It’s that time of the year again, where we reflect on all that has transpired, and prepare to move into the next year. PLP is a program focused on growth, and this year I have strived to go further than I have before. From leaving my comfort zone on Field schools, to running a class project, everything this year has pushed me farther along the path to success. For this tPOL, I’m going to draw from three different projects that really stretched my thinking, and reflect on how they have prepared me for the future.
What skills did you use and what skills do you want to continue to develop?
One thing that has definitely been a challenge over the past few months is learning online. It has not been easy, even for PLP. PLP was definitely quicker to adapt than some of my other courses, but having no contact, really, with a lot of the teachers has been extremely difficult. Being in PLP, though, has definitely been an advantage. I was able to use skills that I developed in this program, that made the switch a lot easier. From being comfortable on a device, to just straight up having applications on our devices, made online work seem more accessible. Even with all that, it’s still a struggle to motivate yourself to get things done. I’ve had a very hard time with exactly that, motivation. With school, and work, it is hard to get everything done. So I’ve had to use a lot of skills from our PGP course to help. Making to-do lists, tracking habits, it’s all really helped. The ideas that we’ve learned from that over the past two years have been incredible beneficial in this crazy time.
Did your goals for your work change as you worked on it?
Speaking of habits and PGP, I want to talk about our most recent PGP project, and how my ideas, and goals, changed as I worked on it. So, basically, as a summary of the project we were reflecting on all that we had learned from the book Atomic Habits by James Clear. Now, I started out wanting to make a little, like, vague habit tracking book, where you could have a physical place to mark off what you have done. But the I took another look back at atomic habits, and looked at the laws, and saw how I could incorporate more of those ideas into my journal. And once I had done all of that, I was pretty proud of myself. I took a flimsy little idea, and turned it into something I am really proud of. It became something that anyone, whether or not you had read the book, could use to help them with their goals.
What problems did you encounter? How did you solve them?
The final example that I’d like to bring up is the Macbeth project. This was probably one of the most difficult projects that I’ve ever done, and not even because of the subject matter. That was confusing an a whole other level. The difficult part was being the producer. I’ve always struggled with group work, because I find people weird and confusing, but this took it a step higher. As producer, I had to work with everyone, and not act superior, but also be their superior. We have some strong people in the class, and so already when roles were chosen there was a bit of strife. Add to that the fact that we basically had two and a half weeks to write, prepare and film the movie, well, I started stress baking. It was difficult to try and work with others who were very set in their ways. Our key creative team, though, did pretty well under the circumstances, though. We tried to solve disagreements in a calm manner, and spent a lot of time working through tough patches. We were pretty adaptable, and when everything started to fall apart I tried my darnedest to keep it together. Overall, I learned a lot about myself, and the other people in the class.
And that concludes my tPOL. Thank you for listening to me, and I would just like to leave you with a question: How have I demonstrated teamwork in the past, and how have I progressed since then?
Hello and welcome (again) to PLP, specifically PGP, during quarantine! As you may know, if you’ve visited past PGP posts from this year, we’ve been studying a book called Atomic Habits by James Clear. The book is basically about how little habits you do every day will help you achieve your goals. There are 4 Laws of Atomic habits, which are
Make it obvious Make it attractive Make it easy Make it satisfying
And so, for our final project of this here course, we were tasked with creating something that would demonstrate our understanding of the book, and these laws. And, since I know how to book bind, I decided to create a tool to be used alongside atomic habits, to make keeping track of your daily journey, well, obvious, attractive, easy and satisfying!
What I have created is basically a goal journal, where you track your habit everyday for ten weeks, in hopes of motivating you to complete your habit. It comes complete with explanations on why, a habit contract for you and your accountability partner, intention statements, and so much more. In the rest of the post, I’ll outline how the book demonstrates each law, and hopefully inspire you to try out the journal (At the end I’ll explain how you can do this!).
Let’s start with make it obvious. Even the cover was created with the intent of this habit, making it a bright yellow, hardly ignorable, with a very straightforwards title. Atomic Habits Goal Planner; 10 Week Journal of your Habits Journey. I wanted to make sure that the intention of the journal was obvious even before you opened the book. It also starts with an explanation of the book, and how each feature of the book works together to help you on your way.
