Category Archives: Productivity

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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…

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International Travel: A Good Reason to Have Two Google Accounts

One Google icon pointing to another

We’ve heard quite a lot over the last few months about travelers being asked to unlock their mobile phones—and, in some cases, provide their social media passwords—when entering the United States.

We’ve also heard tips on traveling abroad with a phone; over at The Verge, the suggestion is to delete our data before leaving the country if we really want to protect it.1 We can then install and sign into our accounts when we get where we’re going, and repeat the process before returning to the U.S.

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How to Make a Time Map for the Summer

comic style calendar

At the start of summer, many academics find themselves on a different schedule than during the academic year. Maybe you don’t teach during the summer, or if you do teach, the schedule is probably quite different from your spring/fall semesters. Some service obligations continue during the summer, but others recede into the background for a couple months.

At the start of summer, it’s easy to feel that you’ve got all the time in the world. The weeks stretch ahead, full of promise. But even only t…

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An Easy macOS Script for Converting Images to PDFs

a sheaf of contracts

One of the great conveniences about modern smartphone cameras is that it’s now much easier to submit paperwork of various types. Even if you don’t have a digital copy of the form, you can frequently fill it out, take a picture, and send the photo a long.

Except, as David Sparks explains in this handy post, it’s not quite that easy: images aren’t great to work with, and need to be converted to PDFs. And they typically have a lot of extraneous information, such as color. macOS has a variety of t…

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The Semester Review

magnify clouds

There are many urgent, practical things that need to be done as the semester winds down: administrative reports, meetings, grading, and book orders for the next term. But setting aside a few minutes for reflection offers many benefits. An end-of-semester review process lets you capture important aspects of your experience while they are still reasonably fresh in your mind so that you can learn from them.

Taking time to notice and celebrate the positive aspects of the semester is especially valu…

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5 Posts Looking Ahead to Summer

As I write this I’m on the brink of clicking “submit” on submitting my grades for the semester and starting my summer activities. Like many faculty in higher ed, I’m thinking about how to make the best of the next 3 months. In doing so, I’ve gone into the ProfHacker archives to see what my fellow authors have written on the subject:

  1. "Five Things to Do With Evaluations Before the Summer Really Starts": Jason Jones argues that, before the semester drifts too far into the fog of memory, take a f…

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Annotating Financial Context Automatically with Bloomberg Lens

calculator with financial forms
Despite the fact that the web is a powerful tool for annotation, many news stories and blog posts lack relevant context that would be useful for readers. Especially as a site ages, it can be hard to know how information has changed over time.

Most of us at ProfHacker like hypothes.is as an annotate-everywhere tool. But there are other visions of annotation, and this week, Bloomberg and Postlight jointly announced Bloomberg Lens, an iOS app and Chrome extension that aims to provide on-the-fly f…

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Laptop Ban? Things You Can Do With Just a Smartphone

children looking at a smartphone together

I recently had a conference in London, and I was flying I direct from Cairo. The laptop ban on this route came into effect shortly before my trip and it would have been really inconvenient for me to re-route. I also heard it’s quite risky to check your laptop in the luggage (you risk theft, damage, or at least loss – until the airlines can guarantee these things won’t happen, I won’t check my laptop or iPad in checked luggage). I recently (before the laptop/iPad ban) contributed a light-hea…

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Supermute Twitter

Start or Stop

I’ve been talking a lot about Twitter lately here on ProfHacker, but it’s still one of my favorite places to be online. However, sometimes, I don’t want to see certain things in my timeline. Certainly you can use the Mute function on Twitter, but why use a subtle, flexible, and complex tool when you can use a blunt instrument?

Enter Supermute:

Supermute is a blunt tool. You can define any phrase you’d like to mute for up to 7 days. During that time period, if anyone in your timeline (including …