As Jason recently explained in What We Talk About When We Talk About Productivity, here at ProfHacker, “We’re less interested in helping you be more productive in the abstract than in solving specific productivity-related problems, especially the crippling self-punishment associated with anxieties about productivity.”
In that spirit, here are a few questions that can increase your awareness about how you’re spending your time and energy.
What are you doing right now? The first step in cultivatin…
It can happen to anyone. You’ve been extra busy, or a family member was sick, or you just had your mind on other things. You thought you were dealing with your email, but you were just reading the urgent items.
Suddenly, your email inbox is filling up: the count of unread messages (or, perhaps even worse, messages that have been read but not actually dealt with) has crept into the triple digits. (Maybe even the quadruple digits.)
You vow to sit down and clean it out. But you only get through a s…
One of the keys to personal behavior change is understanding what you’re actually doing. In order to understand what you’re doing, you have to track those specific behaviors or facets of your behavior that you’re interested in changing. (Benjamin Franklin is often hailed as a pioneer in this area.)
Tracking your behavior helps in two key ways: by creating awareness of your actions, which can help you further adjust them, and by giving you concrete evidence of the success or failure of your choic…
During the first months of ProfHacker, in 2009, Julie wrote a post introducing us all to Using Super Smartphones for Productivity.
Given how fast technology changes, and how nearly ubiquitous smartphones are today, that post has already acquired a kind of antique charm.
Over the subsequent years we’ve written quite a bit about using your phone productively, as you’ll see in this Archive collection.
Is there something you know you want to start doing, but you just can’t seem to begin? Whether it’s beginning a new piece of writing or establishing a daily workout routine, sometimes all the rational plans, checklists, and arguments in the world won’t be enough to get you going.
Maybe you know you need to go to the gym, but you never seem to make the time for it. Or you tell yourself that you will start writing that article when you have three hours free, or when your desk is organized, or afte…
How much time do spend in your inbox? Do you check email on your phone, in odd bits of time throughout the day? Is your inbox always open in a browser tab? How much email do you have piling up that you’ve glanced at but not responded to or deleted?
If you have difficulty focusing on your priority projects because you spend much of your day responding to email, one of the best strategies to improve your processing of email and your focus on other things is to limit your handling of email to set t…
Not surprisingly, the writers at ProfHacker have thought quite a bit about the software tools they use to write.
Here’s a collection of posts from the archives that focus on the use of plain text editors and alternative word processors.
Lincoln describes text editors like Vim, Notepad++, and TextWrangler as Writing Power Tools that are stable, efficient, and promote good writing habits.
Jason discusses Notational Velocity, a Mac plain-text note app that is can be used for idea captu…
About 18 years ago, when I bought my first scanner, I had a vision of keeping paperless research files. But it wasn’t really feasible then, given the hardware I had to work with and the time it would have taken me to scan documents.
Today, the hardware and software for scanning, archiving, and OCRing paper documents has dramatically improved. I’m still not living a paper-free life, but I’m able to archive and use items in PDF format much more easily than even a couple of years ago. I’ve written …
Do you ever find yourself looking at your calendar of upcoming events and wondering why you ever agreed to do one of them?
Whether it’s a professional obligation, a service commitment, or a social event, many of us say yes without really taking the time to evaluate whether that’s the right response.
Too Many Commitments, Not Enough Time
If you say yes to everything, you’ll very quickly become overwhelmed. This is true for anyone, but many academics struggle with this for two main reasons:
I’ve said it probably twenty times already this semester: “Have a great winter break!”
Of course, what’s great for one person may be different from what would be great for another. Here are some questions that can help you figure out what would make your own winter break great:
How do you feel right now?
How do you want to feel during your winter break?
How busy do you want to be?
How relaxed do you want to be?
What would you like to create, build, or make?
What would you like to explore, disc…