Category Archives: Productivity

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From the Archives: Wrap Up the Semester

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Sooner or later, all semesters end. And each is soon followed by another academic term close upon its heels.

Here are some tips from the ProfHacker archives for ending your term so as to be in good shape when you return to your office in a week or two.

Look Backwards

Think about what worked and what didn’t work so well this semester. Write down some ideas for what habits or practices you want to continue and what you want to change next semester.

Update your cv and your annual review/promotion …

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Why You Should Use an Email Vacation Responder

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How often do you check your email? Do you love checking email? Is answering email your primary mission in life? Do you ever wish you could just get away from email for a little while?

Well, you can, by using an email vacation responder. Even if you don’t consider your holiday plans to be “vacation,” maybe it’s worth designating a couple of email-free days sometime in the next couple of weeks.

How it Works

When you have the vacation responder turned on, when someone emails you, they receive an i…

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Using IFTTT To Track Twitter Participation

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[This is a guest post by Dan Royles, a visiting assistant professor of history at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. He’s previously written for ProfHacker on “Researching the Recent Past Online” and “Digital Workflows for the Archives.”You can follow him on Twitter at @danroyles.–@JBJ

Much digital ink has been spilled on ProfHacker about using Twitter in academia, and Mark Sample has offered prac…

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Open Thread Wednesday: Productivity for the Holidays

For most of us, the end of semester is either at hand or fast approaching, and with it the prospect of a couple weeks of unscheduled time. Of course, this time isn’t truly unscheduled: even if you’re lucky enough not to have any meetings, there are probably many deadlines and projects looming, possibly an annual conference, not to mention family gatherings and holiday fun and obligations. I’ve realized lately that it’s actually easier for me to schedule my life and work when classes are happeni…

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Batch Convert Word Documents to PDF in Google Drive

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PDF format is very useful for any documents that are going to be shared with others, whether by posting online, via email or printed as hard copies. Using PDF means that you can control not only the content but also the presentational formatting, and ensure that what you create will remain consistent for your audience. PDF was designed to be cross-platform and is accessible from a variety of machines and devices.

Recently, I was reminded of a simple approach to batch converting Microsoft Word d…

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Prioritize your Activities by Gain and Pain

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Most ProfHacker readers have more things they would like to do, and more things they need to do, than they have time for in a given day. Prioritizing to-do items (or projects and next actions, if you follow David Allen’s Getting Things Done methodology) is one of the areas that causes academics and other professionals the most stress.

Many popular ways of sorting and prioritizing your action items for the day, week, or month, involve assigning some kind of importance label to them (A, B, C) and…

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#AcWriMo, #DigiWriMo, #NaNoGenMo and November Writing Sprints


November is, for many of us, a month of deadlines, pre-final anxiety and grading, and the inevitable incursion of the holidays. It is also an incredibly popular month for writing sprints and challenges, which thoroughly embrace the spirit of “fail faster” as a way to try something new or get further in a stalled project. The spirit of November is best expressed through NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, an event that brings together a huge community of writers telling stories. The same…

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Evernote and Markdown: Two Tools that Work Great Together

Evernote and Sublime Text togetherSometimes, I come across ideas for posts quite by accident.

Early this afternoon (November 6), for instance, I was looking at the wiki that we use for scheduling our posts, trying to figure out my posting schedule for the next few weeks. I was also wondering whether I’d be able to post something for the week of November 10. We try to have our posts in by midnight on Thursday of the week before the post runs, and I was, quite frankly, drawing a blank on post ideas.

I’d pretty much concluded I’d h…

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Seeing Full URLs in Safari

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Last week saw the release of Apple’s newest version of OS X, Yosemite. It has a refreshed visual design, several cool new feature–including, at long last, the ability to share documents, photos, and links between iOS devices and OS X devices via AirDrop. And I’m sure we’ll cover many of these in due course.

Today I want to talk about one of the most aggravating features: In Safari, the combined address/search bar no longer displays the full URL of webpages. Instead, it just shows the domain nam…