February 15, 2013, 11:00 am
There are a lot of options available for online task management. Here at ProfHacker, we have reviewed several, including Remember the Milk, Things, and GQueues. All have their pros and cons, and are worth taking a look at.
Todoist is another option. If it doesn’t sound completely new, it is because it is not. Todoist was originally started in January 2007, but in the summer of 2012 it underwent a relaunch after being rebuilt in HTML5. The result is a very well-built task system that doesn’t suffer from the lag of some others. I have been trying out the website and several associated mobile apps for about three months now.
Todoist has all your usual online task management options, such as the ability to apply some kind of categorization label (tags, in this case) to tasks. But there are some additional features that I think make the system worth the time of ProfHacker readers to…
February 1, 2013, 11:00 am
I read David Allen’s Getting Things Done five or six years ago, and it has more or less shaped the way I organize my work since then. I say more or less, because the elaborate system of projects, next actions, someday/maybe lists, and processing that makes up GTD is easy to slip away from. That’s probably for the best, since undue obsession with planning your work can take away from actually doing the work. I’ve noticed that I go through long cycles, at the end of which I return to organizing my work according to GTD.
I’ve recently gotten back to the Getting Things Done system, thanks to a series of episodes in the podcast Back to Work. Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin discuss the high points of GTD, especially the sticking points where your system can fall apart. (A caveat: the hosts spend a lot of time talking about things that are off topic, especially comics. If you enjoy that,…
October 2, 2012, 2:18 pm
This semester, our 9yo is taking an intro-level language course at our campus.* Setting aside his excitement about getting to continue a language that had been discontinued in his school district, it’s been entertaining to watch him figure out the norms of college, and to try to leverage them to his advantage: “I think I need a phone, Dad. Before class, college kids mostly check out their phones.”**
I mention this experience only because watching him work this semester has reminded me of a post Nels wrote a couple of years ago on generating next-action lists for for students. Nels reflects on the more explicit scaffolding he used to give first-year students compared to advanced students, before deciding that some detailed structure is useful for everyone:
That’s why I now end each class meeting by going over an Action List that I have posted on the course blog or…
September 25, 2012, 11:00 am
One of the central principles in David Allen’s Getting Things Done methodology is that you use your inbox (whether physical or digital) only as a collection bucket. Things (whether papers, mail, magazines, objects, emails, bits of information, file attachments, etc ) flow into your inbox where they need to be processed. Once processed, they move out of the inbox. (If practiced assiduously, this can lead to Inbox Zero, a blissful state now legendary among productivity enthusiasts).
Processing your inbox, in GTD terms, means going through each item and figuring out whether it requires an action or not. If it doesn’t, then it can be discarded or filed. If it does require an action, then you have to choose one of the three Ds:
- Do it (if you can do the required action in 2 minutes or less)
- Delegate it
- Defer it
For many people, a large number of actionable items will wind up…
August 24, 2012, 8:00 am
[This week, GradHacker and ProfHacker writers are collaborating on a series of posts about productivity apps and systems. The 8am post every day is part of this collaboration. Today's post is reprinted from Gradhacker.--@jbj]
To cap off our crossover week with
ProfGradhacker, Alex sat down with this week’s contributors for an insightful conversation about their approach to maintaining a productive schedule. Building on this week’s posts, Alex reviews the authors’ suggestions for improved workflow and poses some follow-up questions on the technology and techniques they suggested in their contributions. Listen to the podcast by clicking here.
About the Guests:
Stephanie Hedge is a PhD Candidate in Rhetoric and Composition at Ball State University and a contributing author at GradHacker.
Caitlin Holton is a graduate student in the Department of History at the University …
August 23, 2012, 8:00 am
[This week, GradHacker and ProfHacker writers are collaborating on a series of posts about productivity apps and systems. The 8am post every day is part of this collaboration. Today's post is by me.--@JBJ]
Why think about productivity systems at all? Why try to think about ways we can be more productive? Doesn’t that imply we’re not doing enough, or that we’re wasting time?
Most people I know are pretty busy, and in fact find themselves burdened more and more each year by ever-expanding, often nonsensical expectations that have little to do with the core academic missions of teaching and research, or with governance. Moreover, decades of the aggressive defunding of public higher education has usually meant that this expanding amount of work has been done by fewer resources and by fewer people.
So I don’t want productivity talk to mean, “hey, you’ll be able to get those reports…
August 22, 2012, 8:00 am
[This week, GradHacker and ProfHacker writers are collaborating on a series of posts about productivity apps and systems. The 8am post every day is part of this collaboration. Today's post is by GradHacker writer Stephanie Hedge, a graduate student in the Department of English at Ball State University. Follow her on Twitter at @slhedge--@jbj.]
Starbucks is one of my favorite places in the world to work. Coffee, company, and a relaxing atmosphere help me concentrate and keep focused on my task. As it can be a pain to lug my laptop everywhere, I have a tablet, as well as a mobile phone, and I use both when working away from my desk. But working on my iPad is only useful if I have the right tools to support my workflow, and the ability to access my documents across platforms. This post provides hacks for productively managing a workflow across different…
August 13, 2012, 11:00 am
July 9, 2012, 8:00 am
Ernest Hemingway famously advised writers to stop writing when you know what will happen next. That way, when you pick up the project again the next day, you’ll be excited to pick up where you left off, and will have a pretty good sense of what you should be doing.
That’s good advice, though of course many of our tasks in higher education aren’t exactly “rewrite the last page of Farewell to Arms 39 times.” (I like to imagine that Hemingway entered this into OmniFocus as “rewrite ending 40 times,” and never quite got to tick the action as completed.) There are articles and books to read, papers to grade, letters to write, grant proposals to evaluate, committee meeting minutes to draft, and more. They’re all important tasks, but they’re also a challenge to schedule, because one usually will not be able to complete them in one sitting. There will be interruptions, or the task is…