Tag Archives: productivity

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Tools for an Effective Workflow

Flowing waterMany of us have favorite tools that suit our workflows well, helping us accomplish our tasks and keep track of needed bits of information. Below you’ll find a list of applications, services, and utilities that I use almost daily.

  1. Workflow. I’m a big fan of ToDoist, my preferred task manager. For the way I work, it’s a better option than Apple’s Reminders. The catch is that it doesn’t integrate with Siri, which is really handy for adding items on the go. To get around that problem, I use the wor…
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Managing Slack

Photo of a street sign: "Slack End"

Over the past couple of years, the on-trend communication tool among technology types has, no doubt, been Slack. Lee wrote an introductory post about it in August, and Maha followed up a couple of weeks later with some thoughts about when to use it.

The past week saw two interesting posts that look at Slack from very different “management” angles:

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Are You Fully Charged?

charging laptop

Tom Rath’s 2015 book, Are You Fully Charged? The 3 Keys to Energizing Your Work and Life, focuses on three areas that contribute to a daily experience of greater engagement, well-being, and productivity — what Rath calls being “fully charged.” These three areas are:

Meaning: doing something that benefits another person
Interactions: creating for more positive than negative moments
Energy: making choices that improve your mental and physical health
(p.7)

Throughout the numerous short chapters th…

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Doing Focused Work in Distracted Times: Cal Newport’s Deep Work

Cat, staring intently

Although the book didn’t quite arrive in time for New Year’s resolutions (which are junk anyway), 2016 has already seen the publication of Cal Newport’s eagerly-awaited new title, Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World (Grand Central Publishing), which promises to offer research-driven guidelines for doing meaningful work. And it’s pretty successful at this goal!

Cal Newport is the prior author of So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work…

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Tune In to Focus at Will

water drops

Our brains are designed to pay attention to novelty in our environment: at the most basic level, early in our evolution, novelty often meant danger — a predator approaching in the forest, say, or a severe storm approaching. So even as you’re focusing on a task, some portion of your brain is still busy scanning the environment for change, even when those changes are not likely to signify life-threatening conditions. If your brain is easily alerted, it can make it difficult to focus your attentio…

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Visualizing Your Searches with Trailblazer

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I’ve been writing about my use of Hypothes.is as a collaborative annotation tool this semester with the students in our introduction to literature class (see my ProfHacker post from this summer on my selection process). The tool so far has been a huge success and the students have been getting a lot out of the process. But one thing that has stumped me is how to help them navigate the process of actually going online and starting to find the contextual and referential materials they need to fin…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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Weekend Reading: The End Is Near

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The splashy news here at the tail end of the week is edX & ASU’s announcement that they are going to offer a first year of college. Not for free, or even for “as inexpensively as many community colleges,” but since it’s pass, *then* pay, there’s still a somewhat innovative approach to the business model. Jonathan Rees has described the offering of MOOCs for credit as “weaponized” education technology,” and I’m not sure he’…