Category Archives: Productivity

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Building Habits and Routines

 September is always a hectic time in academia: depending on your campus’s schedule, you might be a few weeks into classes or just getting started. As I’ve been starting to get the hang of life at a new university, for a while I let everything else slip: exercise became something I fit in when possible instead of scheduled, and, as one of my friends put it, I regressed to eating like a college student. Getting these types of priorities back on the to-do list can feel impossible when it’s already …

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Updating the Three-Envelope Method for the Digital Age

Envelopes

So you’ve written an article and sent it off to be considered for publication in a journal. You wait. And wait. And wait. And then when you eventually get a response, perhaps it’s a rejection, or a revise and resubmit.

What do you do next?

No one likes disappointment, but academics have to get used to the experience of rejection and figure out ways to manage it. A lot of people find themselves so crushed by rejection or negative feedback on a piece of writing that they set it aside and never re…

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Commit to Your Calendar

calendar

When you glance at your calendar for next week, what do you see? Is it mostly empty except for a couple of meetings on Thursday, but you know that you have classes to teach on Monday and Wednesday? Or maybe your calendar looks completely full, but you know that you won’t really get to half the tasks you’ve filled in the days with. Many of us either carry commitments in our heads that we have to think about when scheduling other events, or we have to sort through the mixed list of appointments a…

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Five Ways to Say No

say no to yes Do you ever find yourself attending an event or participating in a project that you don’t really have time for, aren’t interested in, or won’t benefit from in some personal or professional way? It happens to all of us. It can usually be traced back to that moment when you agreed to do the project, or attend the meeting, even though you already knew you didn’t want to. Or maybe you did think you wanted to attend – it seemed like a reasonable thing to do, or you wanted to support the person or gr…

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Back to School Supplies

binder clips

Part of getting ready for the new academic year involves stocking up on necessary supplies. Some of the suggestions we’ve covered before at ProfHacker include:

As I’ve mentioned previously, as a child I always loved getting the list of required sch…

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5 Things You Can Do To Prepare For The New Semester

new-semester

A couple of weeks ago, Natalie wrote a post about wrapping up the summer. I know, I know. Say it isn’t so!

Well, today I’d like move from summer to fall by point you to a handful of posts I wrote in the early ProfHacker days about getting ready for a new term. Not everyone is going to find all of this advice helpful, obviously, but we hope that there are at least a few things in these posts that can be of use to you:

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How Will You Wrap Up Summer?

swimming dog

The academic summer season has less to do with the solstice and equinox than with the academic calendar and the changes in population, traffic patterns, building hours, professional duties, and activities that occur on college campuses as we get ready for the start of a new year. Even if you do not have direct classroom contact with students, chances are that your work and/or your life will be affected in some ways by their return. (And, of course, if you have children in your household, then t…

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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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On Deadlines

hourglass wrought iron

Some hard (and sometimes hard-won) truths about deadlines, academic and otherwise:

Some deadlines are really, truly, firm. And some are not.

Some deadlines come with negative consequences for not meeting them in a timely fashion. Some do not.

Some negative consequences take physical or visible forms, such as late fees, delayed diplomas, or cancelled accounts. Some negative consequences are psychological and emotional, such as feelings of embarrassment, guilt, or shame.

Deadlines and their flexi…