All posts by Natalie Houston

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Your Information Diet

cutlery

How’s your diet these days? Many people find the summer months to be a good time for making some healthy adjustments to their eating patterns, whether that means eating more fresh vegetables, eating more regular meals, or trying new recipes or cooking methods.

Just as the foods we eat affect the strength, health, and overall well-being of our physical body and brain, the information sources we absorb can affect our attention, emotional state, and mental well-being.

In a recent blog post entitle…

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Make Tomorrow Better, Today

sunrise

There are plenty of good suggestions out there about how to create new habits, how to make the most of your mornings, and how to balance your energy for optimal performance. (And we’ve even written a few of these ourselves here at ProfHacker.)

But today I just want to say that you don’t need to read another book or blog post about how to process your email or what to eat or when to do the things on your to-do list.

You already know what helps you be the best version of you.

So right now, just s…

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Tools I Use: Online Noise Generators

fans

We’ve written before at ProfHacker about choosing your playlist to change your life, about creating a soundtrack for the semester, about choosing songs for the pace of your desired daily run, and about noise-cancelling headphones when you just want silence.

But sometimes you don’t want either music or silence, but just the right sort of background noise. Many people love Coffitivity, a site (and also mobile app) that offers the background noise typical of a coffee shop. Although I often work re…

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Back to the Basics: the Urgent/Important Matrix

four cubs

(This post is the second in an occasional series revisiting classic productivity methods and tools. See the first post, Back to (GTD) Basics: The Two-Minute Rule)

One of the productivity tools that Stephen R. Covey has made well known in books like The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and First Things First is a four-quadrant matrix that visualizes the four possible combinations of Urgency and Importance:
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From the Archives: On Grading (II)

A stack of papers

Grading student assignments is a significant feature of many academics’ workload, especially as the end of semester nears. In the years since our first round up post, From the Archives: On Grading we’ve written quite a few useful posts about grading philosopies, tools, and approaches:

Philosophies and Methods

In Cross-Disciplinary Grading Techniques, Heather wrote about adopting humanities methods for grading open-ended assignments to her physics courses.

Ryan writes about how he can Avoid ‘Gra…

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How to Easily Schedule a Meeting Across Time Zones

Online communications tools such as Skype and Google Hangouts can make scholarly collegiality and collaboration more personal than email-only relationships. But what isn’t always easy is scheduling the time for phone calls or online meetings, especially when you’re collaborating across several time zones.

International meetings can be particularly difficult to schedule, especially since different countries perform their seasonal clock adjustments (like Daylight Savings Time) on different dates.

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From the Archives: All About Games

Sorry board game

From playing games, to teaching with games, making your own games, and even gamifying your email — the ProfHacker archives have a lot to offer when thinking about games.

Games in the Classroom
Anastasia has written a very thorough series of posts on Games in the Classroom:

  1. Part 1 explains that games can help students through exploring content through new or multiple points of view, learning through making, and collaboration.

  2. Part 2 explains how and where to discover games that you might wan…

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Give (and Get) Some Good Advice

So how’s your middle-of-the-semester going? Some of you might be on spring break right now, or have just returned from break, or perhaps are looking forward to one next week. The vagaries of the spring calendar mean that start and end dates vary widely, along with spring breaks. Your midterm season might be over, or just beginning.

But no matter what week of the term it is for you, chances are that you know some things now that you didn’t know at the beginning — things about the particular stud…

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Back to (GTD) Basics: The Two-Minute Rule

two yellow birds

When you’re deciding what needs to be done next on a project, or in response to an email, or about that flashing light on your car’s dashboard, how do you decide if it’s something to do right away or something to put on your list for later? Do you have a bunch of emails sitting your inbox that you keep meaning to respond to but you haven’t managed to get around to them yet? The two-minute rule might help.

In Getting Things Done, David Allen’s now-classic productivity guide, he offered the “two-…

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From the Archives: Using Twitter

robinThe essential ProfHacker introduction to Twitter is Ryan’s appropriately titled post, How to Start Tweeting (and Why You Might Want To). He covers all the basics, including creating your profile, using lists, and following hashtags. But we’ve written quite a few other posts about this popular social media platform:

Making the Most of Twitter

Erin’s primer on Choosing #Hashtags explains how to make the most of this feature of Twitter.

I wrote about Using Twitter Lists to streamline your reading e…