Just do one thing

Brian Madigan

Brian's company, Madmusik, has been providing music for dance/drama education since 1992, supplying thousands of schools, colleges and independent practitioners throughout the UK and now - thanks to the internet - across Europe and North America as well.

Follow @Madbri23

Website: www.dancenotes.co.uk Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

I was talking with a friend the other day. He runs his own business, so needs to be creative in his daily thinking. He offered a great nugget of wisdom, which was this: if you are going online, just do one thing. 

Now, this may sound rather limiting but it is good advice. The internet, as we all know, is like an endless rabbit warren. You go online to look for one thing and invariably end up, after some time has elapsed, somewhere else entirely. 

Use or Be Used 

So, my friend’s counsel is actually very wise. It represents the difference between using the internet as the amazing tool it can be and falling prey to its endless possibilities. But, surely, possibility is a good thing? Well, yes, it is. However, it’s the ‘endless’ bit that is problematic. Whether you are a teacher, an assistant, a carer or a parent, you don’t have limitless amounts of time available. But it’s when we have the least amount to spare that we are drawn into wasting it through appealing diversions. So, we need to build ourselves a strategy to avoid this happening. 

Subtle Manipulation 

Generally, you will go online because you either need to look something up, find something out or fulfill a web-based task (say, filling out a form). The internet is so full of well-designed distractions, that it is very rare that you will only perform that one task. An ad will pop-up, directly in response to something you previously looked at; or a video clip will automatically launch into another, once it has finished; or you will be redirected to another page, once you have filled something in... and so on. These things feel helpful at first but are actually subtle forms of manipulation. So, it is important to tell yourself, at the outset, that you won’t be drawn into engaging with whatever else appears, once you have completed the task in hand. Or, even, before you get to the thing you want to do. 

Drive for Efficiency 

But, you say, some of these things are useful. Yes, of course they are. But they aren’t what you are looking for right now. So, the thing to do is to make a note of the article, web address, email, company name, telephone or whatever it is that has caught your attention. You can then come back to deal with at a later time. Again, you may argue that this is surely inefficient. Why not make the most of your time online now and get multiple tasks out of the way? And this is the real stumbling block: the constant drive for ‘efficiency’. Ironically, that imperative is the cause of a whole world of procrastination, diversion and inappropriate time wasting. 

Mentally & Physically Refresh 

What’s more, our brains aren’t built to cope with constant input. It is far better to do one thing and physically remove yourself from the computer, phone, tablet or implant (only a matter of time... and then, of course, it will be too late). Simply by moving away from your device, you will give your brain a chance to refresh. And the chances are it will then come up with something else you really do need to accomplish. Even if this then means returning to your screen, you will have had some mental space. If you’ve also walked away, you’ll have had a chance to physically realign too. Let’s not forget the bodily demands of sitting in one position for prolonged periods, either. 

The Here & Now 

Children are often chided for not being able to stay in one place for more than a short time. Perhaps we should view this as a positive thing. Let’s allow them to roam, fidget, dance and play, in between the more focused tasks expected of them. And, while we’re at it, we should only expect them to perform one task at a time. It’s what children are good at, being - in the main - firmly rooted in the here and now. It’s something we adults can often only aspire to. So, perhaps we should let the children be our guides in that respect. 

Too Busy? 

As they get older, our children too may be drawn into the vortex of online confusion. But it’s our duty to not only make them aware of the inherent dangers but also stand as fitting role models. And we can’t do that if we’re too busy ‘just finishing this off’ online!

Register for free to continue reading
Registration is a free and easy way to support us.
When you register, you'll join a grassroots community where you can:
• Enjoy unlimited access to articles
• Get recommendations tailored to your interests
• Attend virtual events with our leading contributors
Register Now

Latest stories

  • How to handle stress while teaching in a foreign country
    How to handle stress while teaching in a foreign country

    Teaching English in a foreign country is likely to be one of the most demanding experiences you'll ever have. It entails relocating to a new country, relocating to a new home, and beginning a new career, all of which are stressful in and of themselves, but now you're doing it all at once. And you'll have to converse in a strange language you may not understand.

