Category Archives: Productivity

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Like Evernote? Be Aware of Pricing Changes

hanging folders

Evernote is a fairly widely-used tool for corralling and then exploring information. There have been numerous posts about Evernote here at ProfHacker, such as Shawn Miller’s introduction to the tool, Kathleen Fitzpatrick’s testimonial as an Evernote convert, Amy’s account of teaching with it, and a variety of posts about using Evernote on your phone, with Markdown, or in web browsers.

There is a long tradition of speculating on Evernote’s business model–although it has a lot of users, most of …

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How to Quickly Extract Media from Slide Decks

piles and piles of paper

If you’ve ever wanted to quickly extract the media (images, etc.) from a presentation such as PowerPoint or Keynote, there turns out to a pretty simple way to do it. This may well be common knowledge, but, as my friend Merlin Mann likes to say, every day somone’s born who’s never seen The Flintstones. That is, it’s always new to someone–and this was new to me.

The key is to recognize that PowerPoint and Keynote files are basically just bundles of other files–that is, they’re fancy ZIP files:

S…

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Choosing Professional Development Events – And My Pick for This Summer

people sitting around a table talking with laptopsI don’t know about you, but most people I know have limited funds and time to spare for onsite professional development events. Many of us have these choices made for us by our managers or by the limitations of our funding or travel ability (see my post about my one day in Rome!). At one point in my life, I only went to conferences near Sheffield UK in the summer because that was when I went to England to meet my supervisor. More recently, I only go to conferences in nearby countries where I can…

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Letting Your Calendar Breathe

flower

A common frustration in academic life is being so fully-stocked with meetings that there is no time or energy to . . . actually do work. Or, to just idly contemplate things, which is often such an important precursor to work.

In a post that surveys a variety of “time management essentials for researchers,” Eva Lantsoght offers a some advice for just this problem:

Concept: Don’t plan more than 75% of your time

Whenever you make a planning, allow for some air in your planning. You need to move f…

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How Are You Having Fun This Summer?

Fun

Five years ago, George asked the question: What fun things have you done this summer?

No one has asked it since.

It isn’t terrible surprising that here at ProfHacker we’ve written way more frequently on “productivity” than we have on “play” or “fun“. But the two are linked in a lot of important ways. To wit:

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Completing To-Do Lists

abandoned truck overgrown with plants

To-do lists should be so easy and useful: keep a list of things that have to be done, do them, then cross them off the list! And yet they are not: undead items return from one week’s list to the next; we focus so much on recording the things to do that we forget to do All. The. Things, and within a few weeks our to-do list is a source of fear and dread rather than reassurance.

For those academics who have a summer break, the summer can be a time to refocus on one’s list, to keep the halycon day…

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Software that Supports Multilingual Dialogue

If you are reading this, chances are, you understand English. Do we realize how much of our online interactions are in English, and how much we are missing of who and what lives on the internet that is not speaking/writing English?

I had a recent interaction on Twitter with Juan Domingo Farnos (@Juandoming) and a few other people, in which Juan responded to all of our English tweets in Spanish, and Twitter on my phone had a quick translate link (this uses Bing). This conversation was a little s…

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Writing on a Plane?

I started writing this post as the toddler behind me (who, perhaps understandably, is not a believer in seat belts) has once again started pounding on the back of my seat. My knees are at an odd angle, and I had to contort strangely to even begin to recover my laptop from the “personal item” wedged under the seat in front of me. My fairly small and portable laptop is still too wide for the tray table, rendering the possibility of the mouse moot, and the $5 wi-fi charge for basic internet st…

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7 Signs It’s Time to Break Up with Your Writing Group.

[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, researches faculty learning communities, and directs the Faculty Write Program. Previously at ProfHacker she wrote "Scholarly Writing Hacks: 5 Lessons I Learned Writing Every Day in June." You can follow her on Twitter @jaherndodson.]

I love my writing group. I’ve been in my current writing group for eight years, and we’ve surv…

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Productivity Through Accountability

Finding the motivation to persevere through lengthy tasks with no end or reward in sight is a major part of being an academic: the process of writing a thesis is metaphorically compared to training for a marathon for a reason, and both certainly result in plenty of pain before the pay-off. I use running as my main strategy to counteract many hours spent at the computer, and I’ve found that signing up for a race and committing to a training plan is the only way I make any progress. It’s not unli…