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How to Fake It Till You Make It While Running On No Sleep

How to Fake It Till You Make It While Running On No Sleep

Deadlines have a way of ganging up on you. For those times when you’re faced with multiple due dates in the same week and feel no sleep is the only answer, here are some top tips to get through with your sanity and relationships intact.

Before: Prepare

1. Recruit your support team.

Or at the very least, warn those at home! The people you live with are the ones who will be seeing less of you, picking up the slack on the jobs you normally do and putting up with your sleep-deprived mood-swings. If you can, give them a start and finish date so that they know for how long life will be weird. Plan a special catch up treat for all of you on the other side. Help them understand why meeting these deadlines will not only be good for you, but for them too.

2. Postpone and plan.

Put off anything that is not essential until after you’ve met the crunch. Make a list of all the things you won’t be getting to and keep it in a safe place. This is an important step! Use this time to get to know your natural rhythms. What time of day are you most productive? When does your energy lag? Pay close attention, and learn the patterns so that you can make the most of them while clobbering your deadlines.

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3. Organize your environment.

Now is a good time to throw out unnecessary clutter, tidy your desk drawers, and pack away anything that you won’t need. A cluttered work area can be overwhelming when you are tired, but keeping your space tidy during your deadline crunch will help your mind to feel ordered and function more efficiently.

It is a proven fact that our brains don’t operate at 100% when we haven’t had sufficient sleep, but there are ways to work around this. Build in backup plans. An easy example is to have a specific place to always hang your car keys. This will save you hours of frustrated searching when your fuzzy brain can’t quite remember. If you are normally a messy person, train yourself to live tidily. It may seem like a small thing, but the point is to make your life as simple as possible while you focus on your deadlines. Living tidily means being able to find your stuff without spending precious working time hunting through piles of clutter.

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    During: Persevere

    A single all-nighter is a sprint, but an extended period of sleep-deprivation is a marathon and needs to be handled differently. Pace yourself, listen to your body, and split up your work into smaller, manageable sections. You will achieve more in short, focused sessions, with breaks in between, than longer sessions that cause you to fall asleep sitting up, drooling on your keyboard. Pay attention to the following.

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    1. Refuel your body.

    Just as your car won’t run on water, your body needs proper fuel. Avoid junk food: chips, sweets, and energy drinks. Instead, opt for healthy options: seeds & nuts, fresh fruit and vegetables, and healthy, light, regular meals. Choose water over fizzy drinks.

    2. No sleep; take naps instead.

    If you can’t afford a full night’s sleep, never underestimate the power of the humble nap. Your productivity will suffer if you keep working for too long without any sleep at all. If you struggle to wake up afterwards, take a quick shower, walk outside in the fresh air, and splash your face with some water; you’ll soon get to know what works best for you.

    3. Get up and move.

    Stretch to de-tangle your muscles and ease stiffness from sitting in the same position for hours. Get your heart rate up by running in place, skipping or doing jumping jacks. This gets the blood flowing to deliver fresh oxygen to your whole body and mind. If it makes you feel daft, don’t worry—we all feel silly leaping around by ourselves at three in the morning. Ignore your ego; your body will love you for it, and it will bring you closer to conquering your deadlines.

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    4. Include motivators.

    What makes your brain buzz? Play music that gets your feet tapping, or let your favorite tv show run in the background. If that is too distracting, line up the (healthy!) rewards at the end of each section. Find those things that switch you on and shamelessly bribe yourself.

    5. Avoid driving.

    Any pill that makes you drowsy comes with a warning for you not to drive or operate dangerous machinery while you are under the influence of that medication. Deadline crunching on no sleep can be just as lethal. Organize a carpool, or take the bus or a train. You might even be able to sneak in some zs while travelling—bliss!

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      After: Recover

      1. Take time off.

      Schedule time off to find yourself again. Get some decent sleep, and reward yourself for your hard work. Give your brain time to recuperate. Don’t be shocked if you find yourself feeling completely demotivated, directionless or even slightly depressed. Be gentle on yourself as you recover; give yourself plenty space to regroup and recharge. Beating yourself up will only delay your recovery. It won’t take long to find your groove again.

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      2. Prioritize time with loved ones.

      Make reconnecting with your support crew your chief priority. Spend time catching up on all the tiny details that you may have missed. Give them your focused attention. Turn off your cell phone, and leave the laptop shut. Go for long walks, cook meals together, do all the things that you said no to while meeting your deadlines.

      3. Take out your “postponed” list.

      With a brain that is still in recovery, you will be grateful that you made a list of all the things that you postponed. By now, some of them will need your attention. As you feel up to it, find your list and work your way through it one item at a time. Having a list in hand will help you get out of the post-deadline-slump in small, easy steps.

      Does your family still love you? Did you meet your deadlines? Congratulations! You successfully faked it til you made it while running on no sleep!

