Category Archives: Productivity

by

Four Chemistry-Approved Ways to Stay Awake Without Caffeine

5420516454_2fbf10dc40_b

Now that the fall semester has either started, or is looming ominously, there’s a pretty good chance that you’lll occasionally find yourself in need of a pick-me-up. And while coffee/tea are great, sometimes, you need something a little less shocking to your system. Fortunately, the American Chemical Society has you covered, and they bring amazing news (via Lifehacker):

That’s right: You’re not procrastinating by watching viral cat or puppy videos: you’re improving your alertness and attention…

by

Your Favorite Browser Extensions?

Internet Explorer’s got ’em. Firefox’s got ’em. Chrome’s got ’em. Safari’s got ’em. Just about every major browser’s got ’em: extensions.

What’s a browser extension? I’m guessing you already know this: it’s a free add-on tool designed to supplement or customize the built-in functions of your Web browser. You can use extensions to do such things as

by

Slack: When It Makes Sense to Use It

[Maha Bali is Associate Professor of Practice at the Center for Learning and Teaching at the American University in Cairo, Egypt. Her primary role is a faculty developer but she also teaches educational game design to undergrads and ed tech to in-service teachers. She is a co-facilitator of edcontexts.org and columnist at Hybrid Pedagogy. She blogs at http://blog.mahabali.me and tweets @bali_maha.]

My first thought when I heard of this tool was: why would someone call a productivity tool “sla…

by

Move Easily Among Browsers with Browser Fairy

Cosmic Fairy Lights

It used to be so easy to answer the question, “Which browser should I use?” First, the answer was always “not Internet Explorer.” Firefox and Chrome were great, but they got real bloated and crufty. (And Chrome is murder on battery life for MacBook users.) Safari isn’t bad, at least on the Mac side–but it uses the keyboard shortcut “CMD-number” (CMD–1, CMD–2, etc.) to open a bookmark, instead of shifting among your open tabs–and, really, who wants to live like that?

In the interest of battery l…

by

Better Presentations with Sway

sway

I recently came across an article in Fast Company that reminded me that I had the Sway app sitting unused on my phone since February. Sway is Microsoft’s new presentation (and more!) app that aims to take us towards and into the post-PowerPoint future. And then I started watching the playlist of Sway tutorials.

Anyone who knows me or has seen me give a talk knows that visuals and slide design are not my strong suits. For example, here is a wonderful set of slides I did for a presentation on dig…

by

Greg McKeown’s Essentialism

The first thing to know about Greg McKeown’s Essentialism: the Disciplined Pursuit of Less is that it’s not about essentialism. At least, it’s not about essentialism as the term is used in philosophy and literary theory. I resisted reading this book for a long time, in fact, because of its title. Books on productivity, leadership, and personal development often use acronyms and neologisms, and that doesn’t bother me. But to take a term with many centuries of debate attached to it and treat it l…

by

From the Archives: Getting Ready for the New Semester

classroom

Sooner or later, the fall semester will start — and of course for some of us it already has. Here are some tips from the ProfHacker archives to help you navigate the transition.

Getting Ready to Teach

by

Team Productivity Through Slack

When I started my undergrad, it was the first year that our university gave out an email address to everyone; previously, it was only by request. Our residence halls had also just been updated with what then was considered “high speed” internet (which I think was fiber optic?) instead of dial-up. I was WIRED in 1996, and I used email and the messaging service ICQ obsessively to stay in touch with my friends and family. My friends thought it was so cool that my mom emailed me (because she ac…

by

Defend Against Disruption and Distraction

squawk bird

Many professionals today struggle to handle interruptions that can pull you away from focused work. Interruptions come in lots of different forms, such as notifications of email or text messages, phone calls, someone knocking on your office door, or your own stream of thoughts.

In a recent episode of the Productivityist podcast, Mike Vardy talks about the distinction he makes between disruptions and distractions:

Disruptions are things that:

  • actually do demand your attention or response
  • are of…
by

3 Tips for Taking Stock When Summer’s Vanishing

8009377832_0a9658cdde_k

The rhythms of academia depend on the summer lulls, even though plenty of us spend them working whether teaching, taking summer classes, or performing administrative roles. While there’s been plenty of discussion on the still-common misconception that academics have summers off, the fact remains that summers lure us in to a different pace. That pace often comes with mile-high expectations of summer productivity, as those of us lucky enough to have time “off” from teaching turn to other projects…