Category Archives: Productivity

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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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5 Things to Love About Coffee

Whether you’re a Starbucks loyalist or a member of the rebel alliance, the chances are pretty good that you’re a regular consumer of coffee. I, for one, am certainly doing my part to keep the coffee business going strong. Recently, a great local coffee bar opened here in downtown Spartanburg, and it’s become my semi-regular hangout of late thanks to free wireless Internet access, low prices, and the high probability that I’ll run into friends and acquaintances there. To be honest, I’ve been a l…

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Simple Little Tricks

Sometimes it’s the simplest little tricks that can make a big difference in our work. For example, I’ve written about using carabiners on my backpack to help me keep track of my keys. I like having this smartphone holster for my iPhone, keeping a simple little multitool on my keyring, and wrapping all kinds of things with velcro cable ties.

And for a few years now, I’ve been using rubber bands with my colored whiteboard markers.

Brian and many others may love teaching with chalk, but it’s no bi…

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How to Run a Group-Authored Blog


Independently of each other, a small number of people have recently asked about the workflow involved in publishing a group-authored blog like ProfHacker.

Now I don’t pretend that the way we do things is the best way possible, but I’m happy to describe how we go about publishing 2 posts a day, 5 days a week.

If you’re involved in a similar project that uses a different workflow, feel free to share the details in the comments to this post.
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Using Browser Profiles for Organization

Many of us have more than one email account these days. I have several, I’m afraid, though I don’t need to use all of them regularly (thankfully!).

Still, there are three that I use on an almost daily basis: my personal account, my main work account, and the account of the office I currently direct.

While I could use a desktop email client to manage my email (and I sometimes do, for backup purposes if nothing else), all three are GMail accounts. Since I also make extensive use of Google Calenda…

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Open Thread Wednesday: Taking Stock and Thinking Ahead


On my campus the semester has just about a month of regular classes left, which means that it’s time to start taking stock of what’s been done, what’s almost finished, and what still needs to be wrapped up. Committee deadlines approach, student projects near completion, and research tasks need to be completed over the next month or so. How much time is left in the term on your campus? What kinds of plans are you making? How do you make sure that everything that needs to get taken care of actual…

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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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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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Researching the Recent Past Online

statues at internet archive[This is a guest post by Dan Royles, a lecturer at the University of Angers in western France, where he teaches American Studies and English as a foreign language. He's previously written on "Digital Workflows for the Archives" for ProfHacker. You can find him online at danroyles.com, or follow him on Twitter at @danroyles.--@JBJ]

When I was writing my dissertation on African American AIDS activism, I ran into the problem that plagues many historians of the recent past: lack of archival sources….