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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Email Overload: Ideas to Help!

It sits there every day taunting you. Your email box already has hundreds, if not thousands of emails. How many will you add today? You have tried a number of ways to lessen this stress. Either they didn’t work or you gave up on them. You know that email still remains the lifeblood of communication in DKG. You have been afraid to delete an email, thinking that you might need the information it contained. How many times have you needed that information and couldn’t find it?
The suggestions below may help to make an impact. Perhaps some strategies will seem natural and you will use them faithfully. Everyone will do things differently. Try a few ideas and see what fits.
  • Perhaps the most radical suggestion is to set up at least three different email accounts: work account, personal account, and a “junk” or bulk account. Some members create a DKG account as their "work" account. In any case, privacy advocates suggest setting up one account that you use strictly for your bank or credit union. If you begin to get spam on this account, it has been compromised in some way.
  • Unsubscribe, Unsubscribe, Unsubscribe! Even if you have a “junk” account, it can easily get out of control. Scroll to the bottom and choose to unsubscribe.
  • Schedule a time to work with your email.  Allow time for responding, unsubscribing, organizing, deleting, and anything else that may be needed. Stick to that schedule and attend to every new email in your inbox.
  • Reply/Delete/Store Create a method to store important emails. Put important emails in folders that will organize by topic. Consider using a program such as Evernote (free), which will store important information and can be searched.  Immediately after reading and replying (if needed), make the decision to delete or store. Although some people find it hard to delete any emails, remember that storing emails takes up valuable space. Be ruthless.
  • Read each email ONCE and make a decision. Does it get stored or deleted? Do it! Complete each email before moving on.
  • Create a bridge email. Do not let people remain in suspense, unsure of what is going on. Senders may be unsure if you even received their emails. They may also get offended when you don’t even send a reply. Instead, send a bridge email that assures senders that you have received the email. A bridge email is a “canned” response, but a simple “Thank you” usually does the trick.
  • Avoid flagging emails.  Flagging emails is similar to hanging a “To Do” list on the bulletin board. You may have good intentions, but you don’t necessarily always follow through. Instead of flagging emails, consider creating a space on the calendar for the follow up. A digital calendar will send you a reminder that the email still needs a reply so you may actually get to it! However, the most efficient method is to provide an immediate response. Procrastination usually leads to unanswered emails and upset people.
  • Try to get to inbox zero.  That does not mean there are no emails in your inbox. It means that you handled every email ONCE and did something with it.
  • Reacquaint yourself with your email program. Most have time-saving aspects such as filtering or identifying important topics/people.
The first two suggestions above should be adopted by everyone. But if you try the first five, you will be well on your way to less stress and more organization.
Do you have a way to reduce inbox frustration? Please share!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

SW Regional Enjoyed Hawaiian Aloha Spirit

Aloha! Palm trees, ocean breezes, being in Hawaii: A perfect setting for the women of the Southwest Region to gather for their 2017 conference. While at times it was hard not to want to walk on the beach instead of attending a session, more than 500 members attended every general session and lots of wonderful and informative workshops. From the pre-conference trainings, to the opening night hula dancers, to the amazing speakers, DKG members were treated to the true Aloha spirit by the members from Hawaii.
Throughout the conference the words “simplify” and “change” were spoken.  We even did a Survey Monkey on our phones during the “Celebrating Our Milestones” birthday luncheon. Talk about change! Carolyn Pittman, our International President, encouraged chapters to focus on the members, relationships, relevant programs, and meaningful projects. Changes to our Constitution were discussed. It was stressed by many that it is our responsibility as members to be informed about the proposed revisions to our Constitution so that we will be ready to vote next summer in Austin.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Courage to Consider…..

I do not believe that I had courage greater than women educators of 2017. When I saw a need for change, I sought and received the support of other women educators who encouraged me. YOU are faced with the NEED to examine the Society I was fortunate to establish in 1929. It is befitting, for example, that YOU consider whether those original seven Purposes serve the modern educator—and are those Purposes listed in the order they should remain? Of course, a “genuine spiritual fellowship” is important, and it’s easy to achieve and to cite. However, in the modern age of rapid communication and instant news, should greater consideration be given to informing “members of current economic, social, political and educational issues so that they may participate effectively in a world society”? The modern woman has a greater opportunity to actively engage in issues that impact her professionally and personally than the woman of 1929. The need to be involved is not greater, but the opportunity to be more effective is much improved. The Purposes as they are now listed range from easy to achieve to more challenging. I am inviting you to determine what MOST addresses the needs of the modern woman educator.  

I am not saying that you should discard the Purposes, but I do want you to be courageous and to examine them and their impact on modern DKG members—and prioritize what is important for LEADING WOMEN EDUCATORS IMPACTING EDUCATION WORLDWIDE. Have courage strong enough to consider that “what’s always been this way” may not be the way to a strong future. 

Friday, August 18, 2017

New Resources Foster Chapter Health


The Chapter Check Up is designed for chapters to self-diagnose strengths and weaknesses. There are several advantages of regular health checkups, and the same is true for chapter checkups. The greatest benefit of an annual review is knowledge. By utilizing this optional tool, a chapter can establish a baseline that officers and members can use to detect unhealthy trends before they become risk factors or a threat to your chapter’s survival. By using this screening, you are taking steps to help your chapter be stronger and healthier.

Growing a stronger chapter can seem challenging and, sometimes, overwhelming. While there are no “cookie cutter” rules for creating a vibrant, enthusiastic and growing chapter, there are practices that are repeated again and again by successful chapters. Strategies for a Positive Chapter Environment offers a few tips collected from surveys, reports and informal research. 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

What is a Browser?