The second law, make it attractive, was definitely more tedious than id hoped, but I think it paid off. The cover design, as mentioned above, isn’t super fancy, but I tried to make it look a bit nice, at least. There is definitely a theme of clocks and stars in the book, which I wove throughout the book. Each weekly planner has a different layout, which I thought would keep people more interested, so every week doesn’t look so bland. Each week also has a motivational quote, which I think is pretty great, and something I really like in my own planners.
Make it easy, the third law, was something I was really working hard on in this book. I wanted to make it so there were no external hurtles for you to jump over outside of the book. Having everything inside the book, from the habit contract, to the intention of your habit, and even the final reflection, its in there to make your journey easier. The weekly design definitely took that into consideration as well, making your habit tracking very simple and straightforward.
Finally, we have the make it satisfying law. One thing about goal tracking that I really like is seeing everything filled in, a fancy, colourful wall of your accomplishments. I really tried to make that idea of colouring in something when you’ve completed it very prominent. There is a place at the beginning of the book, which documents your whole 10 week journey through colour, as well as in the weekly planners many places to rate your week through colouring! I’ve also included a colouring page, so even if you have nothing left to colour in, you can colour that in!
Overall, I wanted to make something to motivate you to do your best, and document your success. ‘Cause that’s really what it’s all about. The journal can inspire you, sure, but it is still only a tool to help you. In the end, it’s up to you to stick to your habit. I just want to show you how far you’ve come since the beginning, and encourage you to keep going, because these habits don’t just end after 10 weeks. You have to keep pushing forwards!
Now, as I mentioned above, I want everyone to be able to use this journal. There are, of course, two ways in which you can do this. The first, which would depend on your access to technology, is digitally. In that case, you would download the PDF file of the Full In-Order Book, and export it to an application where you could annotate it. The other way to do this is a bit more complicated. Through this method, you would create a physical journal, but it is a bit labour intensive. First, you would download the Printable Book, and, this is important, print double sided flipping on the short edge. Then you would have to bind all of the pages together as one text block, including the title (which I printed on card stock but it really doesn’t matter) and there you go! Either way, you get your own habit tracking journal. You could also, of course, contact me through my blog and I could make one for you or something.
This journal really means a lot to me. I put a lot of thought into the good parts of habit tracking, and other features I’ve seen in planners, and tried to make one that would be useful for any goal you would want to accomplish. Because like I said before, the journey is yours to take, I just want to help out!
We are living in an incredibly odd world right now. While staying in our houses, we are forced to look at how we spend our time now, wether it be productive or not. In PGP, we’ve been developing the skills to do this, and with help from James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, I hope to help myself, and others, take a look at how we spend the hours in the day.
This article was basically about Dwight Eisenhower, 34th president of the United States, and how he used a powerful decision making tool called the ‘Eisenhower Box’ to help him make decisions on what needed to get done.
In the first box, you have the urgent and important tasks, the ones that you will do immediately. In the second box, you have the important, but not urgent, tasks. These are the tasks you will schedule to do later. The third box is urgent, but not important. These are tasks that you can delegate to others. I’m not sure if this box would be super useful in the day to day life of a high schooler, but who knows. In the fourth box, you have the not important or urgent tasks. These are the things that you would eliminate, the ones that have no purpose.
The article talks about the difference between urgent and important, and how using this framework, you can make those decisions time and time again. He also talks about mindless productivity, that I think can be summed up in this quote from Tim Ferriss.
“Being busy is a form of laziness – lazy thinking and indiscriminate action.”
I found this to be a really powerful article today, because now we are faced with these tough decisions of how to spend our time, now that all we have is it. The framework of this ‘Eisenhower Box’ is one that is so simple, and yet so powerful. As Mr. Clear said,
‘The great thing about this matrix is that it can be used for broad productivity plans (“How should I spend my time each week?”) and for smaller, daily plans (“What should I do today?”).’
Having school online is great and all, but sometimes I find it difficult to actually get up and do the work. Our routines are broken, and in trying to piece them back together, I hope to use this strategy that has helped others. So I decided to make one for myself, for today. It was harder than it seems. You have to make decisions about what is urgent and important, and the opposite.
In this assignment we were also asked to take a look at our competencies, Connect: How do I communicate and collaborate to build understanding? and Reflect: How do I reflect to build knowledge? The latter was a bit easier than the first. In reading this article, I had to reflect on some of my habits, and the things I do to stay ‘busy’. And they aren’t always good things. I tend to scramble for things to do sometimes just to keep myself busy, but I know now that that isn’t good. By using this tool, I can stay busy, but doing something that actually needs to get done.