      Featured photo credit: IMG_5944 by Oleander via mrg.bz

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      Last Updated on November 5, 2019

      5 Learning Management Systems (LMS) for Effective Learning

      5 Learning Management Systems (LMS) for Effective Learning

      Businesses rely on talent to generate and sell value. Without skilled people to create its products, manage its operations and execute its strategies, a business would inevitably fizzle out of the game and leave better-staffed competitors to take the field.

      This is the reason why ambitious companies go great lengths to attract top talent,[1] shelling out millions of dollars in the process and bending traditional work policies just to bring highly skilled but demanding candidates into the fold.

      Clearly, the contours of business are changing. But so are the demographics of work.

      Millennials have become the dominant generation in the job market in terms of population, and some have already transitioned into leadership roles. Most millennials consider opportunity to learn and grow more important than overall compensation.[2]

      Companies also today expect employees to come equipped with razor sharp business acumen.[3] Unfortunately, there is an alarming discrepancy between the actual skills businesses need and those currently possessed by job candidates.

      To stay in the game, employers need to continually upgrade their training and skills development strategies to cover the entire employee lifecycle.

      What are Learning Management Systems (LMS)?

      Learning management systems are software-based solutions for authoring, presenting, consuming, storing, and tracking educational content and training materials. These systems aim to centralize all instructional content (e.g., lessons, training modules, instructional videos, presentation slides, worksheets, online quizzes, ebooks, takeaway notes, etc.) in one place.

      LMS enable instructors to design and deliver learning experiences to students, with the added capability of evaluating the effectiveness of the instructional materials and grading the learning progress of students.

      On the other side of the equation, learners use LMS to develop skills and acquire new knowledge virtually anytime and anywhere via the different channels and content formats made possible by digital technology.

      Over the years, a wide range of features and technologies have been integrated into learning management systems to help enhance the experience of training designers, instructors, and learners. These include cloud and mobile technology, artificial intelligence, responsive design, scheduling, gamification, data analytics, and interoperability with other applications.

      5 Best All-Purpose Learning Management Systems

      There are dozens of LMS vendors catering to the general market or to specific segments such as K-12 learning, higher education, and corporate training.

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      With so many options available, selecting the right LMS solution for your needs can be complicated and costly, especially when you end up adopting a platform that doesn’t exactly match your goals or requirements.

      Short of conducting a comprehensive audit of your needs and finalizing a learning roadmap, the safest bet would be to adopt full-featured but affordable LMS solutions.

      Based on user reviews, here are the 5 best LMS to help people gain knowledge, build skills, and achieve mastery:

      1. Canvas Network

      Launched by Instructure as an open source software in 2011, Canvas is an end-to-end cloud-based service originally engineered for the education sector.

      Widely adopted for K-12 and Higher Ed learning, Canvas can be repurposed for anything that involves an instructor, a subject matter, and a student.

      Used around the world by people of all ages and organizations of all types, Canvas arguably has the largest learning and support community in its class. It works on desktop computers, tablets and mobile phones.

      To get a glimpse of the platform’s fresh interfaces, you can visit the Canvas Network, a learning community that provides educational and instructional materials created by colleges, universities, corporate businesses, independent course developers, and other knowledge-sharing entities around the world.

      Hosting hundreds of interesting topics from data science to horticulture, the learning network also serves as evidence to the scope, capabilities, and popularity of the Canvas LMS platform.

      Canvas is hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS) infrastructure, which enhances the platform’s reliability, speed, scalability, and overall online performance.

      Additionally, platform adopters enjoy a low-risk environment since cloud-based solutions require no hard stops for version updates, upgrades, or system migrations.

      The Canvas website does not show a price matrix but says the service adopts a simple formula for computing fees: a one-time implementation fee and an annual subscription fee based on total number of users. It also promises free basic services for teachers who want to use the platform.

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      In addition to Canvas, Instructure also offers Bridge (an LMS designed for corporate environments), Arc (a video platform for online learning), and Gauge (an assessment management system).

      Check out this video if you want to learn more about Canvas Network:

      2. Google Classroom

      This free service from Google aims to improve the teaching and learning process using cloud technology, web apps, workflow simplification, and seamless communication between students and instructors.

      Using Classroom, educators can easily create and schedule classes, distribute assignments, send feedback, and grade quizzes all in one place. By streamlining processes, Classroom helps teachers save time and organize classes more effectively. Both students and teachers can also work using any device anytime and anywhere.

      Classroom works perfectly with other Google tools, having been launched initially as part of Google’s G Suite for Education. This LMS solution taps Google Drive for content storage and distribution, as well as Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides for the creation and sharing of instructional materials. Meanwhile it integrates Google Calendar for scheduling and Gmail for communication.

      With G Suite, other communication channels such as chat messaging, video conferencing, and a dedicated website are enabled.

      Easy to set up and manage, Google Classroom is free to use. One of my very first courses was actually hosted on Google Classroom.