Our members most typically communicate with DKG via the Internet. Browsing the Internet is a common, daily occurrence for most people. Have you ever considered why they call it browsing? It is because you use an internet browser, also know as a Web browser.

A browser is simply a software program that you use to access the internet and view web pages on your computer, smartphone, or tablet. It is the gateway to the Internet.

The original browser, Mosaic (1992) was not graphical. It was text-based. Browsers have come a long way since then. You now have powerful browsers that let you safely and quickly access your favorite websites.

Most browsers are available for free download. The four most popular Internet browsers today include  Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and Apple Safari.

Each has its own strengths and weaknesses. Because some websites display better in one Internet browser or another, many people have at least two browsers available on their computer, smartphone, or tablet. These strengths and weaknesses are discussed in more detail below.
Choosing a Browser to Suit Your Needs

When you surf the Web, you use one of the many browsers available. A browser is the way you navigate the World Wide Web. In most instances, you begin with the browser that came with your computer. Older Windows computers gave you Internet Explorer, while updates gave you Edge. If you use an Apple product, you started with Safari. In this blog we will take a look at Edge, Safari, and others. Because Microsoft no longer supports Internet Explorer, it will not be discussed.

Microsoft Edge resembles Internet Explorer 11, so Windows users will feel comfortable with it. It fully integrates with Windows 10. For users who want and use extensions--which extend your Web browser with additional features, modify Web pages, and integrate your browser with the other services you use--Edge doesn’t allow for much customization. Syncing with your Android or iOS device isn’t straightforward.  Microsoft has sandboxed Edge away from the operating system to limit security breaches that occurred with Internet Explorer. (Sandboxing is a computer security term referring to when a program is set aside from other programs in a separate environment so that if errors or security issues occur, those issues will not spread to other areas on the computer.)

Apple Safari is a Web browser available for the Macintosh operating system as well as the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. According to Apple, Safari has been designed based on the premise that the most useful browser is one that "gets out of your way and lets you simply enjoy the Web.” If you own several Apple products, synchronization of passwords, bookmarks, history, tabs and Reading List happen seamlessly through iCloud. Like Edge, Safari is sandboxed. In general, Safari runs a bit faster than other browsers on an Apple device.

Google Chrome has a robust set of features, with full Google Account integration, and a suite of mobile apps for every major platform. It does have privacy and security controls. By some accounts, Chrome is the gold standard for web browsers. Chrome’s integration of its products is second to none.

Mozilla Firefox has been on a roller coaster of popularity over the years. Firefox is available for Linux, Mac, Windows, handheld devices, and in more than 70 different languages. Firefox is developed by the nonprofit, public-benefit organization Mozilla and thousands of volunteers worldwide. Since 1998, Mozilla has been working to help create and sustain an open and accessible Internet for all, and its focus is on individuals, not profits. Recent updates have once again pushed Firefox into the limelight of a preferred browser. It provides secure connections and browsing protections.

Choosing: Start with the one that came with your computer or smart phone/tablet. If it does everything you want and need, go no further. If however, you are like most users, you will eventually have a reason to switch. Download the one or two that interest you. They are free.

For example, this particular blogger personally has Safari, Chrome, and Firefox on her computer. She uses each one for different tasks. If she is working in the Google world, she uses Chrome. Safari doesn’t like sites that use Flash (helps with animations), so she uses Firefox or Chrome. The blogger accesses this blog via Firefox but accesses the draft of the next post via Chrome (draft is in Google docs). For general browsing, she uses Safari.

Keep several browsers on your devices. Give other browsers a test run. You may find one that better fits your needs.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Working Together for Progress: President, Treasurer, Membership Chair

Chapters are the backbone and strength of the DKG Society International. Chapters are where members engage in altruistic activities and fellowship, and chapters are the places in which and through which membership grows and strengthens. Chapters engage in activities that are meaningful to their communities. During each biennium, state organization leaders train chapter leaders to carry out the work of DKG at the chapter level. Such leadership development is an integral part of the society.

At regional conferences this summer, international leaders shared ideas with state organization counterparts, such as the detailed and practical recruitment plan that can be found on the DKG website. More significantly, state organization presidents, treasurers, and membership chairs worked together to discuss strategies and develop plans to encourage chapter presidents, treasurers, and membership chairs to work as a team when recruiting new members, retaining current members, and collecting dues in a timely and manageable manner.

Feedback from attendees was positive. Leaders said they had ideas to take back to try in their state organizations, including surveying members for program topics at the time of membership renewal; working together as a team; and trying various ways of collecting dues.

The overriding goal is to increase membership and the sense of value in membership…. and it takes a team at each level of the Society to accomplish this goal for the benefit of all.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

A graphic conveys a thousand create one!

Many times a DKG member who is working on a project of some sort needs something to make it stand out. She checks clip art and photos online, but nothing seems just right. There is an easy way to make an original graphic that will make your project pop! We mentioned Canva in a previous posting. Perhaps some of you tried it out. If not, now is the time. You will not regret it.

Canva is a free graphic-design tool website, founded in 2012. It has an easy to use drag-and-drop interface and provides access to over a million photographs, graphics, and fonts. It is used by non-designers as well as professionals. The tools can be used for both web and print media design and graphics. (Canva - Wikipedia

Both free and paid versions are available. For most DKG members, the free version is more than sufficient. Any graphic that is created is saved and can be reworked.

Canva has many strong points, but one does stand out. Every time you need a graphic, you probably need a special size. For example presentations (PowerPoint) need a 1920 px by 1080 px, while a Facebook cover is 828 px by 315 px. These are only two examples of the many templates available.

You can upload your own photos or special icons or use one of the many free ones.

Below are examples that were made using Canva. We hope you are inspired to get creative. 

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