The connect competency was a bit more difficult. Luckily, though, I wasn’t the only one who thought so. Good old Emily, she reached out to me with an idea about how we could collaborate. We each read each other’s article from James Clear’s website, and wrote a short little review about it.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️- I really like how this article approaches productivity. It gives a specific example from a historical figure, and how he used it to create an amazingly productive life. Also, James Clear shows how he uses this tool in everyday life. Productivity for the sake of productivity is useless, and this article really drives that home. -Alivia
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – Excellent article. I think it helps simplify complex task management systems into something comprehensive and can be applied to pretty much any lifestyle. It’s like a task management / decision making tool built into one! -Emily
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – Excellent article. Explains something so simple yet counterintuitive that you’d never think of it, and yet it is such a key part of success. If you want to improve your decision making and critical thinking skills, I would highly recommend this. -Emily
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️- Good article. I thought it explained the idea of inversion with multitudes of examples and facets of everyday life that this concept is used. I can think of several projects I could have used this on. It really makes you think about success and failure in a different way. -Alivia
I thought it was really cool getting another person’s input on the article that I chose, and also seeing what interests other people. It’s interesting to see just what draws everyone’s attention, and how it reflects back on them.
Overall, I had a lot of fun with this assignment. I’ve been blogging in a new space at home, so that’s been fun. This odd time is the perfect time to take a look at this stuff, and I’m super glad we got to do it, and that Emily and I have found a way to connect our project even though we haven’t seen each other in over a month!
In our PGP course, we try to better ourselves, make ourselves more efficient, and ready for the real world. Last year, we read a couple self-help books. This years book, Atomic Habits by James Clear, is probably the best one we’ve read. It is again a self help book, but it focuses more on why it works. Also the other ones we read were very teen-focused, which I found a little odd. This one was for all ages, and it focuses on the little things, the atomic things.
Law #1: Make It Obvious
The first ‘law’ of the book, Make It Obvious, focuses on just that, making it obvious. Each thing we do, each little habit, has different cues. For old habits, these cues can be invisible, unnoticeable. Until we can recognize the habits, and the cues that trigger them, we can’t change them.
One thing the book says to do to help you with this is the habits scorecard. The habit scorecard makes you write down everything you do in a day, and mark it as positive, negative, or neutral. Doing this helps you become fully aware of what you do each day, each habit that your brain does automatically.
I decided to only look at the mornings and nights for these, because they are usually constant, while my after school activities are constantly changing. Once I had all of these written down, I could see what needed to be changed. Each of these things I do automatically, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but cues in the environment impact each of these things. For example, waking up and going on my phone right away is not necessarily a good thing, but I can see it is triggered by my alarm going off. By changing what my alarm is in the mornings I can stop myself from going on my phone.
One thing I have been trying to do this year is read more. Using the implementation intentions from the book, and the habit stacking, I can do just that.
Implementation intentions are a kind of command system for what you plan to do. They are structured in a way that makes them very clear and to the point. I will [BEHAVIOR] at [TIME] in [LOCATION]. By having them set out in a very specific way, you can’t really escape them. For my reading goal, I have created an implementation intention.
The next part of the process is habit stacking. Again, structured in a very clear way so as to make life easier. Habit stacking uses another habit that you do already, and makes that a cue for your new habit. After [CURRENT HABIT], I will [NEW HABIT]. The old habit that you do automatically sets you up for your new habit.
Law #2: Make It Attractive
The second law of the book, Make It Attractive, focuses on, well, making the habit attractive. The opposite also applies. If you want to break a habit, make it unattractive. There are a few ways to do this. One of the ones that stood out to me was using temptation bundling.
Temptation bundling works for me because like habit stacking and implementation intentions, there is a formula laid out for you. In this case, the formula is: After [CURRENT HABIT], I will [HABIT I NEED]. After [HABIT I NEED], I will [HABIT I WANT]. This works because it again applies to a current habit. This anticipation of something you want coming after the habit you’re building can make you more likely to do it. This temptation bundling really has worked for my reading goal, because sometimes all I want to do is go to bed, but I know I should read.