      Going beyond the classroom environment, Google offers G Suite Enterprise for Education for large institutions. This suite provides enhanced search and analytics capabilities as well as advanced tools for enterprise communications.

      3. Moodle (Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment)

      If budget and capability equally top your list of LMS adoption criteria, then Moodle might just fit the bill. Which is to say there’s none (i.e., bill).

      Moodle is a free and open-source learning solution for distance education, workplace training, flipped classrooms, and other pedagogical environments.

      It is also a full-featured LMS supported by a robust community and a thriving developer ecosystem. Not surprisingly, Moodle is used in more than 15 million courses by more than 130 million users in 230+ countries.

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      Among other things, Moodle enables administrators and educators to create a dynamic and dedicated website to host organic, easily accessible, and highly customizable courses that can be experienced on desktops and mobile devices anytime and anywhere.

      Moodle provides a personalized and intuitive dashboard as well as a host of collaboration tools for content designers, teachers, and learners. A universal calendar, an efficient file management system, an automatic notification system, multimedia integration, and a progress tracking tool all come with the package.

      Check out this video if you want to learn more about Moodle:

      4. Absorb

      This platform recently bagged PC Magazine’s Editors’ Choice Award for Best LMS.

      Co-designed and built by former course authors, Absorb takes learning experience to the next level. This turnkey LMS solution is responsive, full-featured, and highly customizable for maximum impact.

      Course developers can orchestrate a wide range of experiences depending on audience or learning situation. In addition to surveys, polls, and e-commerce integration, Absorb supports formal online learning and certifications standards such as AICC, SCORM, and Tin Can.

      The user interface can also be modified to match the learner’s location, group, or department, allowing for a different look and feel for customers, channel partners, management trainees, and newly hired employees.

      Absorb supports all personal computing devices from desktops to mobile phones. There are also native or hybrid apps for iOS and Android.

      The only possible drawback to the platform’s powerful feature set is its pricing. The service reportedly implements a flat, one-time setup fee depending on your business and training requirements. According to the site, any plan comes with a dedicated success team for your account.

      Although small companies are welcome to try, midsize to enterprise-scale organizations are probably the best segment to readily adopt this LMS solution.

      Take a look at some examples of Absorb in this video:

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      5. Watershed Collaborative

      Created by a group of educators, this nonprofit rethinks the priorities of an LMS, asserting that too many systems miss the most essential elements of what makes learning stick. They promise a better user experience – emphasizing Learning before Management and System.

      Watershed aims to support an inquiry-based learning experience through an integrated mix of online and in-person learning strategies and interactions designed expressly for teams – including collaboration, reflection, and dialogue.

      While Watershed was founded initially to serve the K-12 education market, the company has since expanded its scope to cater to all types of teachers and learners with its video-rich, state-of-the-art platform.

      If you’re a mission-driven educator, content creator, institution, or business, this LMS may be the one for you.

      Watershed specializes in assisting you with the instructional design of courses and provides content production services to ensure top-quality video assets with lasting value. Their LMS makes it easy for course creators to continuously update and tailor content to support small and large groups, while ensuring the technology and instructional strategy supports communities of learners.

      Pricing varies based on products and services, but revenues support the nonprofit’s ability to make its platform and courses available at little or no cost for high-need educators and educational settings.

      Honorable Mentions

      There are dozens of LMS vendors in this growing market and the brands included in foregoing list are by no means the only viable options for companies or learning institutions looking to upgrade their learning infrastructure.

      Many other excellent services are worth checking out. These include:

      1. Docebo is an LMS designed for hyper-engaging students, employees, customers, and other learners. The system helps organizations identify and resolve competency gaps with strategic learning interventions.
      2. Cornerstone OnDemand is a talent, training, and performance management solution offered as an SaaS (Software-as-a-Service). This service enables learners to create personalized playlists of instructional content.
      3. Lessonly is an LMS solution that makes it easier to recall and reinforce whatever skills or knowledge you have learned through quizzes, coaching, and constant practice.
      4. Skillsoft is an online training and corporate learning platform developed by a two-decade old and billion-dollar company with the same name.
      5. D2L BrightSpace is a learning management system that has all the basics for delivering excellent, rich-media experiences for classroom or workplace training.

      Conclusion

      There are many ways to learn but some are more effective and meaningful than others. Whether you are a teacher looking to enhance classroom learning or an HR manager creating a long-term talent development plan for employees, the key to impactful learning is to understand and bridge the needs of learners, the goals of your institution, and the actual capabilities of the learning tools you are considering.

      Note that using multiple LMS platforms is possible although not recommended. On the other hand, adopting other learning solutions beyond LMS (such as podcasts, mentoring, and onsite in-person workshops) may significantly improve learning outcomes. Always go for products and plugins that seamlessly integrate into your core LMS tool.

      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

      Reference

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