Category Archives: Productivity

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How to Get That Suitcase Unpacked

suitcasesOne of the great productivity mysteries has to be why so many of us put off unpacking a suitcase after a trip. This is the stuff of sitcoms, of advice columns, and blog posts. And of real life: I’ll be the first to admit that I sometimes leave my bag halfway unpacked for several days after a trip, even though it makes me feel somewhere between irritated and nauseous to see it sitting in the middle of the room.

So why is it so hard to unpack a suitcase?

The primary reasons are:

Fatigue: If you ar…

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Learn Another Language During Your Commute with Duolingo

I live in the Boston area, which means (as for many) I have a decent commute to work every day. I hate fighting traffic in the car, so I make this commute by train. I’ve written in the past about why I started carrying a Kindle rather than an iPad on this commute, so that I could read without being distracted by email, Facebook, and so forth.

I still keep the Kindle for my commutes home, but recently I’ve taken up a new activity on my commutes to work—the language-learning app Duolingo, which i…

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3 Ways to Makeover Your To-Do List

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When you look at your to-do list for the day, week, or month (or lists of projects and actions if you follow David Allen’s GTD distinction), do you feel a sense of clarity and direction? Or do you feel confused, overwhelmed, or frustrated?

If you feel overwhelmed, it may not just be the quantity of the work you plan to do. It may also be due to a lack of clarity about the work you plan to do.

Taking a little time to clean up your to-do list with one or more of the following steps can offer huge…

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Share URLs Quickly with ShoutKey

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Imagine you’re in a meeting, seated around a table with eight other people. You want to share a URL with them, but it’s several levels down in the hierarachy of the particular website. What do you do?

If you’re all already connected online via a shared document or text messaging, then you could just drop the URL into a message for them to click on.

But what if you’re not all connected, or you don’t know the names and email addresses of all the people you want to share the URL with? ShoutKey is …

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New Features on the DiRT Directory

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DiRT (formerly known as Bamboo DiRT) is a repository of digital tools, organized, and curated by users. The idea behind its creation — as explained in this 2013 post by Seth Denbo — was to try and eliminate the re-creation of digital teaching and research tools that already existed. It has always been my go-to resource for finding tools, as well as sending students and faculty there so they can begin to explore and imagine ways that they might integrate digital assignments into their classrooms…

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Digital and Analogue Writing with LiveScribe

I still love to write thing by hand, on paper, in a notebook. Call it a holdover from my days (and nights) spent writing in journals and diaries and notebooks. I always had a notebook and pen with me. I was always writing.

Now I have my iPhone with me, and I tweet a whole lot.

But writing out drafts, or brainstorming, or jotting down ideas, those are activities that I miss doing. What I don’t miss doing in transcribing them, or not having access to them if I don’t happen to have the right n…

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Tools That Stay Out of the Way

A drawing showing an assortment of hand tools

Picking the right tools for our work is important. I’ve written about some of my favorite tools in this space before, including in this post from — gulp! — five years ago. (I’m still using Dropbox and Google Documents; I’ve abandoned the Rollabind for my iPad and I don’t use the whiteboard much anymore.)

Others have written about the importance of making prudent choices about the tools we use and about lessons learned from being an indiscriminate tool adopter.

As we choose our tools, it’s good …

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Keeping Track of People with Status

It’s been almost a year since my family moved, meaning that my husband now has an hour commute to and from work. He was getting tired of me texting him asking if he had left yet or where he was on his route home. He found the app Status that automated the process of letting me know (and vice versa) where he was or what he was doing.

Available for both iPhones and Android devices, it lets anyone you allow to see where you are and what you are doing (according to status notifications that automat…

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Revisiting Mailbox for Managing Emails

Just over two years ago, I wrote about my early experiences with the Mailbox email application. Since then a lot has happened with Mailbox: it was acquired by Dropbox, for one, and it has released openly-available apps for iPad, iPhone, and Android Phones, as well as a beta desktop application for OS X. I’ve been using Mailbox since then—save one brief flirtation with Inbox for Gmail, which borrows many of Mailbox’s ideas and about which I may write soon—and wanted to write a brief followup.

Fi…