Tag Archives: productivity

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Seasonal Cycles

Drone footage of Wellesley
Typically when people talk about the rhythms of academic life, they mean the cycles of the academic calendar. Ordering books, getting a syllabus ready, midterms, graduation–these events all provide opportunities for taking stock and for constantly restarting.

Against that rhythm, seasonal change can seem like something to be overcome: It’s dark out by 4pm, so how am I going to exercise? Flu season!? If it’s 15 degrees out, why are the students in shorts and flip-flops? Too hot to have class in…

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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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Focusing on Time Management Probably Isn’t Great

Stress management book with broken cup
So, the post I wanted to write for today relied on a link I’ve saved in Instapaper, which at last count has been down for a full day or so. Not great. But sometimes, the gods of Twitter are friendly, and someone will randomly post a link to the month-old article you’d wanted to write about, and all is well with the world.

The article in question is Oliver Burkeman’s excellent “Why Time Management Is Ruining Our Lives.” Burkeman’s article is exactly what it says on the tin: a strong assertion th…

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Productivity-Talk Here at the End of All Things

panic button
People always say that one of the great things about academe is its familiar rhythm–the academic calendar, which has its moments of stress, can also be weirdly comforting. It’s also makes it sensible for blogging–it’s easy to know when it’s recommendation season, or when people are likely to be grading, or when a note about starting the semester by committing to self-care might be helpful.

And then sometimes there are weeks like this last one.

Today I wanted to link to two posts that have hel…

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Build a Habit Streak With Productive

graffiti of habit

Jerry Seinfeld has a well-known piece of productivity advice known as “don’t break the chain.” The idea is simple: you visibly mark on a calendar every day you perform some task–write a good joke, work on squats, write toward an article, learn TEI, whatever–and make sure you do it for several consecutive days. Then, you rely on the power of momentum: just don’t break the chain of days. Keep the streak going, and you will build a habit of prioritizing what’s really important–such as your academi…

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Getting More Done with Emoji

worried raccoon

One of the great paradoxes of the communication tools that are designed to help folks work together is how poorly they scale: what seems like a convenient way to share information quickly turns into an avalanche of messages that one feels compelled to keep up-to-date with.

Over the past year or so, Lee, Maha, and I have written several times about the various ways we use or teach with Slack, a modern platform for communications that can often feel more or less like a modern ICQ chat environment…

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Tools for an Effective Workflow

Flowing waterMany of us have favorite tools that suit our workflows well, helping us accomplish our tasks and keep track of needed bits of information. Below you’ll find a list of applications, services, and utilities that I use almost daily.

  1. Workflow. I’m a big fan of ToDoist, my preferred task manager. For the way I work, it’s a better option than Apple’s Reminders. The catch is that it doesn’t integrate with Siri, which is really handy for adding items on the go. To get around that problem, I use the wor…
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Managing Slack

Photo of a street sign: "Slack End"

Over the past couple of years, the on-trend communication tool among technology types has, no doubt, been Slack. Lee wrote an introductory post about it in August, and Maha followed up a couple of weeks later with some thoughts about when to use it.

The past week saw two interesting posts that look at Slack from very different “management” angles:

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Are You Fully Charged?

charging laptop

Tom Rath’s 2015 book, Are You Fully Charged? The 3 Keys to Energizing Your Work and Life, focuses on three areas that contribute to a daily experience of greater engagement, well-being, and productivity — what Rath calls being “fully charged.” These three areas are:

Meaning: doing something that benefits another person
Interactions: creating for more positive than negative moments
Energy: making choices that improve your mental and physical health
(p.7)

Throughout the numerous short chapters th…