Tag Archives: happiness


Making Room

empty room

One of my favorite questions for reflection and conversation at this time of year is:

What do you want to make room for this fall?

I like this question because not only does it encourage you to think about what you would like more of in your life, but also about how you can make that happen.

Sometimes making room is literal: clearing a bookshelf for materials for a new project, or decluttering a closet to bring ease to your daily routine.

Sometimes making room needs to happen in your schedule: …


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…


Your Information Diet


How’s your diet these days? Many people find the summer months to be a good time for making some healthy adjustments to their eating patterns, whether that means eating more fresh vegetables, eating more regular meals, or trying new recipes or cooking methods.

Just as the foods we eat affect the strength, health, and overall well-being of our physical body and brain, the information sources we absorb can affect our attention, emotional state, and mental well-being.

In a recent blog post entitle…


Make Tomorrow Better, Today


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…


What Will Your Great Winter Break Look Like?

pup in snowI’ve said it probably twenty times already this semester: “Have a great winter break!”

Of course, what’s great for one person may be different from what would be great for another. Here are some questions that can help you figure out what would make your own winter break great:


How do you feel right now?

How do you want to feel during your winter break?

How busy do you want to be?

How relaxed do you want to be?

What would you like to create, build, or make?

What would you like to explore, disc…


How to Feel Happier

puppyLast week, in response to a question posed during #prodchat, a weekly Twitter chat about productivity, I mentioned a reflective practice I’ve been doing recently that helps me focus on what I’m learning each day. Several people were interested in my remark, and I thought I’d explain a bit more about it.

How to be Happier
Eric Barker’s recent post, What’s the secret to being happy at home and fulfilled at work? summarizes recent research into the benefits reported by people who find ways to use t…


Five Emotions of the First Week

flowerThe first week of the fall semester is an especially charged time. There are all the practical, logistical, technological things to deal with, like changed classroom assignments, projector equipment malfunctions, and photocopier breakdowns. You might not have gotten enough sleep, and your routine just changed. But in addition, almost everyone’s emotional reactions are a bit amplified right now. Some of the emotions I’ve observed or experienced, both as a student and as faculty, during the first …


How’s Your Summer Going?

frisbee dog Last week, as the calendar nudged past July 15, I found myself in several conversations that revolved around how quickly the summer was going by, or how many weeks remained before the crush of the fall term would begin. Mid July is (for many North American academics at least) a good time for evaluating how you’ve been spending your summer and for planning how you’d like to spend whatever remains of it.

Academic calendars vary widely, of course, as do faculty, administrator, and staff responsibil…


What’s Going Well?

My training and experience as both a teacher of literature and as a personal productivity coach have shown me time and time again the value of asking simple questions. A good question doesn’t have to be long or complicated. A good question shouldn’t be an argument misleadingly packaged as a query. A good question often opens up other questions.

So here’s today’s question: what’s going well for you right now?

I like this question for several reasons:

Most people don’t spend enough time thinking o…


What do you want to do differently?

The start of the new semester offers academics a fresh start: whether you’re teaching new courses or not, you probably have mostly new students in them. Perhaps you’ve changed the readings or assignments. Your daily or weekly schedule might be different from the previous semester.

Maybe you’ve also got some New Year’s resolutions you want to keep in mind this semester, or larger personal or professional goals that are a priority for you right now.

So, thinking about all of those pieces of the p…