5 years of blogging

I am starting to feel like a broken record in terms of writing about my surprise as to how time has flown but the fact that I have now been blogging for 5 years marks a milestone which I think is well worth the expression of surprise. 

It was 5 years ago the last week (I had planned on posting this to the day however ended up with the flu bug so this is slightly later than planned) that I sat in my villa out in the UAE and decided to create a blog and write my first, short introductory post.    Since then I have posted with varying degrees of regularity, from every couple of months to a period during which I posted daily for a month.   Apparently from the statistics on this site I have posted 199 times.  I have also posted 18 times over on my other site, www.beingdigitallyliterate.wordpress.com plus have a couple of other minor sites I have posted on in relation to specific projects or events. 

I will admit that my posts have never garnered a massive or even minor following as the analytics often tell me however I keep blogging.   The reason here is simply that I have come to realise that the biggest impact blogging can have is not about gaining popularity or having one’s ego massaged.  The greatest gain is in keeping a record as to your thoughts, feelings, successes, trials and tribulations to use in reflecting back.    I have come to realise both personally and through reading various books such as Predictably Irrational (D.Ariely), How We Learn (B. Carey) and Black Box Thinking (M. Syed) that our memory often does not provide us an accurate picture as to times gone past.   It is often shaped by bias towards negative issues and memories, bias towards the more recent events as opposed to those from further back in time and bias towards events where we have become emotionally involved, especially those events where we have become angry or annoyed.      As such, blog entries allow me to get a more accurate view on my thoughts, feelings and viewpoints as they were in a given moment. 

And so it is that I realise the person I really write this for, is for my future self.     So with that in mind I would like to finish this post by addressing my future self from 5 years hence: 

  • Take plenty of pictures (am not sure about posting these on social media though!) 

Pictures are great to look back on, capturing a moment in time in vivid colour and adding to our own memory of the captured event.    I look back on pictures of me on a geography field trip or out in the yard of an Abu Dhabi school and the memories flood back.  The issue is I don’t really have that many photos as I seldom make time to stop and take them.   As I move forward I hope to make more opportunities to stop and grab photos of events and moments in my life. 

  • Write plenty of blog posts 

The more I write down the more I have to reflect on.    Although I may find it difficult to find things to write on in the moment, this is due to not seeing worth in my musings in the current moment.   I cannot however see the future and the potential worth of these reflections as may exist in time yet to come.    As such I need to work to record my thoughts in the hope that they may serve me well at some point in the future. 

  • But enjoy and spend time doing things you enjoy, build memories. 

All work and no play makes Gary a dull boy….or something like that.    I need to make sure I take time out regularly to do that which I enjoy.    It is easy to get swept up in your “to do” list, and in work, without putting time aside for yourself.   It is important to be conscious of this, and of how time can easily pass us by.   

  • Don’t sweat the little things 

I think this is very important.   On many occasions I have got very stressed about projects or tasks which I have had to undertake.    In each case, and despite all the planning, meetings, discussions and strategizing, things have arisen which I had not predicted and therefore corrections and adjustments to the plan were required.   In the end the projects have arrived at their end point and been successful.    The main point here is that we cannot predict the future so changes, issues and problems will arise.   This is inevitable and therefore not worth stressing about.    With work and effort however such issues and problems will be overcome and success achieved.    The final route will most likely not match the original plan however the destination will be reached.      

  • Don’t spend too much effort long term planning.   We can’t predict the future. 

By now you may have started to spot a theme, so I will end by stating a central part to that theme.    We plan so much in what we do however in the real world there are many a curve ball waiting.   As such spending too long planning rather than acting will get us nowhere.   Now to be clear I am not advocating taking on complex projects without any planning, only that planning should be limited and measured as no amount of planning will account for the infinitive variability in the world.    Only by getting out and doing, by hitting snags and by plotting alternative courses around such obstructions will we truly get anywhere. 

And so it is that I have now been blogging for five years.   Here’s to the next five!!! 

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Author: garyhenderson2014

Gary Henderson is currently the Director of IT in an Independent school in the UK. Prior to this he worked as the Head of Learning Technologies working with public and private schools across the Middle East. This includes leading the planning and development of IT within a number of new schools opening in the UAE. As a trained teacher with over 15 years working in education his experience includes UK state secondary schools, further education and higher education, as well as experience of various international schools teaching various curricula. This has led him to present at a number of educational conferences in the UK and Middle East.

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