Category Archives: Productivity

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Defend Against Disruption and Distraction

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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…
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3 Tips for Taking Stock When Summer’s Vanishing

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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…

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Latest Version of Zotero Simplifies Key Functions

Here at ProfHacker, we’ve published several posts over the years about the free and open-source Zotero, which is great tool for managing your research. Yesterday, Zotero announced the release of version 4.0.27, with a focus on “streamlined saving, easier bibliography language selection, and more.” It’s not a massive update (as the version number suggests), but it does simplify some of the key functions provided by Zotero.

If you’ve not used Zotero but are interested in giving it a test drive, t…

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Susan Cain’s Quiet Revolution

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In personality typologies derived from the work of Carl Jung, introverts are described as people who gain energy from solitude and extroverts as people who gain energy from being around other people. Understanding where you fall on the introvert-extrovert spectrum can help you understand your own energy patterns and how best to work with them within your professional and personal life. (As an introvert, for example, after attending several sessions at an academic conference and interacting with…

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Open Thread Wednesday: Summer Travel Abroad

I’ve been very fortunate this summer to spend a lot of time traveling, both for conferences and research.

Here are a few of the things I’ve changed now that I’m more accustomed to international travel:

  • Buy a data plan. I wrote a couple of years ago about the challenges of traveling abroad without a data plan. While some countries are fantastic for WiFi access, many locations worth visiting simply require the investment of a data plan for peace of mind and, more importantly, navigation. Many of…
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Three Things You Should Stop Doing This Summer

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As the summer begins, many of us are busy setting writing goals, drawing up to-do lists for household projects, and scheduling a bit of travel, whether for work or play. All of those are good things to be doing right now.

But in addition to planning out what you want to do this summer, it can be really helpful to figure out what it is that you don’t want to do.

I call this the No-Do List. You could also call it the Not-To-Do List, but I like putting the word No at the forefront, since Not Doing…

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Schedule Meetings Anywhere with Meet

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In May, Amy wrote suggested Sunrise as an interesting cross-platform calendar option, right before it was bought by Microsoft. I don’t use Sunrise myself (Fantastical for life), but their most recent version does have a feature that led me to install it: The ability to send invitations via any iOS or Android app that accepts text input.

This happens via a 3rd-party keyboard, which is called Meet. (This is ever-so-slightly confusing, as Meet is part of the Sunrise app, not a separate installat…

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Serendipitous Learning on Twitter

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[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.–@JBJ

I really appreciated this recent Chronicle Conversation post by Thomas Fisher in which he rec…

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From the Archives: At the End of the Academic Year, Looking Back and Looking Forward

A desk with papers and a laptop computerIt’s graduation season; most colleges and universities have finished for the year, or will in just a few more weeks. That provides an opportunity to take stock of the year just completed, and look to the year ahead. It’s also a good opportunity to get caught up on some of the organizing tasks that often go undone in the last frantic weeks of the academic year.

Over the years, writers here at ProfHacker have provided a number of posts about things to do at this time of year:

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How to Get That Suitcase Unpacked

suitcasesOne of the great productivity mysteries has to be why so many of us put off unpacking a suitcase after a trip. This is the stuff of sitcoms, of advice columns, and blog posts. And of real life: I’ll be the first to admit that I sometimes leave my bag halfway unpacked for several days after a trip, even though it makes me feel somewhere between irritated and nauseous to see it sitting in the middle of the room.

So why is it so hard to unpack a suitcase?

The primary reasons are:

Fatigue: If you ar…