As I type this article, I have three screens open on my desk. Two of them are widescreen monitors connected to my desktop, between which I toggle back and forth. On one screen I have an email from a parent who has questions about registration fees, and on the other I have an Excel spreadsheet that includes the data to answer the questions. I also have a laptop on my desk that is open to our board goals, as I prepare a PowerPoint for an upcoming presentation. Minimized on one monitor are the district’s social media accounts that I try to update when I have time.
Sometimes it feels as though I am working on 10 tasks at the same time, and my desk reflects a sort of stream of consciousness with Post It Notes spread across it like a trail of thoughts and reminders. I’m sure you can relate. Whether it be your home office or your workplace, I can imagine your desktop is also filled with many “to do” items.
Every day, we embrace new advancements in technology as we strive to become even more productive than the day before. We complete more tasks within each hour as we are tied to our smartphones and computers almost every minute we are awake. Research shows this fragmentation does not always make us more productive, even though we can mark off more items on our “to do” list each day. Constant interruptions mean we often don’t fully dedicate ourselves to one train of thought. There’s no avoiding the multi-tasking, however. Our best course of action is to pull aside the matters that demand in depth study, and isolate our thoughts to those when needed, such as turning our cell phones off during meetings with colleagues.
When communicating with parents and the public, district leaders recognize that our messages must be short and succinct. Parents read articles when they are waiting for their children to finish soccer practice or dance rehearsals. Our community members browse through newspaper articles and grab bits of information. For this reason, school districts have embraced social media. Facebook and Twitter accounts allow a district to give bite-size updates and information on a regular basis.
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I encourage you to “like” or “follow” your school district, PTOs, city government, local media outlets, or other organizations of interest on Facebook or Twitter. While longer newsletters are still helpful, social media posts are timely and efficient. They provide the quick updates we need to stay informed and in touch with our community.