Tag Archives: productivity

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From the Archives: Mid-Semester

Robin

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…

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Stay Focused with the Momentum Extension

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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…

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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….

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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…

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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…

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Weekend Reading: Umbrellas in Portugal Edition

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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…

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Make Tomorrow Better, Today

sunrise

There are plenty of good suggestions out there about how to create new habits, how to make the most of your mornings, and how to balance your energy for optimal performance. (And we’ve even written a few of these ourselves here at ProfHacker.)

But today I just want to say that you don’t need to read another book or blog post about how to process your email or what to eat or when to do the things on your to-do list.

You already know what helps you be the best version of you.

So right now, just s…

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Tools I Use: Online Noise Generators

fans

We’ve written before at ProfHacker about choosing your playlist to change your life, about creating a soundtrack for the semester, about choosing songs for the pace of your desired daily run, and about noise-cancelling headphones when you just want silence.

But sometimes you don’t want either music or silence, but just the right sort of background noise. Many people love Coffitivity, a site (and also mobile app) that offers the background noise typical of a coffee shop. Although I often work re…

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Crowd-Sourcing Examinations

[Note: this post is adapted from part of a talk I recently gave to the NJEDge Annual Faculty Showcase.]

It’s no secret that we at ProfHacker like GoogleDocs. Ryan Cordell has used Google Docs to run a peer-review writing workshop, and George Williams has previously written about using GoogleDocs to take collaborative notes at conference sessions. Guest poster Thomas Burkholder wrote about using Google Forms. I have used all of these, and today I’m going to share yet another use: for compiling a…

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Back to (GTD) Basics: The Two-Minute Rule

two yellow birds

When you’re deciding what needs to be done next on a project, or in response to an email, or about that flashing light on your car’s dashboard, how do you decide if it’s something to do right away or something to put on your list for later? Do you have a bunch of emails sitting your inbox that you keep meaning to respond to but you haven’t managed to get around to them yet? The two-minute rule might help.

In Getting Things Done, David Allen’s now-classic productivity guide, he offered the “two-…