All posts by Jason B. Jones

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To Become a Writer, Track Your Writing

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The great secret about writing is that there isn’t any particular secret to it: You just have to show up and do it. Again, and again, and again. (There’s a reason there are books like Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day, but not any called Writing Your Dissertation in a Single Caffeine- and Adderall-Fueled Week.) If you make writing a habit, then that habitual work pays off in words. Sometimes it even leads to inspiration.

And it’s also not a secret that to form a habit, it help…

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Bad Meetings Are Your Fault

[This post originally appeared in 2009, but we thought it would be a good idea to share it again.]

If you’re consistently in bad meetings, it’s time to look in the mirror.

No one would accept consistently terrible classes. No one would continually repeat research procedures that didn’t yield interesting data. But there’s this weird assumption that meetings are just inherently bad and unimprovable.

Meetings are a problem when no one is accountable for them. Sometimes this is because the group’s …

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Create Calendar Templates On Your iOS Device with Calendar Paste

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Any calendar app worth the name can probably handle at least two kinds of events pretty easily: one-off meetings, and regularly recurring meetings. But into any academic life, there’s at least one other kind of meeting that’s also recognizable: the appointment or meeting that happens with some frequency, but not on a set schedule.

For example, department meetings sometimes wander around the calendar in order to be available to as many faculty members as possible. Committee meetings are someti…

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Open Thread Wednesday: End-of-Term Self-Care Habits?

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It’s the end of the semester, which often means a kind of grading logjam occurs: “Must get late-term assignments done before the final exams/papers/projects come flooding in!” (Otherwise, the well-known Ross Geller method threatens to take over.)

In other words, folks get overworked and tired. And overworked, tired folks often fall back on comforting routines that might not be healthy in the long run, but provide just enough order amid the chaos to get you through. I myself have been known rely…

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In Praise of Irrational Regulation

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Habits like procrastination are maddening because everyone knows, at some level, that they’re irrational–especially the person currently procrastinating! (That it’s currently final exam season at many colleges almost serves as an object lesson of this principle.) And because it’s irrational, one wants to be able to persuade oneself to act differently. I *won’t* be irrational this time, I really won’t . . . or maybe I won’t be, tomorrow.

The recent popularity, especially in nerd circles, of sel…

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Expecting Balance

[This is a repost of a ProfHacker oldie, originally from 27 May 2011.]

A perennial sore point in academe is the phenomenon of work-life balance. As Amy noted last year, there’s always something you could be doing. What’s more, there’s a good chance you like at least some part of the work, since it’s what drew you into the profession, and so you gladly take on more and more, until you realize that you’ve forgotten that you have a third child or sick parent, or your partner starts taking out pers…

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Good University Service Means Self-Replacement

Usually, when people complain about faculty and service, it’s along a few well-defined paths: faculty who shirk service; the resulting disproportionate service burden; or how nothing ever gets done.  There is, however, another problem: the faculty member who won’t let go.

Example 1: I’m always a little sad to see requests of the following type: “Due to the unusual expertise of Prof. X, we request a waiver of the term limit for the committee for gerundal pontification & beard-stroking.”  Now, s…

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5 Tips for Surviving Advising Season


[This post originally appeared in October of 2011, and given that it's that time of the semester again, we decided to republish it today.]

Mention “advising students” as part of faculty workload, and people off-campus probably conjure warm images of a faculty member expansively chatting with a student, probably a major, about future plans, career prospects, and, of course, next semester’s schedule, which is always full of courses the student wants to take, that don’t conflict, and that fulfill …

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How to Help Others Find Your Work: Austin Kleon’s Show Your Work


One of my weirdest scholarly tics is a tendency to bury the most interesting or original part of my argument. The clearest example of this is my relationship with psychoanalysis. On the one hand, I do love Lacan and Freud, and I’m pretty sure that I could talk you around to my way of reading them. On the other hand, I almost *never* talk about it. (A quick search of my main pre-ProfHacker blog returns a mere 2 posts on Lacan, which surprises even me.)

This is weird for several reasons: I end u…

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Toward a Better Charging Cable

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For all the ubiquity of wireless devices on and around college campuses, cables are still a necessary evil. Brian has offered tricks for taming behind-the-desk cables before, and George has plugged velcro cable ties, which I have developed a new appreciation for this year.

Phone chargers present a slightly different challenge than, for example, the power brick for your router. For one thing, you probable move it more. And if you live or work with others, probably other people also need to power…