Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Automate Your Reflections With Google Forms And Keep

It's hard make new routines. In college, I used to type new ideas and print them in 60-point font before taping them to the wall. Looking at the large fonts everyday caught my attention until I successfully made the "post" part of my routine.


These days, I use Google Keep to jot down what I think are good ideas. This seemed like it had a lot of potential, but it wasn't as good as the paper posts on the wall of my college apartment. Something was missing. The messages weren't in my face like the paper posts.

The solution hit me when my wife, who preferred her paper calendar to the Google calendar, asked me what she could do to make the digital calendar more routine. I suggested setting reminders in Keep.

That's when the Keep reminder light bulb went off in my head. Why didn't I think of that before? Like the paper posts that I took down after the idea became routine, I delete the reminder when I can see the Keep post in my routine. It's often the simplest solution that changes our lives.

Here's what I did to remind myself to reflect on what happens every week. Classroom or not, this is a great way to work any learning routine into your work flow. 

1. Make a Form (or a link to whatever you use).

My students use a Google Doc to write weekly reflections, but I chose a form for myself because I wanted the time stamp collected automatically. Plus, I wanted to try something new to see if it works better.


2. Paste the form link into the note.

What's great about pasting the form link into the Keep note is that the reminder appears as a notification on my phone and reflecting is just two quick touches away.


3. Set the reminder to repeat as frequent as you want.

The reminder can be set for a specific time, and the frequency can be daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, or custom. I set the time for the end of the week when the ideas are fresh. The best time for me is 4:00 because it's usually a time when no one needs me for anything else. 


BONUS Reminder Idea

Upload photos from your phone to a Google Drive folder (include the folder link). I should probably do this monthly, maybe on a Sunday.