  • Is Learning Fun for You, Teacher?
    Is Learning Fun for You, Teacher?

    Over the weekend, my family of five went to an Orlando theme park, and I decided we should really enjoy ourselves by purchasing an Unlimited Quick Queue pass. It was so worth the money! We rode every ride in the park at least twice, but one ride required us to ride down a rapidly flowing river, which quenched us with water. It was incredible that my two-year-old was laughing as well. We rode the Infinity Falls ride four times in one day—BEST DAY EVER for FAMILY FUN in the Sun! The entire experience was epic, full of energizing emotions and, most importantly, lots of smiles. What made this ride so cool was that the whole family could experience it together, the motions were on point, and the water was the icing on the cake. It had been a while since I had that type of fun, and I will never forget it.

  • Free recycling-themed resources for KS1 and KS2
    Free recycling-themed resources for KS1 and KS2

    The Action Pack is back for the start of the brand new school year, just in time for Recycle Week 2021 on 20 - 26 September, to empower pupils to make the world a better and more sustainable place. The free recycling-themed resources are designed for KS1 and KS2 and cover the topics of Art, English, PSHE, Science and Maths and have been created to easily fit into day-to-day lesson planning.

  • Inspire your pupils with Emma Raducanu
    Inspire your pupils with Emma Raducanu

    Following the exceptional performance from British breakthrough star Emma Raducanu, who captured her first Grand Slam at the US Open recently, Emmamania is already inspiring pupils aged 4 - 11 to get more involved in tennis - and LTA Youth, the flagship
    programme from The LTA, the governing body of tennis in Britain, has teachers across the country covered.

  • 5 ways to boost your school's eSafety
    5 ways to boost your school's eSafety

    eSafety is a term that constantly comes up in school communities, and with good reason. Students across the world are engaging with technology in ways that have never been seen before. This article addresses 5 beginning tips to help you boost your school’s eSafety. 

  • Tackling inequality in EdTech
    Tackling inequality in EdTech

    We have all been devastated by this pandemic that has swept the world in a matter of weeks. Schools have rapidly had to change the way they operate and be available for key workers' children. The inequalities that have long existed in communities and schools are now being amplified by the virus.

  • EdTech review & The Curriculum Lab
    EdTech review & The Curriculum Lab

    The world is catching up with a truth that we’ve championed at Learning Ladders for the last 5 years - that children’s learning outcomes are greatly improved by teachers, parents and learners working in partnership. 

  • Reducing primary to secondary transition stress
    Reducing primary to secondary transition stress

    As school leaders grapple with the near impossible mission to start bringing more students into schools from 1st June, there are hundreds of thousands of Year 6 pupils thinking anxiously about their move to secondary school.

  • Generation Z and online tutoring: natural bedfellows?
    Generation Z and online tutoring: natural bedfellows?

    The K-12 online tutoring market is booming around the world, with recent research estimating it to grow by 12% per year over the next five years, a USD $60bn increase. By breaking down geographic barriers and moving beyond the limits of local teaching expertise, online tutoring platforms are an especially valuable tool for those looking to supplement their studies in the developing world, and students globally are increasingly signing up to online tuition early on in their secondary education schooling. 

  • Employable young people or human robots?
    Employable young people or human robots?

    STEM skills have been a major focus in education for over a decade and more young people are taking science, technology, engineering, and maths subjects at university than ever before, according to statistics published by UCAS. The downside of this is that the UK is now facing a soft skills crisis and the modern world will also require children to develop strong social skills as the workplaces are transformed by technology. 

In order to make our website better for you, we use cookies!

Some firefox users may experience missing content, to fix this, click the shield in the top left and "disable tracking protection"