Category Archives: Productivity

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Back to School Supplies

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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

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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…

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Tools for Transitions: Finding A New Home


For most of us in academia, big transitions are inevitable. We move from graduate school in one state to a postdoc or fellowship in another and perhaps through several such temporary positions in search of permanence. And, even if found, permanence can be an illusion as needs of departments, family ties, and other life considerations get in the way. I’m in the midst of a big transition this summer: I’m relocating to Orlando for a new job at the University of Central Florida. So as I navigate th…

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Use Copy for Cloud Storage Backup and File Sharing

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[Jason A. Heppler is the Academic Technology Specialist in the Department of History at Stanford University and a Ph.D. candidate in History at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He tweets at @jaheppler.]

Recent announcements are showing a trend in cheaper storage solutions and cloud backups. Google recently updated its pricing for Drive storage and now offers 15 GB for free and incredibly cheap prices for 100 GB, 1 TB, and 10TB+. At WWDC, Apple announced changes to its iCloud service towards …

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A Quick ProfHack: Kindling the Presentation

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A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of speaking at the Digital Humanities Summer Institute at the University of Victoria. If you haven’t attended (and didn’t have your Twitter stream flooded with #DHSI2014 tweets), DHSI is a week-long Digital Humanities extravaganza, which you can read about in a previous ProfHacker post. I was participating in one of the new “Birds of a Feather” discussions, which asked two provocateurs to make short presentations and then would open up into a discussion wi…

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Your Information Diet

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How’s your diet these days? Many people find the summer months to be a good time for making some healthy adjustments to their eating patterns, whether that means eating more fresh vegetables, eating more regular meals, or trying new recipes or cooking methods.

Just as the foods we eat affect the strength, health, and overall well-being of our physical body and brain, the information sources we absorb can affect our attention, emotional state, and mental well-being.

In a recent blog post entitle…