From the Archives: Get Ready for Summer

beach chair For many of us, summer is almost (or even already) here: along with relaxing a bit, it’s time finally to get back to the major research projects that sometimes have to be set on the back burner during the crush of the semester. Even if you teach during the summer, you probably will have certain weeks or days without classes or meetings. As Erin recently wrote, the flexibility of the summer schedule can often lead us to unrealistic expectations of what we can actually accomplish in the weeks or months ahead. Or maybe you have chosen a manageable project to accomplish, but are not exactly sure where to start.

So this week’s From the Archives is devoted to an assortment of ProfHacker posts that might help with making your transition into the summer.

In Distraction, Productivity, and Being Attentive (aka Regulating Media Use) Amy reminds us that the digital tools we use to connect with other people and to keep up with the ever-changing information stream can, in fact, be deliberately turned off. If you find yourself feeling like “you’ve been busy all day, but you can’t quite point to just what you’ve accomplished,” perhaps it’s time to set a few boundaries on your media usage. Start small: maybe set one hour each day in which you’re just going to read, write, analyze, or whatever it is you need to do — without glancing at email, twitter, your feed reader, or any of the other shiny distractions on your screen.

If you want to set a new habit this summer (whether it’s writing every day for 30 minutes, running four times a week, or whatever), Jason recommended an iPhone/iPod Touch app to keep track of your progress with a new habit in Daily Deeds Helps Manage Your Habits. If you’re not an iPhone user, you might want to try Joe’s Goals or GoalHappy, which can be accessed online from any computer or mobile device.

Guest author Aimee wrote about The secret link between refinishing furniture and academic research, suggesting that for many successful academics, creative pursuits such as quilting, baking, gardening, or painting can not only relax one’s mind but also fuel intellectual creativity: “Whether quilts or articles, the habit of making things is self-reinforcing.”

Nels’s The Down-and-Dirty Article usefully reminds faculty (especially those on the tenure-track) to consider reworking some older pieces of writing in order to get more material ready to publish.

And, finally, in Faking It as a Productivity Tip Jason encourages us to go ahead and act as though we know what we’re doing, whether it’s starting to write a new chapter or beginning a new fitness program. He asks: “What can you start right now, even if you’re not exactly sure you’re ready to do it?”

[Creative Commons licensed photo by Flickr user maureen_lunn]

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