Focus time lets you do the work you’re obligated and committed to do

Focus timeWhen I’m coaching and teaching academics, I recommend that they designate and protect four kinds of time: Free, Fixed, Focus, and Flow. Previously in this series, we looked at Free time and Fixed time. In this short article, let’s consider Focus time.

During designated Focus time, you deliberately design your half or full day to maximize what you accomplish from your task and project list. Before the Focus time block begins, you examine your upcoming deadlines, commitments, and progress milestones and then carefully decide what you will Focus on and for about how long. [Read more…]

To keep writing, use a time log

time log“What did I do today!” you wail. For the life of you, wiped out at the end of the day and ready for binge TV, you can’t remember anything you did except overeat for lunch. Maybe you recall writing for eight minutes midmorning and half-heartedly pecking at your journal article in progress, but otherwise the day’s a blank. And paradoxically, you feel you’re always so busy, dashing from one thing to the next and never getting it all done.

Sound familiar? Where does the time go? Especially for academic writers, with the responsibilities of teaching, mandatory committee meetings, office hours, reading endless memos, emailing responses, and comforting a colleague who just got her article rejected—again—it’s an ongoing challenge to take hold and wrestle our writing time to the ground, or desk.

I found a remedy, though, that you may have read about: keep a time log. [Read more…]

Aggregate your fixed time commitments on fewer days

looking at a wristwatchWhen I’m coaching and teaching academics, I recommend that they designate and protect four kinds of time: Free, Fixed, Focus, and Flow. Previously in this series, we looked at Free time.

In this article, let’s look at Fixed time. This is one of the areas where you can get control. And, you need to get control as quickly as you can, which requires that you be intentional about making the necessary changes. [Read more…]

3/25 TAA Webinar: “How Trello Can Transform Your Life as an Academic”

Rose ErnstAngelique DavisDo you juggle multiple teaching, scholarship and service projects and worry about ‘dropping the ball’? Do you wish you had one place to easily organize your life as an academic? Then Trello might be for you. Join us Monday, March 25 from 1-2 p.m. ET for the TAA webinar, How Trello Can Transform Your Life as an Academic, where Angelique M. Davis and Rose Ernst, both associate professors of political science at Seattle University, will provide an overview of the magic and logic of Trello. They will show you how to use it to masterfully manage multiple projects in one place—without having to switch between paper and multiple digital programs! They will also show you how to use Trello to move your scholarly projects forward. This will include a demonstration and template of a Trello board based on Erin Furtak’s publishing pipeline. You will leave this webinar with a plan to set up your Trello account so you can become a master juggler and calmly manage your academic life. [Read more…]

Free time? What is that? Usually I just wait for it to show up…

free timeWhen I’m coaching and teaching academics, I recommend that they designate and protect four kinds of time: Free, Fixed, Focus, and Flow. In this short article, let’s look at Free time.

Since part of the definition of Free time is that it is guilt free, Free time is often a difficult kind of time for professors to set aside. There is always so much work to do and the bar is set so high, it seems impossible to set aside free time. This feeling pervades regardless of whether the bar is set high in one’s department, discipline, or in one’s own mind. [Read more…]

When you look at your calendar, what do you see?

calendar on phoneAs an academic with the intention of being productive in your writing, your calendar is either your friend or foe.  We are going to have a series of short articles to help you make friends with your calendar.

Let’s start with determining what kinds of time your current calendar represents for you. For this quick exercise, you will need some colored pencils (and if you don’t have colored pencils or highlighters, see if a colleague or your child does and borrow theirs). [Read more…]

2/28 TAA Webinar: “9 Proven Strategies to Help You Stop Procrastinating and Write Your Manuscript”

Mary Beth AverillFor some people, staring at that first blank page is the hardest part of the writing task. Others have good start up energy and ideas but struggle to maintain momentum. Finally, are those who wrestle with completing a manuscript and sending it out. Join us Thursday, February 28 from 1-2 p.m. ET for the TAA webinar, 9 Proven Strategies to Help You Stop Procrastinating and Write Your Manuscript, where presenter Mary Beth Averill, PhD, MSW, Academic Coach and author of How to Become an Academic Coachwill present nine strategies to help you with organization, motivation, time management, and editing from start to finish whether you are writing an academic book, journal article, or dissertation. [Read more…]

Beyond time management: Three principles for greater writing productivity and satisfaction

productivityFor our writing productivity and fulfillment, indisputably we need time management, self-discipline, and all the pomodoros (Cirillo, 2018) we can muster. Sometimes, though, as ardently as we apply these, they don’t seem to be enough. Here are three perspectives that may help you through. They are “laws” described simply and eloquently by author, speaker, and spiritual and practical teacher Deepak Chopra (1994) in The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success.
[Read more…]

First TAA Writing Gym receives high marks, participation

TAA Writing GymIn a survey of this summer’s TAA Writing Gym, 45% of respondents said they used the gym 2-4 days a week. “The TAA Writing Gym helped me move from writing sporadically to writing every day,” said one respondent. “My writing approach has improved as well since I am now thinking about my projects regularly and I can work through ways to approach topics even when I am not actively writing.” [Read more…]

Tech tools for the professional writer

In the winter edition of TAA’s newsletter, I shared with you the importance of having the right tools on hand for your career as a writer and provided a list of 32 tools in eight categories to get you started. If you missed that article, you can read it here.

In this article I highlight a few more tech tools with the goal of helping you find the tools that fit best in your belt! In these last weeks of summer, I encourage you to explore some of these tools that you may not have time to experiment with during the school year. You may just find that they can help you free up valuable time as the busy fall semester comes around again. [Read more…]