November 14, 2019

Why 5 Things...

Some people may wonder why I share these 5 Things each week. It is simple, I saw some others do it and I really do like to share.

I first saw it from Tim Ferriss (someone who I recommend following), author of many books (Tools of Titans, 4 Hour Workweek), when he started sharing things every Friday. I thought to myself that is pretty cool! I realized that I spent a great deal of time looking at those links and being entertained and educated.

Austin Kleon, author of Steal Like an Artist, also does something similar where he shares out 10 things each week to explore. I always find at least 2 or 3 things that grasp my attention.

So, I guess you could say I am copying them but I do not think they would mind. You see, sometimes the internet and social media can be overwhelming (that may be an understatement). If I can help each week to navigate the craziness called the internet, that is the least I can do.

This process for me started several years ago, when I was much more consistent with my blog. I stopped for awhile but my boss encouraged us to pursue some professional and personal goals this year. Not only did we write them down and share them, we are also presenting evidence that we are accomplishing those goals. And for that I am thankful.

One of my goals was to focus not only on my professional and personal development but to help others find a place to assist in theirs too. So...I started my 5 Things back up and now consistently share weekly (sometimes not on the same day, still working on that).

So, if you want to see where my mind is going each week and share in those cool things I might pick off the internet, feel free to subscribe and be a part of the "cool" crowd...ok, maybe that is reaching a little but you get the idea.


September 23, 2019

So you want to try Twitter...

I get it...not ONE MORE THING!

But, what if I told you this could help your professional life...get any better??

Many people get on Twitter but do not stay on it because...

1. Don't have time
2. Don't want to have another social media account
3. Don't get it

Sound familiar? I have been there before. The first time I started with Twitter, I did not get it. The second time, it made more sense.

Here is why I like it.

  • Everything is written succinctly and to the point. Simply put, you cannot really ramble on Twitter. You have to make up your mind and sometimes eliminate words and characters to say what you need to say.
  • You can easily connect with people in your profession. I have connected with people all of the world, some I have met, others I have not. The cool thing...if I have a question about something in education, technology or leadership...I can ask someone in my Professional Learning Network (PLN) and THEY ANSWER!
  • You are literally connected to people you previously were not connected to. For example, my son Colin is an aspiring filmmaker. He has reached out to several filmmakers for advice. And yes...they answered him! He even spoke to a couple of them on the phone afterwards. Think about in the past, if you wanted to connect with celebrities or "experts in the field", it was near impossible. Now it is a possibility. 
  • You can participate in specific Twitter Chats. There are chats on education, leadership, gardening, comic name it. You can literally get professional learning while watching your favorite show on Netflix. I recommend Mindhunter by the way...but you probably want to pay attention while watching it. 

How do you get started?

It is easy.
1. Create an account (I just used my name but there are not many Mick Shurans around)
2. Personalize your account...yes, add some kind of image so people know who you are and that it is a real account.
3. Start following people...celebrities, sport stars, people in your profession...ME.
4. Sit back and watch for awhile...retweet other people's posts you like and then start posting things you might want to say. I promise, you do have something to share.
5. Find a Twitter chat to follow and participate. For education, I recommend #TNEDCHAT

One last can get caught up in the craze of funny videos, gifs and memes too. So, be careful, it is addictive.


July 11, 2019

Summer Series...5 Things YOU can do to get ready for school

Like most people, I love lists. Who does not have a legal pad by their desk with lists of things to be marked off. Mine rarely get marked off but it is a fun exercise right??

This list is different. It is actionable and if you are in the world of education, or even if you are not, this list is for you.

Summer for educators (even those who have 12 month contracts) is a time for rejuvenation and preparation for the upcoming year. There are some specific things YOU can do to help this cause.

Here are five that I am sharing...


I read all of the time and my books vary from educational, leadership, fitness, history or anything else that catches my eye. My collection is diverse and sometimes eclectic. For instance, I am reading Simon Sinek's Start with Why which really puts in to perspective on how we should go about our goals and plans. However, I also just finished reading the Butchering Art. This is a fascinating book on 19th century surgery and how one doctor pioneered the concept of germs and the use of antiseptic. I am also reading a book about a U.S. Marine squad and their experiences in Ramadi during the Iraq War called Joker One...I would say that book collection is pretty diverse.

The point is, I read because I enjoy it. I do not know many educators who do not like to read something, even if it is a sports magazine or a comic book. No matter what, reading is great for the mind. Sure you can read things that specifically prepare you for the upcoming year but you can also read for the satisfaction of reading. Do not read that book if it is not enjoyable or you do not feel like it is beneficial. I used to trudge through every book with a feeling of guilt if I had to put it down. That is the opposite effect you want. It is OK to put it down. That does not mean you cannot pick it up later. Who knows, in a different setting it might be what you need.

2. Goals

You can make goals for the entire year but that is not necessarily what I am getting at. Think about this week. Get a little Field Notes journal or a legal pad for that matter and jot down some things YOU want to complete this week.

This is similar to the list making I mentioned earlier but focus on things you want to do, not have to do.

For example:
Week of July 14th
-Work on concrete table top
-Make hot sauce with fresh peppers get the idea

You can even use technology, like Google Keep. Here is a screenshot of one of my goal lists for the week.

Sure you can start listing some goals for the upcoming year, that is probably a good idea. But, do not overwhelm yourself with those goals. Keep it to about three specific ones that you would like to do in the first few weeks and do it. Oh, it also helps if you share it with your significant other, kids, dog or whomever else who might help hold you accountable. If you are not into goals then just write or journal about what you are doing. Jot down those things you have accomplished or things you have learned. You might even want to start a blog so other people can see what you are thinking.

3. Exercise

This is a good one and a difficult one for many. In reality, it is one of the most important things you can do. Sometimes I have to force myself but when I do, I always feel better. Jocko Willink, one of my favorite motivators, talks about how discipline equals freedom. He gets up every day at 4:30 and works out. I am not suggesting that but hey, if you can, go for it. If you are on Twitter, I recommend following #FitLeaders as well as Ryan Jackson. He does a great job of motivating and emphasizing the importance of taking care of you. It does not have to be weights or running marathons. Go for a walk, a swim or even go out in the driveway and shoot some hoops...whatever it takes. While we are on self care...get some sleep too. Even though it is summer, you still need those Zzzz'z.

4. and 5. - RELAX

Yes, I put 4 and 5 together because it is the most important and probably most neglected. YOU do not have to go to your classroom or your building. I know you will but do not put that on yourself all of the time. I find that soaking in the pool or hanging out in my hammock with a good book (see number 1) can be the best relaxation for me. If I get a chance a little beach therapy is also good but it is not a requirement. There are plenty of things that lead to relaxation.

Have you ever set up chairs in your driveway and rolled a TV (or a bed sheet and projector) and watched a movie with family and friends?? Sure sitting in your recliner can have a similar impact but there is something about that camaraderie and fellowship, along with some popcorn, your favorite beverage and a bunch of people, that can put you in a deep state of relaxation.

If you struggle with any ideas on how to relax, send me a tweet and I will be happy to brainstorm with you.

I know, I know...this is nothing you did not already know. But, I bet it did get you thinking about those things and some of those activities that will contribute to your summer preparation and rejuvenation.

I got a great idea...send me a Tweet @mickshuran and let me know what YOU are doing to prepare and rejuvenate.

Enjoy your summer!

Go check out my previous Summer Series Posts...Why We Do What We Do and Do Not Be Afraid.