Category Archives: Productivity

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Rome in a Day: A Report from the Annual Meeting of the American International Consortium of Academic Libraries

Dimitris Tzouris Maha Bali and Jim Groom 4life

As the mom of a young child, I’ve developed my own creative ways to attend conferences without leaving my child behind for long. Usually that means virtual participation, but it also sometimes means one-day minimalist conference participation. On Friday, May 13, I went to Rome for just one day to participate in the annual AMICAL conference (held at the American University of Rome), but my participation was anything but minimal, thanks to some really clever (and generous) scheduling by the confe…

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4 Suggestions for Planning a Productive Summer

Depending on your school’s academic calendar, summer might be upon you or at least close at hand. I’m already a week into the summer semester, and looking ahead at several weeks of teaching, grading, and conferencing. Every summer I set out with inflated goals and unrealistic deadlines: three months away from the normal schedule of meetings looks so promising on paper! However, it’s easy to end up with less progress than expected. Here’s a few strategies I use at the beginning of summer to make…

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Tools for an Effective Workflow

Flowing waterMany of us have favorite tools that suit our workflows well, helping us accomplish our tasks and keep track of needed bits of information. Below you’ll find a list of applications, services, and utilities that I use almost daily.

  1. Workflow. I’m a big fan of ToDoist, my preferred task manager. For the way I work, it’s a better option than Apple’s Reminders. The catch is that it doesn’t integrate with Siri, which is really handy for adding items on the go. To get around that problem, I use the wor…
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Text Analysis With Voyant 2.0

Voyant Logo

A few weeks ago, coincidentally during Day of DH 2016, it was brought to my attention that Voyant, a web-based text analysis tool, had upgraded to Version 2.0.

Voyant 2.0

This has been a popular tool with ProfHackers (I’ve written about using it as has Brian), and the new version is a great improvement. The list of changes includes:

  • a cleaner, crisper appearance

  • better cross-platform and mobile device support (all tools in HTML5, no Flash or Java Applets)

  • advanced search capabilities, including wil…

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Reflecting on Grids and Gestures

Last week I wrote about Nick Sousanis’s call for an experimental week of comics-esque journaling, Grids & Gestures. Along with many folks on Twitter, I participated in this daily exercise of chronicling a day through a grid and a series of gestures, loosely defined, without trying to “draw” so much as interpret ideas and emotions. There are several reflection posts from the week: check out thoughts from Amy Burvall, Jenny Mackness, Mariana Funes, and Kevin Hodgson. I particularly relate to Yin …

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Going Low-Tech with Paper To-Do Lists

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While at ProfHacker we are continually watching for more efficient and helpful technological solutions to the everyday challenges of academic life, sometimes the right pad of paper is better than the most feature-rich app. This year has put more stress on my schedule than any prior, thanks to a combination of progressively larger classes and several online classes, Keeping my projects going against a tide of student emails and grading sent me looking for a digital solution: I’ve tried Natalie’s…

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Looking for an Exchange Calendar for Mac? Try Fantastical 2.2

LEGO calendar
Like most of the apps Apple bundles with OS X, Calendar is very . . . eh. The best thing you can say about it is that plays pretty well with the various iDevices, and it can be used as a source of data for other calendaring apps.

Since 2010, one of the nicest calendar apps for OS X (and iOS) has been Fantastical, which has distinguished itself from the start with slick design and very nifty natural language parsing for adding events quickly and sensibly. It started as a menubar app, moved to t…

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When Should You Reply to Email?

cat at laptop

An uncomfortable truth about the modern workplace is that many people are buried under a seemingly-endless flow of email. Reading it, responding to it, and managing it can take a lot of time unless you have a good system in place. Today I just want to focus on the question of when you should respond to email.

Reply to email on your own schedule, not whenever your software notifies you a new item has arrived. The most important way to gain some control over the firehose of email is to set aside …

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Curing the Blue Light Blues

As Jason pointed out recently, many of us are suffering from sleep debt — and that’s not only the amount of sleep we know we’re missing, but the additional amount of sleep we would need to move past our usual level of accustomed tiredness to something closer to optimal function:

By this point in the semester, many faculty and students are, if this research is correct, operating at cognitive deficits similar to pulling all-nighters for two days.

One reason we’re staying up at night? Our beloved …

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How to Ask Great Coaching Questions

question marks
Over the last two decades, the field of personal and professional coaching has grown and diversified. Today, the International Coaching Federation website

offers a directory of coaches specializing in everything from ADD to leadership to spiritual development. In the corporate world, coaches are frequently employed within organizations as well as hired as outside consultants. Although coaching is less well integrated within academic institutions, a growing number of coaches specialize in worki…