Category Archives: Productivity

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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…

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Keeping Track of Your Public Writing With Contently

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[Lee Skallerup Bessette is a Faculty Instructional Consultant at the Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CELT) at the University of Kentucky. She primarily works with faculty on digital pedagogy and digital humanities. She blogs at College Ready Writing and you can find her tweeting prolifically at @readywriting.--@JBJ]

I’ve written for ProfHacker before about freelance writing; given the proliferation of platforms, more and more academics are writing on and for various media o…

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Ten Things to Do Instead of Checking Email

steaming pot

So, let’s imagine that you’re in your office, and have about 15 minutes before you need to walk out of your building to get to a meeting. What do you do in those 15 minutes?

Many readers probably answered “check email.” Checking email has become the default work-ish activity for many professionals. I said work-ish because while checking email may be work-related, for most people it is not a central activity of their work.

In fact, checking email can easily become a kind of distraction, keeping …

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Email Overload? A Review of Sanebox, an Email Management Tool

SaneBox_-_Email_Management_for_Any_Inbox

I often refer to my inbox as the abyss from which few return, given how overwhelmed I generally am. Faced with a constant email deluge, I’m always worried that I will forget to answer important emails (I do), or even non-urgent ones that may fall off the face of the earth once they get buried at the bottom of my to-answer pile.

I’ve been trying out Sanebox, an email overload solution, for the past month and have been using it enough to warrant forking out money for their paid services. Sanebox …

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Stay Focused with the Momentum Extension

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One of the most important things you can do to enhance your productivity is to keep focusing on your highest priorities, the big important things, which can easily be obscured by the rush of urgent demands and everyday maintenance tasks. Even when you’ve taken the time to reflect on your roles and define your priorities, it’s easy to lose sight of them during the day.

The Momentum personal dashboard extension for the Chrome browser offers an appealing way to set a clear focus for the day and be…

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Updates to Noisli


One of the most powerful things you can do to improve your focus and productivity is to adjust your working environment. We each have different preferences for things like soft or hard furniture, room temperature, and background noise. Figuring out what works best for you in your environment can help you make the most out of your work time.

I’ve written before about Noisli, an online tool that combines a highly customizable background noise generator with a distraction-free writing environment….

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Cross-platform Calendar Management with Sunrise

Acadian SunriseLast week I fielded a question from someone who was having difficulty syncing calendar events between her Google account and her iOS device. She was finding that events were syncing only one way, which of course was problematic.

I suggested some ways to fiddle with her settings to try to resolve the problem, but I also had a recommendation to make to her, and to anyone who uses multiple accounts and/or platforms: try Sunrise Calendar.

Why the suggestion? Sunrise can handle iCloud, Google, and Ex…

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Pause, Clarify, Decide

Bucket of rocks

Professionals in every field today often find themselves overwhelmed by the flood of incoming information, opportunities, and tasks. Most of us want to do more than just keep up with the inbox — we have larger projects and goals we want to pursue, which sometimes get pushed to the side when we’re under the pressure of urgent deadlines and requests.

Stephen Covey’s classic productivity tool, the Urgent/Important matrix can be helpful in distinguishing between those activities that are urgent and…

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Managing Multiple Accounts with Airmail

Airmail envelopes and stampsEmail. For many of us, it’s a big part of our daily lives. (Be sure to see Natalie’s post from last week about helpful ways to think about email.) Given that, it’s important to be able to access and process email in ways that work efficiently for us.

Some people only have one email account, and find that a web interface is all that they really need. Others like to use a desktop client so that they have a copy of their email on a hard drive. Still others prefer to use a desktop client because the…