Flag for follow up or dump the junk?

email overwhelmAre you overwhelmed by email? I know there are days that the flow of electronic information seems to be non-stop. I might not be the normal person though – but I also can’t imagine I’m the only academic who is managing more than one email account for various roles. I personally check with regularity five (yes, five) email accounts daily between my personal Gmail account, accounts for my adjunct teaching roles, and my full-time position with TAA.

Even after the SPAM filters and categorization tools inherent to the systems do their job of minimizing the amount of true “junk” that makes it through to my inbox, I am often interacting with upwards of 300-400 messages of some importance daily. So I wonder often, am I handling things effectively while trying to manage all of this electronic communication? [Read more…]

An academic perspective on goal tracking and time management

goalsThe focus of our most recent #AcWriChat TweetChat event was goal tracking and time management. During this event we offered a number of resources from our blog to support participants in their academic pursuits.

Common to our TweetChat events, we asked several questions to promote personal reflection and sharing of ideas. Marc Ouellette, a regular participant in these discussions shared his approaches in response. Below is a summary of our questions and his contributions from the event. [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: April 17, 2020

“The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.” ~Gustave FlaubertGustave Flaubert once said, “The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.” In textbook and academic writing, we often find this to be true as we search for the answers to research questions and work to clearly express ideas and knowledge to our readers. But, like art, writing and the writing process is unique for each author.

Our collection of articles begins with an approach that focuses on writing for yourself first and your audience second, methods to communicate research findings to the world, and the impact of COVID-19 on student research projects. We also consider the differences between part time and full time researchers and students and how the current state of the world has forced even full time faculty and researchers into a part time routine. Finally, we explore some industry concepts including the bundling of academic journal subscriptions, potential budget cuts to academic libraries, and the stories behind some scholarly publishing brand names.

Whether you’re working on putting a name to your work or carefully crafting each word that is placed on the page as you finish your most recent written masterpiece, let the art of your writing help you discover your beliefs. Happy writing! [Read more…]

3 Time problem areas and how to handle them

clock on deskIn her recent TAA webinar, “Creative Scheduling For Those Who Have ‘All of the Time in the World’ and ‘No Time At All’”, Katy Peplin identified three areas that commonly result in time problems: focus blocks, priority blocks, and scheduling blocks. If you’re having difficulty managing your time, chances are you’re dealing with one or more of these blocks.

But there’s good news. Peplin also shared specific actions that you can take to overcome each of these three blocks. [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: May 10, 2019

"Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go." ~E. L. DoctorowSeveral things textbook and academic authors are never short on: commitments, obligations, things to learn, and changing landscapes. This week’s collection of articles from around the web includes them all as well.

We start with the question of why college students are sleep deprived and overextended, look at tips for building a career in scholarly communication, and what it takes to be a co-author. We then explore different strategies for writing papers, making the most of summer plans, University Journals, and interdisciplinary mentoring. Finally we explore industry changes as Wiley buys Knewton and the University of California’s decision on Elsevier.

In the words of E. L. Doctorow, “Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.” This week we encourage you to write, explore, and learn as you go. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Give yourself the flow time you need to flourish

Flow 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 timeFixed time, and Focus time. In this short article, let’s look at Flow time.

Although folks from other professions may benefit from Flow time, academics MUST have Flow time. Yet, it is the type of time you are least likely to designate and protect while doing your planning for the week, month, quarter, semester, or year. [Read more…]

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…]

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…]

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…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: February 15, 2019

"Writing is a continuous discovery – a learning process." ~Amae DechavezThis week’s collection of articles from around the web starts with ways to develop the habit of writing and to get creative with your thesis or dissertation. Our next set of articles offer different writing styles including tiny texts, the uneven U paragraph structure, and a tour of Roald Dahl’s “writing hut”. We close with articles focused on social media-based digital portraits of academics, valuing all of your time, and continued discussion of open access publishing.

As Amae Dechavez once said, “Writing is a continuous discovery – a learning process.” This week, we encourage you to discover new information, new habits, and new ideas. Happy writing! [Read more…]