Project management: Two free tools to increase efficiency in your writing projects

Project management was originally developed for civil engineering, but even if you are writing a book instead of building a bridge, there are useful approaches to borrow that will improve your work flow. In a previous article, I described that within project management, tools can be roughly divided into “project definition tools” and “implementation tools.” Project definition tools are those that help you determine the scope, the tasks, and the budget (i.e., time), whereas implementation tools are those that help you conduct the work. Here, I focus on the latter, and present two tools from the lens of project management for writing. [Read more…]

7 Time management strategies to begin, keep working on, and complete your projects

life will not waitProcrastination is a term applied to putting things off until later, but what can we do about it? In a recent TAA webinar, “Seven Time Management Strategies to Begin, Keep Working On, and Complete Your Projects“, academic writing coach, editor, and author of How to Become an Academic Coach, Mary Beth Averill shared seven proven strategies for getting started, keeping at it, and finishing our projects.

While she did an excellent job providing practical advice on implementing each of the seven strategies – life management, seeing yourself as a writer, saying no, scheduling, getting started, following through, and finishing – she supported those strategies with insightful quotes from her faculty writers group that may provide bite-sized pearls of wisdom to help you begin, keep working on, and complete your projects. [Read more…]

Fine-tune your writing productivity with four Scholar Actions©

Writing and publishing are not the sole definition of an academic scholar, but these two activities are major roles that faculty fulfill. Academic writing and publishing are also primary expectations for career advancement, including the dissertation writing process. At each major point along the career trajectory of a faculty member—from assistant to associate to full—academic writing and publishing are there. Even in my role as an administrator, I continue to write and publish as well as mentor others through the process.

Over the years, I have developed my scholarly voice through my writing and publishing, but I still continue to develop my practice. I am a work in progress. But how did I come to this developing as a scholar? It is quite simple in some ways. I developed good habits to support my writing and learned the process of academic publishing early in my career. [Read more…]

Fall 2020 TAA Writing Gym receives high marks

Writing GymThirty-five authors participated in TAA’s six-week Fall 2020 Writing Gym, which was held October 5-November 16. The gym included templates for tracking writing time and developing a six-week workout plan, a TAA Writing Gym-branded writing journal, weekly inspirational emails, 6 on-demand writing classes, several writing stations that allowed participants to target specific writing areas, and a Facebook Group for networking with other gym members.

In a survey sent out after the close of the fall gym, the majority of respondents gave the gym 5 stars. “The weekly writing classes and blog articles in the Writing Gym were very helpful, especially those about time management, managing multiple projects, and revising,” said participant Andrew Reyes. Participant Su-Jin Jung said: “I appreciate your support of my writing. I got lots of writing done during 6 weeks.”  [Read more…]

Time Management Survey respondents cite prioritization, procrastination issues as biggest challenges

Time ManagementAs part of writing coach Mary Beth Averill’s TAA webinar on time management this month, we surveyed members anonymously on their time management challenges.

When asked what they saw as their biggest time management challenges, respondents highlighted scheduling, exhaustion, estimating how long their projects will take, and prioritizing. One person wrote, “waiting to the last minute and finding the project is bigger than I anticipated.” Another pointed out time of day: “First thing in morning: rituals of Internet headlines and email checking.” And, as academics, they have to answer to competing priorities: “The amount of service work required in academic work. Calculating how much time it takes to do things. Prioritizing my own work.” [Read more…]

12/9 TAA Webinar – Writing a Dissertation and Beyond: Tips & Tools for Launching and Maintaining Your Academic Writing Productivity

Margarita HuertaDanielle FeeneyWriting productivity is important for academics at all levels. For graduate students, in particular, writing is essential for completing a dissertation. Unfortunately, approximately 50% of doctoral students do not complete their degrees, often dropping out during the dissertation writing stage. How can graduate students launch a healthy writing habit in order to complete their dissertations and maintain academic writing productivity as faculty?

Join us Wednesday, December 9 from 1-2 p.m. ET for the TAA Webinar,“Writing a Dissertation and Beyond: Tips & Tools for Launching and Maintaining Your Academic Writing Productivity”, presented by Danielle Feeney, Assistant Professor of Instruction in Special Education in the Patton College of Education, Ohio University; and Margarita Huerta, Associate Professor, Department of Early Childhood, Multilingual, and Special Education in the College of Education, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Feeney and Huetra will discuss research-based, practical tools and tips that have helped them successfully complete dissertations and launch productive academic careers. They will also discuss the versatility of transforming and personalizing these tools to help manage other aspects of academic life and work.

Free for TAA Members. Register

11/5 TAA Webinar: Seven Time Management Strategies to Begin, Keep Working On, and Complete Your Projects

Mary Beth AverillMost of us have had the experience of finishing a project at the last minute or late, and not being proud of what we have accomplished. Maybe we just couldn’t seem to find the time to devote to the project or we were frequently interrupted. Procrastination is a term applied to putting things off until later, but what can we do about it? Join us Thursday, November 5, from 1-2 p.m. ET for the TAA webinar, “Seven Time Management Strategies to Begin, Keep Working On, and Complete Your Projects” by academic author and coach Mary Beth Averill, who will explore 7 proven strategies for getting started, keeping at it, and finishing our projects. [Read more…]

Summer 2020 TAA Writing Gym receives high marks, praise

Writing GymEighty authors participated in TAA’s six-week Summer 2020 Writing Gym, which was held July 20-August 31. The gym included templates for tracking writing time and developing a six-week workout plan, a TAA Writing Gym-branded writing journal, weekly inspirational emails, 6 on-demand writing classes, several writing stations that allowed participants to target specific writing areas, and a Facebook Group for networking with other gym members.

In a survey sent out after the close of the summer gym, the majority of respondents gave the gym 5 stars, and rated features like the Facebook Group and Writing Classes as Very High Quality or Quality. “I loved the writing gym. It helped me get on track with my writing. The videos and short articles helped me with goal setting, organization, writing tips, etc. I highly recommend participating in the writing gym,” said Leslie Koberna. Most respondents said they averaged 2-4 days per week of writing while participating in the gym. Said Koberna: “Most of the time, I averaged 4 days a week, but the last two weeks I worked 6 days a week on my writing:).” [Read more…]

Dragging your dissertation feet?

ProcrastinationIs your dissertation dragging you down? Are you dragging your feet, your manuscript in sorry tow behind you like an annoying younger brother? Are you doing the impossible already—on campus or online, like many other graduate students juggling family, work, and school? Your academic struggles are intensified by the stresses of such multiple responsibilities and, possibly, loss of your long-range picture.

From what I’ve learned and observed as a longtime coach of graduate students and writer of creative projects, here I address some issues that can trip you up. And I share some steadying remedies so you handle your dissertation and other creative projects with less dragging and more speed and even enthusiasm. [Read more…]

The power of systematic checklists: Saving time, uncovering Easter eggs, and preventing overload

It’s 8:30 a.m.

Time to refill my mug of tea, revive my computer, and work on the ol’ textbook. I know I have a lot to do, but I feel good … at first. Then I catch a glimpse of my bloated task list and I’m immediately discouraged.

Let’s see. I still haven’t finished the manuscript for the sixth and final unit. The copyeditor is already sending batches of early chapters for my approval, the artists need corrections on drafts of new figures, the designer wants a decision on the cover photo, and a professor who uses my current edition wants more coverage of tardigrades. Oh, I almost forgot to mention that I also have classes to teach, meetings to attend, and personal responsibilities that I can’t abandon. Suddenly, I’m in a tizzy. [Read more…]