Law #3: Make It Easy
The third law makes a lot of sense, and has made the habits I am trying to master a whole lot easier, hence the name, Make It Easy. This law focuses on reducing the friction of your habits, or increasing them in some cases.
For the case of the habit I want to start, the reading one, I’ve tried to decrease the friction in a few different ways. First, my book is on my bed, right beside my pillow, so when I get into bed I don’t have to get up to get the book. This also gets rid of my excuses of ‘being to cold to get the book’. I’ve also used the two minute rule, which makes the habit seem like less of a chore sometimes. Basically, what you do is make the habit into something you can do in two minutes. So even if I only read for two minutes, I have read. Sometimes I’ll start with that intention, theend up reading for the whole 15 minutes.
For the opposite side, creating more friction, I’ve been working on going on my phone less. Using the screen time features that Apple has, I set a timer for 1 hour on social media. There is no password, so I can ignore for 15 minutes, but it still creates that friction that says ‘instead of going on your phone, maybe do something else’. It doesn’t always work, but these things take time.
Law #4: Make It Satisfying
The fourth law, Make It Satisfying, has really helped with my reading goal. Using the idea of a habit tracker, I’ve been keeping up with my reading, which has been fun and rewarding.
My habit tracker is a reading planner I got for Christmas. It has monthly reading goals, a place to review books, and a bunch of other cool things. The thing I have found the most useful out of it is the weekly planner. Each day, it asks you to write down how many pages you read. Having a chain that doesn’t end is so satisfying, and at the end of the week, when you add up how much you’ve read, it really does add up!
The other part of the fourth law I’ve found helpful is a habit contract. The habit contract makes sure you do what you are supposed to do by making you report to a designated person. So now, I’m not only letting myself down if I don’t do the habit, I’m also letting someone else down.
Overall, this book was super helpful. I really like the concept of breaking things down to the ‘atomic level’, and sorting them out from there. It makes things look more achievable!
This year was the launch for the new PLP course PGP, or personal growth plan. In this course, we learned strategies to help us with our other classes, and over all. This was a very interesting project, and I am taking a lot away from it.
In the course, we had three main topics, though all are very linked. They were as follows.
So, as most of my posts do, I’ll explain each area and what I took away from it. But first, I want to talk to the reader specifically. Our final project for this was the time machine project, where we were to create an artifact that if we sent to ourselves at the beginning of this year, we would have been more successful. I made a puppet show!
I decided to make a puppet show because I like seeing, and I thought it would be a fun way to represent my learning! This was a bit difficult, making all the little props and things. It definitely took a while to sew all the puppets, make all the props, and set up the scene.
I think this final project was really cool. It made you take a look at everything we’ve learned over the last year, and choose what really helped you. I know I’ve always had a hard time organizing my time, and having these visual things really helped me this year. We also had a lot of creative freedom when deciding what to have as our artifact, which was really nice. Sometimes having to much creative freedom in a project is bad, but I think this was a project it worked really well for. I’m excited to see what other people are doing for theirs!
If I were to do this project again, or any other project involving puppets, I would create a more interesting set. I also did have a bit of a hard time filming the puppets while moving them with both my hands and not having them come into frame. I do believe you can see my hand at one point. Overall, I am pretty proud of this!
In the video, I touched on each of the three sections, but I only represented some of each of them. Remember the three titles? Well, now I’m going to walk you through all of them!
This was the topic most represented in my time machine project. Productivity is really important for high schoolers, because we have so much going on. There were kinda two main points about productivity that we learned about.
Time blocking, which I kinda explained in my time machine project, has really helped me this year. Time blocking is a really cool feature of pretty much any calendar app. You can make events for anything, really. I have all my classes time blocked, my sports games, any homework I have to do, work, holidays, it’s really everything. I even time blocked time to do this blog Post! I really find it helpful to find time to work on projects. If I have something due in two weeks, I can look ahead in my time blocked calendar to see when I’ll have time to do it. Time blocking is one of my favourite things to do now, because now time isn’t just this concept in my head. It’s an actual, semi physical thing that I can add things to. Speaking of things…
Things is an app. It is an amazing app. It’s kinda like reminders, but way better. You make to do’s, about projects or whatever. You can even have project folders that can organize all the work for one project in one place. I have all my subjects as folders, and if there is a humanities project we’re working on, I can make a section in the folder about that project.
