Category Archives: Productivity


Managing and delegating tasks with Nozbe

To Do Tattoo

Keeping track of tasks seems to be a constant challenge for academics, and over the last several years we’ve certainly written about a lot of task management tools. There are a lot of possibilities out there: Wunderlist (a favorite of many ProfHackers), Things, ToDoist, Remember the Milk, and others.

This post adds yet another possibility to the mix: Nozbe. It’s available on the web, and for just about every platform imaginable: Mac, Windows, Linux, Android, and iOS. It won’t turn up in the…


Open Thread Wednesday: Solutions for Tracking Projects

Pretty much everything we do in academic publishing has a deadline, whether it’s the date for an abstract or paper submission to a call for proposals, the next big national grant deadline, a personal goal for a thesis or book manuscript, or a contract from a publisher. Since most of us have multiple (if not dozens, or more!) projects going at once with competing deadlines, keeping track of everything in the pipeline can be a big task. Deadlines on the calendar are helpful, but also often closer…


Procedures for Creativity: How to Use the Tarot


So I never really thought I’d write a post about tarot cards, but The Creative Tarot: A Modern Guide to an Inspired Life comes with a fascinating proposition: Just as writers and artists have used the tarot, or variations of it, for centuries as part of their creative process, so too can any writer use it as a way to gain insight into how to write more productively.

One reason The Creative Tarot is so interesting–interesting enough that I spent my own money on it, and didn’t work from a review…


Get Your Internet Connection’s Speed from Google

speed limit sign

As I type, the Google doodle says that it’s the search engine’s 18th anniversary, which is a very long time of continuing to provide relevant search results on the internet. Google’s search engine, though, has long done far more than that, which brings me to the topic of today’s post: internet speeds.

From time to time in everyone’s life, it can be useful to know just how fast your connection to the internet is. Maybe you’re trying to decide whether to prep for class by reviewing a video, or to…


Back Up Your Files Now


Last week, you might have seen the story of a devastating fire in a residential neighborhood in New Orleans, and how Gideon Hodge, who “describes himself as a playwright, novelist, and actor” ran into his burning home “when he realized that his only copies of two completed novels were on a laptop inside.”
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Have Your Accounts Been Compromised?

LEGO minifigs
Having accounts spread hither and yon across the internet, and the ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ approach that’s too often taken toward security and privacy, there’s a pretty decent chance that at some point, a service you use will face a data breach.

Heck, it might have already happened, and you didn’t know about it, either because you were too busy to notice, or maybe you’d even forgotten you have an account on that service!

A quick and easy way to see if your accounts have been included in a data breach is to…


Virtual Techniques for Co-writing

Over the past year, I’ve found myself involved in more collaborative writing projects. This isn’t really something that came up in my discipline in grad school, where everything I worked on was written alone. These projects are much harder to organize than my solo work: often, they span several platforms, multiple email threads, chats, and files.

I’ve noticed that everyone I work with has a different preference for technologies and strategies. Here are a few I’ve been using, and their advantage…


Switching to a Tiling Window Manager, and Why You Might Want To

Screenshot of i3 window manager

[This is a guest post by Nabeel Siddiqui, a doctoral candidate in American Studies at The College of William & Mary, where his research focuses on personal computers and the intersection of the public/private sphere. You can find him online here.--JBJ]

If you a watch a Mac user use a Windows machine or vice versa, you know how attached people can become to their operating systems. The frustration when people try to switch, however, has little to do with the underlying structure of the systems t…


Peasy – Create a Simple Static Webpage

Last week, my colleague Kris Shaffer launched the Alpha version of a website publishing platform, Peasy (as in easy peasy). I’ll let him explain why he developed Peasy:

Peasy is relatively easy-to-install and easy-to-use platform for building simple websites. There is no “back-end” to fuss with, no database to administer, just a simple web site that you can edit live while you’re logged in.

But the aspect of Peasy that I’m most excited about is that it makes it really easy to clone existing w…


Scheduling 101: Using Calendly for Student Appointments


Over the years at ProfHacker we have discussed several different tools for scheduling student appointments, including Doodle, Acuity, and ScheduleOnce (as well as some other tools that no longer exist).

When I recently scheduled a meeting with a colleague, I learned about Calendly, which immediately impressed me with its clean, appealing design and simple scheduling process. Like other online scheduling tools, Calendly lets you set times when you will be available for meetings and lets users pi…