Category Archives: Productivity

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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…

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How Do You Work with Your Tablet?

10053155455_bcc06e19ba_kThis afternoon brings yet another set of Apple announcements–definitely new iPads, a specific release date for the new Mac operating system, and apparently retina displays for the iMac. And whenever Apple releases a product, other folks do also, with Google announcing the Nexus 9 that runs the new Android Lollipop OS..

The run of tablet announcements always makes me a bit curious: Are academics using them for work? In what ways? Obviously, we’ve covered tons of different ways people might use ta…

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Better Living Through Advanced Tricycling

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Longtime readers (George, mom) will know that I have a giant internet crush on Merlin Mann, who most people outside of Tallahassee first heard about through his productivity-themed website 43folders, then through his Inbox Zero e-mail talk at Google, and most recently as a podcaster on shows such as Back to Work, Roderick on the Line, and You Look Nice Today: A Journal of Emotional Hygiene. (How big a crush? I invited him for a 3-talk visit bac…

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Scholarly Writing Hacks: 5 Lessons I Learned Writing Every Day in June

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[This is a guest post by Jennifer Ahern-Dodson, an assistant professor of the Practice in Writing Studies at Duke University where she teaches digital storytelling and researches learning communities and community-university partnerships. You can follow her on Twitter @jaherndodson.--@JBJ]

On May 31st panic set in. I had agreed to commit to writing every day in the month of June as part of a faculty writing group experiment. Inspired both by National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), recent conv…

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Building Habits and Routines

 September is always a hectic time in academia: depending on your campus’s schedule, you might be a few weeks into classes or just getting started. As I’ve been starting to get the hang of life at a new university, for a while I let everything else slip: exercise became something I fit in when possible instead of scheduled, and, as one of my friends put it, I regressed to eating like a college student. Getting these types of priorities back on the to-do list can feel impossible when it’s already …

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Updating the Three-Envelope Method for the Digital Age

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So you’ve written an article and sent it off to be considered for publication in a journal. You wait. And wait. And wait. And then when you eventually get a response, perhaps it’s a rejection, or a revise and resubmit.

What do you do next?

No one likes disappointment, but academics have to get used to the experience of rejection and figure out ways to manage it. A lot of people find themselves so crushed by rejection or negative feedback on a piece of writing that they set it aside and never re…