Tag Archives: productivity


Better Presentations with 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…


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…


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…


Weekend Reading: The End Is Near


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’…


From the Archives: Mid-Semester


Because academic calendars vary so widely, some readers are coming back from spring break now, while others are enjoying a few days away from regular schedules. Some readers are wrapping up winter quarters or have started spring terms; others are somewhere in the middle of a spring semester.

The middle of an academic term can be a tricky time: the first flush of student and instructor enthusiasm for a particular topic or course may have waned a little. Students are feeling the burden of multipl…


Stay Focused with the Momentum Extension

2015-03-08 14_38_06-Program Manager

One of the most important things you can do to enhance your productivity is to keep focusing on your highest priorities, the big important things, which can easily be obscured by the rush of urgent demands and everyday maintenance tasks. Even when you’ve taken the time to reflect on your roles and define your priorities, it’s easy to lose sight of them during the day.

The Momentum personal dashboard extension for the Chrome browser offers an appealing way to set a clear focus for the day and be…


Updates to Noisli

One of the most powerful things you can do to improve your focus and productivity is to adjust your working environment. We each have different preferences for things like soft or hard furniture, room temperature, and background noise. Figuring out what works best for you in your environment can help you make the most out of your work time.

I’ve written before about Noisli, an online tool that combines a highly customizable background noise generator with a distraction-free writing environment….


Pause, Clarify, Decide

Bucket of rocks

Professionals in every field today often find themselves overwhelmed by the flood of incoming information, opportunities, and tasks. Most of us want to do more than just keep up with the inbox — we have larger projects and goals we want to pursue, which sometimes get pushed to the side when we’re under the pressure of urgent deadlines and requests.

Stephen Covey’s classic productivity tool, the Urgent/Important matrix can be helpful in distinguishing between those activities that are urgent and…


How Will You Wrap Up Summer?

swimming dog

The academic summer season has less to do with the solstice and equinox than with the academic calendar and the changes in population, traffic patterns, building hours, professional duties, and activities that occur on college campuses as we get ready for the start of a new year. Even if you do not have direct classroom contact with students, chances are that your work and/or your life will be affected in some ways by their return. (And, of course, if you have children in your household, then t…


Weekend Reading: Umbrellas in Portugal Edition


Happy Weekend, ProfHacker friends!

The title and image for today’s Weekend Reading comes from the Ágitagueda art festival, an annual tradition in Portugal this month that was recently featured in Bored Panda.

If you have even a fleeting interest in the digital humanities, it is well-worth your while to check out Bethany Nowviskie’s keynote address, “Digital Humanities in the Anthropocene,” from the 2014 DH Conference which just wrapped up in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Lots going on this weekend: pe…