Category Archives: Productivity

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Participating in the Digital Polarization Initiative is now ‘Ridiculously Easy’

When I was at the Domains 2017 conference earlier this summer, Jon Udell issued a challenge – what are you doing to help the fight again digital polarization, “fake news,” and general media illiteracy? He has been working hard with Mike Caulfield on the Digital Polarization Initiative (which I’ve already written about), and they’ve come up with a new way to make it easier for teachers to incorporate the project into their classes.

(By the way, my part is using the platforms that I have access t…

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The Dark Truth of Email Tips

The poet who couldn't write poetry

Once again, xkcd has gotten pretty directly at the truth of those of us with email struggles:


Merlin Mann has always suggested that people focused on the wrong parts of his somewhere-between-legendary-and-notorious “Inbox Zero” talk–that it was always about the psychology of email triage as much as tips and tricks for getting through email faster.

Photo probably “The Poet Who Couldn’t Write Poetry” (“Image from page 173 of ‘St. Nicholas’ (1873)”) by Flickr user Internet Archive Book Images /

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On Writing: Anne Lamott

laptop and notebook

One of the things that most frequently causes writers to feel stuck or frustrated is trying to write and edit at the same time. These are two very different cognitive activities, and examining your last three sentences for flaws is a sure way to block the creative impulse that might lead to the next sentence.

The answer, of course, is to write what Anne Lamott calls “a shitty first draft” in Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life:

Very few writers really know what they are doing un…

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10 Things We Learned Producing a Podcast at a University

reel to reel tape

This is a guest post by Carol Jackson, the digital content strategist at the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University and lead producer, with Alison Jones and Karen Kemp, of the school's podcast_ Ways & Means Show. She also produces the podcast Policy 360 .

In the last two years, we launched two podcasts at our school, the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University. We've had terrific successes and made some mistakes. What we've learned may help others who are considering …

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Checklists in Late Summer

graffiti of checklist

It seems harsh to call it “late summer” when it’s not even quite August yet, but there it is. At some point, items related to the fall semester will start to move to the forefront of one’s mind, even as one’s trying to wrap up summer projects, vanish for a vacation, or just try to keep up with who’s the White House communications director.

Checklists can help keep track of things, especially at such transitional moments. (See Heather’s checklist for a new semester as an example.)

Last week, Gab…

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Fight the Fear/Procrastination Cycle With Small Tasks

inward spiral
I learned this weekend that, in the northern hemisphere, July 22 is typically the date where temperatures start trending down for the year. In addition to the obvious Game of Thrones joke, it means that there’s more or less no getting around the fact that summer is passing quickly, along with the more grandiose ambitions found in one’s summer project list.

With that in mind, I wanted to link to Jenni Berrett’s post on perfectionism, “You Aren’t Lazy–You’re Just Terrified: On Paralysis and Perfe…

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Learn About Digital Accessibility This Summer

Looking to add to your digital skill set this summer? Interested in digital accessibility? Via Anne Janhunen comes word that Microsoft is offering a "Web Accessibility Fundamentals" course on edX. The course is free to audit and $99 if you’d like a "Verified Certificate."

From the landing page for the course:

In this course, we will teach you the guidelines and best practices required to create a new web application from scratch. You’ll also learn how to repair inaccessible sites as they exi…

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Open Thread Wednesday: What’s at the Bottom of your To-Do List?

Every few days of summer, I recopy my to-do list to a new page of my notebook (currently, a Moleskine Professional Notebook because I like the page layouts.) Jason wrote about addressing the challenges of unstructured summer time through careful to-do list management previously: he advised making use of regular reminders to keep important tasks in front of you. I’ve written in the past about my preference for physical to-do lists, but I find the very act of recopying is enough reinforcement for…

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On Writing: Paul J. Silvia

pen and notebook

As summer is heavy-duty writing time for many academics, it also seems like a good time to revisit some favorite advice about writing. Thus the beginning of an occasional series of posts this summer on writing about writing.

It’s crucial to be able to measure your progress on a writing project in some way. Tracking your progress on any desired behavior or habit has been shown to improve your adoption of the new habit, simply from focusing your awareness of your behavior through your tracking me…

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Match Your Tasks to Your Energy Level

dog jumping over hurdle

Although we all enjoy the same 168 hours per week, the quality of our hours throughout the day varies depending on our circadian rhythms, sleep quality and quantity, stress levels, and the demands upon our time. In the summer, many academics have more flexible schedules, at least during the months when they are not teaching. Knowing how to best match your tasks to your energy cycles can help you work better and have more time for relaxation.

Even if I could wave a magic wand and give ten people…