The app works very well in tandem with time blocking. If you have something that you want to complete during a time blocked section, you can set it as a task in things, or vice versa! Say you set a reminder that in two days you need to finish an assignment. When setting up your time blocking, you can check things to see what you have to do and by when. Using Things and Calendars together has really helped me stay on top of everything!
Oh, I almost forgot about the other part of productivity, the Weekly Review.
The weekly review is something you do, well every week. First, you clear out all of your inboxes. You make sure you have checked off the tasks you’ve completed in things, check your email, that kind of thing. Then, you look back. In things, you can see everything that you have completed. You can also look back at your time blocking to see what you did. This also involves keeping a journal type of thing, where you document all of this. Next, you look ahead. Check your things, time block for next week, and see what you are looking forwards to.
I didn’t really find the weekly review that helpful. I understand the purpose, and I did try it for a while, but I always found myself dreading it. I kinda just time blocked when I was bored, or finished my work. I also kept time blocking the weekly review for Sunday’s, and I work Sunday’s, so it never worked out that great.
The next two sections went along with books, which was interesting. I have never really read self help books before, and I don’t think it’s something I would want to do again. They really made me look at myself with a new perspective, but two is enough.
The book we read was called What Do You Really Want? How to Set a Goal and Go for It! by Beverly K. Bachel. In the book, we learned about ourselves, and like it says, what we really want. Each part of the book would teach you about something, and then it would have a worksheet thing for you to fill out. I thought this was cool, because you had to really think about what you had read, and yourself, to fill out the worksheets well. It wasn’t only worksheets though.
The coolest part of the book was when we had to create the dream board. The dream board shows you, your goals, your passions, all that stuff. It was really cool to see this physical manifestation of myself. I had to actually think about myself, my passions, and my future. It was a fun time.
The goal setting skills really fit in with the productivity part of PGP, specifically Things. There are sections of Things where your can put to do’s in Someday. This can help you organize your goals, and having these in Things can encourage you to work towards them. If the first step of your goal is to read a book, then put it in Things. You can even time block time to work towards the goal!
Goal setting is really cool, I think. All these tips I learned in the book can make me reflect on my goals, and make sure they are achievable. One of my goals is to go to Post Secondary, and I can start working towards that now. Knowing my goals can help me make sure I do everything to achieve my goal. For this specific goal, I know I will have to research what courses I need to get into university, and plan my courses accordingly. I will also have to get good grades, which I can work towards everyday. Goals are very important if you want to be productive. Hey, they really are connected!
The other book we read was 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey. This was a very interesting book. I don’t know what else to say about it. Again, you had to look very inward, but I thought it was a bit strange. It was formatted strange, switching between stories about people, the knowledge part, quotes, and other stuff. I may just think this because the book ended up being weird in Books, but it was very, interesting.
The seven habits were very helpful, though. The were as follows.
Begin with the End in Mind
Put First Things First
Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood
Sharpen the Saw
A lot of these intertwined with the other things we had learned. An example of this was Begin with the End in Mind. This kinda followed up on what we had talked about with regards to goal setting. When you start something, you should know where it’s going. Having the end in mind can help you make sure you stay on track, rather than derailing to something completely different. I have a it of problem with this. Sometimes I have an idea of the end, then my train of thought veers onto another track, gets blocked and has to turn around to find another route, or falls off a cliff to a fiery death.
Another thing that connects these habits to the other parts of PGP is Habit 1, Be Proactive. If you handed in a project late, it’s not because the teacher didn’t give you enough time. You can’t blame other people. There are 24 hours in a day, you just didn’t prioritize the project. The time quadrants from Habit 3 fit into this also. If you spend all your time in quadrant 3, quadrant 4, or even quadrant 2, you obviously aren’t going do fantastically. You do have to find a balance, like it says in Sharpen the Saw. Everything in life is about balance. Time block some relaxation, to make sure you can decompress. Add it to Things. It never good to overwork yourself.
Overall, this PGP course was really helpful. With all of these tools in my toolkit, I’ve been able to really stay on top of everything this year. Staying on top of everything has really helped my mental health this year. Last year at this time, I was not doing great. Now, I know how to cope with tons of work! If I were to go back and do this again, I think I would’ve made more notes within the books for me to reflect back on. I know the gist of each of the books, but having the overviews in note form within the book would’ve helped me understand what I was learning a bit more. Also, having these would be helpful if I wanted to remember the main ideas without rereading the book!