultralearning which put me onto an exploration of a few hours where I read the book summary and also watched his videos. I shared what I thought about it here. It made me think about a lot of things that I “failed to do” in my own life. If someone can write a book about learning theory that is well known, well, I should have gotten off my arse and done the same thing especially if it what was I have been writing and doing all these years myself here and on my YouTube channel.
Yesterday I was introduced to #ultralearning by @andreww_agility who saw my personal learning plan to learn French. I’ve been reading into this and it’s all about how people learn. Here’s a run down of it. Learning is critical now more than ever. https://t.co/USXPbB6SFF
— Helen Blunden #AlwaysBeLearning 🤔🧠🦉📚🥇 (@ActivateLearn) April 24, 2020
Jacinta Penn also surprised me with helping me out with having a bit of French dialogue when I asked that I needed some help to practice on!
Today I wrote out my learning plan for French. I will have to bite the bullet and the fear and go have a language aptitude test to determine my level. Doing this exercise makes me think hard about what I’m learning and why. #alwaysbelearning pic.twitter.com/CSxklUBSlt
— Helen Blunden #AlwaysBeLearning 🤔🧠🦉📚🥇 (@ActivateLearn) April 23, 2020
What do I need to do more of?
Real person interaction (pretty hard to do when you’re isolating) and close personal friendships. This whole time in isolation only makes me realise that I have networks of people who are more acquaintances than friends who are interstate and overseas. However, I have very few friends – people I can call on who are not my direct family. The ones who are in my life, I treasure greatly but I have to be mindful that I don’t come across as being too over powering with them. I think I can be a “bit too much” sometimes so I try to give as much space as I can.
What am I proud of having done?
- Figuring out Power Automate slowly. I created a couple of buttons on my iPhone that automate a process (such as giving me a warning alert in 10 minutes; or sending an automatic email with my personal details to prevent me handing out business cards); I also figured out how to use MS Forms (group forms) and create assessments then automate the process to send these out through a scheduled email in Outlook.
- I finished knitting my first ever v-neck top down seamless jumper.
Really happy with how this knitted jumper came out. This took about a week of knitting while watching series 1 of Stranger Things on Netflix. It’s thick, quick knit, 12 ply using Bendigo Wool Yarn. Thinking of knitting another one in softer alpaca blend. Winter is coming. pic.twitter.com/den2PuULxG
— Helen Blunden #AlwaysBeLearning 🤔🧠🦉📚🥇 (@ActivateLearn) April 25, 2020
- I’m proud of also servicing my bike and going for a couple of long bike rides. I can’t believe I didn’t do this sooner. It was so wonderful and loved every minute of being on the bike and into the clean air.
Well that was FUN! Just spent the last 90 minutes riding around local area and discovered a new bike path. Singing loudly along to Chris Isaak and no one about. Why didn’t I do this from years ago?! Great start to the day. pic.twitter.com/mFKZJPDccM
— Helen Blunden #AlwaysBeLearning 🤔🧠🦉📚🥇 (@ActivateLearn) April 22, 2020
How has my perception been challenged?
- Unsure about this question. I’ve got some niggling doubts that I have expressed on Instagram Stories about how irate I get at people who say one thing when it comes to self-directed learning and then do another – or nothing at all – (that is, don’t bother to learn something if you’re not motivated or value it). I’m mindful that I came across a bit ‘holier than thou’ on the video but it grates on me when there is hypocrisy. Either just say “no I don’t have time for this!” or “That’s just not important to me as it is to you” and be done with it. I get a bit shirty with people who try to pull the wool over my eyes or just give me what they think I want to hear. I’d much rather people tell me the truth up front and to my face than try to make peace or not create waves. At least we know where we stand.
What worked this week?
- Sharing my personal learning plans on PowerAutomate and learning French helped me a lot – got my arse into gear to focus some time on these because I publicly declared it.
What didn’t work?
