Category Archives: Productivity

by

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….

by

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…

by

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…

by

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…

by

Six Simple Meals for Your Busy Semester

asian noodle soup

Here at ProfHacker, we’ve written a lot about how we can use technology to “hack” our professional lives, with occasional ventures into exercise and general wellness. Today I’m bringing you six very simple meals that you can generally put on the table in less than fifteen minutes (beat _that_ Rachael Ray :) ) and which are still tasty and relatively healthy. Below are some of my (and my friends’) tried and true favorites.

  • Crab and Avocado Bowl. Combine a cup of shelled crab (preferably fresh…

by

Strategies for Going Paperless

Papers to scanThe paperless life: it’s a dream for a lot of us here at ProfHacker, and we’ve certainly covered a fair number of paperless strategies for various aspects of academic life in this space before.

I’m not convinced a fully paperless life is possible; somehow, the stuff still keeps landing on my desk and in my mailbox (yes, I do still have mailboxes that collect paper mail, both at home and at work). I try, though, (a) not to generate paper and (b) to be sure that paper that comes my way doesn’t sta…

by

25 Verbs to Use Instead of Email

laptop

Many people talk to me about the stress that email causes them. Often we think about email stress as caused by sheer quantity: many professionals receive 50–200 emails a day which can easily pile up and cause stress if they’re not efficiently handled.

But email itself is not the problem.  Email is just the communication tool we happen to currently use.

A powerful way to remind yourself of the deeper purpose behind your communications is to stop using email as a verb, when you’re writing somet…

by

Are those files really final?

cemetery

A recent post by Charlie Harvey, titled The word final should never appear in filenames points out that when you’re sharing files with colleagues,creating a clear system for filenames reduces a lot of potential frustration:

There is a file you need to read. Maybe it has some important stuff in it. A contract that went through a bunch of revisions. That sort of thing. Only, when you go to the directory on your company samba share there are 30 files that it could be.

Inevitably at least 3 of thes…

by

Google’s Inbox (Zero)

442433_61c142b5da_o

[Tim Lepczyk is the Director of Faculty Instructional Technology at Hendrix College. You can follow him on Twitter at @thirdcoast.--@JBJ]

Google’s new app and interface for Gmail, concisely named Inbox, tries to streamline email and thus make “inbox zero” more attainable and less something one needs to chase. Currently, the app is available through invitations only, but one can request an invite through a friend or through Google.

The idea behind Inbox is that email is a task and the goal is to…

by

From the Archives: Wrap Up the Semester

present

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 …