Focus: Intentional Thinking

focusWhat exactly is focus? According to dictionary.com, focus (v) is to direct one’s attention or efforts. To me, that means intentional thinking. I’ll give you an example. How many times have you walked past something in your house and had the fleeting thought that it needed to be picked up, thrown away or otherwise dealt with?

Well, for me it happens all the time. I think, “As soon as I am done with “this” (whatever I am doing at that moment), I will take care of “that” (whatever needs to be picked up, thrown away, or otherwise dealt with). The problem comes when finishing “this”, makes “that”, completely flee from my mind.

True story: I was very mindful that I had an appointment that I need to leave for the second I finish work. I was even thinking about it the moment the clock struck “Time to Leave”. But if someone asked me for help with something at the last moment. SQUIRREL! I immediately started helping them. At the moment I got out to my car, I remembered the appointment. Glancing at the clock, I realized that I could not possibly make it to the appointment in the two minutes I had to make a 20 minute trip.

This was actually the second or third time I had forgotten this appointment. The first three times I met with this person were no problem. It was summer break and I was not working for two months. As soon as school started up, I was unable to make the next appointment no matter what I did.

I called and apologized and told them I would not schedule another appointment. I just didn’t trust myself to not do it again next time.

Lesson learned. No more appointments of any kind for the first few weeks, maybe even months of the school year until I can get back into the routine.

I am just now starting to understand that I have got to take the time to start recognizing the WHY’s of what I struggle with so I can fix them.  If you struggle with things like this on a regular basis, start to look at the situations and understand WHY they happen; what triggers them. Then you can start to prevent them from happening again.

And don’t forget to apologize. I know you don’t do it on purpose. I don’t do it on purpose. The person you have offended may even know that you don’t do it on purpose. But that doesn’t make it any less frustrating for them. And an apology will go a long way in mending damaged relationships.

Word Processing: Definition of a Character

I teach CIT (computer information technology) to everyone grades Kindergarten to adults. One thing I can’t emphasize enough when teaching word processing is the basic principle that EVERYTHING is a character. I use Microsoft Word in the classroom, but if you don’t have access to it, you can download Open Office for FREE from OpenOffice.org. This word processing program similar features.

What is a Character

The computer sees EVERYTHING you type as a character. Not just the letters, numbers, and what YOU think of as characters. Spaces you create with the space bar, the tabs you create with the tab key, and the new line characters you create with the enter key are all characters.  People (kids and adults alike) get so frustrated over formatting issues. Ninety percent of those frustrations can be alleviated by understanding this concept.

Microsoft word and Open Office both have a feature you can toggle on and off called “Show/Hide ¶”. You can find the “Show/Hide” toggle on the home ribbon (ribbon definition post coming soon). The button has the paragraph symbol (¶) on it.

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Illustration 1: Circled in red on the Microsoft Word window above is the Hide/Show toggle.
Open Source
Illustration 2: The Hide/Show toggle is circled in red on the Open Source window above.

The “Hide/Show” toggle not only shows you the paragraph symbols in your document. It also shows you a dot for each space created with the space bar, and a tab character (tab ) where every there is white space created with the tab key.

It is imperative that you only use the space bar to create a space in between words. The tab key should be used to create indents or to align columns of text, and the page break to start a new page. I will create a video tutorial to demonstrate all of this as soon as I have time and will put a link to it in this post when I do. If you have any questions on this subject, please feel free to post them below, or email me at amy@amylsutton.com.

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