This morning, I had an internal conversation (that happens a lot when one works alone) that went a little something like this:
“I can do that.”
Oh yeah, well then do it.
“Okay, I will!
My internal voices are quite smart-alecky, but it serves them well.
While conducting the daily sweep of infographics on Pinterest, it hit me that I should be creating these myself, not just reading other people’s pins. For the past few weeks, I’ve been a little obsessed with Noland Hoshino‘s concept of infosnaps. Rather than long, data-intensive, page-long infographics, these are simple snapshots containing a single fact or message. Because most people who work in prevention barely have time to high-five themselves as they run in circles, this is the perfect concept not just for my providing information to preventionists, but also for preventionists to provide information to their communities.
Here’s my first attempt at an infosnap–just a quick, basic tip to consider when using Pinterest (the primary social network to which I’ve been connecting as of late).
Using the free website easel.ly, I designed this graphic in about 30 minutes. I think that once I figure out the intricacies of this program (which is currently in beta testing), the amount of time spent on creating will be greatly reduced. Furthermore, because this site allows one to save projects, the graphic could be used as a template for future projects, further streamlining the time spent by merely inserting new text.
Infosnaps are perfect tools for tasks such presenting data to coalitions and communities, promoting events, bolstering support for policies, publicizing calls to action, and more. LaDonna Coy and I will be discussing this concept and others in our workshop “Social Media and Free Range Learning” at the CADCA National Leadership Forum next week. Hope to see you there!
2013 schedule so far:
- At-home second grader who wishes to share all the adventures that Christmas break holds.
- Setting up all the logistics for PreventionGeek Consulting (which is a real thing now) including equipment, travel arrangements, supplies, etc.
- Continue work on my and LaDonna‘s CADCA National Leadership Forum workshops, pushing myself to abandon old habits when it comes to PowerPoint and trainings.
- Assist husband during a week of convalescent leave due to having PRK (laser eye) surgery.
- File every paper, electronic file, and scrap Post-it note to try to create order in the home office.
- Continue work on CADCA workshop, still attempting to abandon old habits.
One of the challenges I have faced is maintaining that work/home balance, both timing and tasks. In the first two weeks, I found myself doing housework during the day and work-work in the evenings and on into the night. By nature, I feel more creative and productive after the sun goes down.
However, as much as I like working in the evenings, the fact is I have a family that happens to be off-the-clock during those hours, so I need to adjust to their schedules.
Because I felt like I needed a little help organizing my day, I set out to look for tools that would make me more productive in the 8-5 hours. Some of my favorites so far are:
Tom’s Planner–This handy website allows one to map out long-term projects. So say you’re a coalition working on writing a new strategic plan, this tool could help you organize the timing of each step in the process and ultimately meet deadlines, which have a tendency to sneak up on a person. While the free version allows a single user a wide range of features, for only $9 a month (quarterly subscription), a coalition could collaborate on, personalize, print, and export these schedules. Right now, the free membership is enough for me and my smaller projects, though.
Evernote–I’m a list person, so this app makes me a very happy girl. You can use it to make notes to yourself that can include check-able To-Do lists (my favorite!), pictures, audio messages, and other attachments that you may need. Then you can organize everything into notebooks for easier access and record-keeping. I think back to when I was working with 4 different coalitions and how this would have been helpful in keeping track of all the details for each group. I also think about how easy it is for me to get “squirrelled,” and this app definitely helps keep me on track.
Google Calendar–If it were up to me, I would stick with the pencil-and-paper calendar because I’m a visual/kinesthetic learner. Unfortunately, a paper calendar on my desktop doesn’t allow for much interaction and collaboration. Google Calendar allows me to create events and invite others, much like any standard calendar (like Outlook). You can also create and share entire calendars with others, which could come in handy to any group working collectively on a project. Most importantly, it allows me to integrate my home and work schedules. For example, because my husband makes quarterly trips to Alaska, I have to consider his schedule, making sure I don’t plan any travel for myself during those dates. When I worked in an office that used a networked Outlook system, I had a tendency to neglect adding personal events to my calendars since I viewed it as a “work,” tool. This led to a few scheduling mishaps, which hopefully will now be avoided.
A Post-It Flip Chart and Markers–Like I said, I’m a visual learner, so it helps me to have goals, deadlines, wish lists, etc. within eyesight. The good, old-fashioned flip-chart-sized Post-It allows me to do this. It also provides me with the satisfaction of posting a big red check mark when a task is completed. Everyone knows there’s nothing better than making a big red check mark!
Granted, most of these tools are pretty basic, and anyone who owns a smartphone has probably used them. However, my purpose in writing this blog (for now) is to chronicle the beginnings of learning to integrate technology into prevention. I’m sure as I get further along down the road, I’ll find more advanced tools to streamline life. But for now, as long as I can get a little help when it comes to balancing work/family time when I’m not punching a clock, then I’m one happy geek.
What’s a Prevention Geek, you ask?
Well, it’s not me. Not yet anyway…
Currently, I work for the Washington Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery as a member of the prevention training team. The goal of our project is to record a series of trainings (both in-person and webinar-based) for prevention professionals so that they can be added to the state’s professional development website, The Athena Forum. Though I love my work and give it my all, many days I feel greatly under-qualified for my job. I have approximately three years in the field as a prevention specialist, but the training and technology side of things is entirely new to me. The Oklahoma girl in me would compare the experience to being a barrel racer who suddenly finds herself on the back of a bull trying to hold on for 8 seconds.
Last week, I was fortunate enough to participate in four full-day trainings with CADCA trainer (and self-proclaimed Coalition Dork), Rhonda Ramsey Molina. Our technology consultant, LaDonna Coy, traveled to Washington to assist with the recording, uploading, editing, and ultimately the publishing of these trainings. LaDonna is the latest in my series of professional mentors (though said mentors may not realize their role in my mind!), and an all-around shining star in the field of prevention. She’s the kind of person I could sit and talk to for hours if we ever had the time and the means. Some of it is probably due to our shared sooner state roots, but so much of it is about my fascination with her view on not just the history, but the FUTURE of prevention.
At the end of our final day of training while discussing the various means of technology that we had used over the course of the week, Rhonda casually said to LaDonna, “You’ve been a prevention geek as long as I’ve known you–even before anyone else used computers.” Prevention Geek. I liked that. Later on, I tweeted to LaDonna: “This week I learned the difference between coalition dork & prevention geek. I’m aiming 4geek because they have cooler gadgets.” And there, the seed for this blog was planted.
I once heard Dr. Paul Evensen say that coalitions need to be able to tell their stories to secure funding. In turn, I think that preventionists need to be able to tell their stories not only so we can see the evolution of our profession, but also so we can mindfully plan its future. This is the prologue to my story–a wannabe prevention geek who has no idea where I’m headed or how I’ll get there. Let’s see where this story goes!
Opinions expressed on this blog are not a reflection of my employer. These are my own ramblings from my own brain on my own time. 🙂