Bloody PowerAutomate. I couldn’t get the automation to create an extra row into the Excel spreadsheet so that every time someone submitted a Group Form that I have a row filled out in Excel with their responses in appropriate columns so that we have a record of people completing their assessments. I STILL have no idea about the various conditions of the Flow and will need to seek out help from the PA Technical Community.
What should I stop doing?
Unsure about this because I actually enjoyed everything I did regarding learning this week. I should stop trying to pretend to like to exercise at home. I discovered Chloe Ting on YouTube and doing a few of her playlists exercises. Who am I to pretend to like exercise. It’s shit. I much prefer to go for a walk or a cycle now.
Who did I help?
- This week, I helped a few people who contacted me about Microsoft Teams. I got one thank you about how “my ideas were loved”
- Helped my dad through over the phone, add a contact to Viber and then he managed to see someone he hadn’t spoken to in years in Greece
- Helped people with Wakelet (noticed that one person even created his own after I sent mine out)
What challenged me the most?
I’ve noticed I’m procrastinating creating my PowerPoint slide for Microsoft365 May and have no idea WHY! I’ve done these things so many times before. As a result, I’ve asked to have my presentation after 15 May so that I have more time to prepare but come to the realisation that it’s not the preparation, dare I say it that I felt slightly “tired” of having to say it all over again? I mention it in my Instagram stories how I have to fight these feelings of “being jaded” when it comes to learning because I feel that it’s not really valued – you can’t value something you can’t measure. You have to rely on something innate, personal motivations and drive. That’s really hard to explain to people sometimes.
I know that I will complete the slides and be ready for Microsoft365 in May which looks to be a great event. I’m battling some inward personal thoughts about the value I give to people that’s all.
Looking forward to presenting at this event. If you’re interested in Microsoft then consider registering. It’s FREE (and it’s in Aussie time zones – YAY!) Feel free to share – it’s for all people across all industries and job roles to learn about how to use Microsoft effectively. https://t.co/1ANip6yCO6
— Helen Blunden #AlwaysBeLearning 🤔🧠🦉📚🥇 (@ActivateLearn) April 21, 2020
What emotions did I experience?
- Frustration with PowerAutomate
I will not let #PowerAutomate beat me. I learned lots today about automating assessment (using MS Group Forms to insert details into Excel spreadsheets automagically). Unfortunately I failed Wizarding school and automation did not magically work. Back to the drawing board. 🤔 pic.twitter.com/08t1rq4Nad
— Helen Blunden #AlwaysBeLearning 🤔🧠🦉📚🥇 (@ActivateLearn) April 22, 2020
- Couldn’t believe the emotions I had when I went out for a bike ride for the first time in YEARS. I discovered a cycle track and went around a lake nearby (that I never go to). I loved the freedom of it all. Why didn’t I get on my bike sooner???
- Loved how someone created their OWN wakelet (and then attributed me) to it when I shared this resource which had lots of shares on Twitter and in particular, LinkedIn.
I am asked so many questions about #MicrosoftTeams so I’ve collated them into a @wakelet of resources for you. You can also ADD this to your work Team Channels as a tab so everyone has access to these as an aide. https://t.co/6Bjgeg3LgH – I will be adding more over time. pic.twitter.com/9nByWgsqFU
— Helen Blunden #AlwaysBeLearning 🤔🧠🦉📚🥇 (@ActivateLearn) April 19, 2020
How did I handle a difficult situation?
- I can’t recall being in a difficult situation at all this week. To be fair, I think I have it pretty easy and sometimes even that worries me.
Who helped me? Why was it useful?
- Jacinta for tweeting to me in French! Quelle surprise!
What was my biggest achievement for the week?
- Finishing the seamless knitted jumper
- Learning how to do an increase from the Petite Knit website
- Learning how to do a new stitch for a beautiful beanie I’m doing that involves dropped stitches
- Doing the WordPress optimisation of my website (because I was having database error connection problems)