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

When 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.

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

As 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).

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: September 7, 2018

Russell Baker once said, “The only thing I was fit for was to be a writer, and this notion rested solely on my suspicion that I would never be fit for real work, and that writing didn’t require any.” As writers, we can certainly acknowledge the work such a craft requires, and in the genres of academic and textbook authoring the wide range of additional concerns for balance, accuracy, research integrity, and innovation in our writing efforts.

This week our collection of posts from around the web begins with a question, “Are there only four kinds of writers?” inspired by Gretchen Rubin’s book, The four tendencies. This evaluation of a writer is paired with authoring benefits, ways to improve academic output, time and energy management, research methods, diversity in peer review, critical and creative thinking, and privacy in user research – all factors of consideration for the academic author, regardless the type. Finally, we close this week’s list with considerations of the future of our profession, with new approaches to textbook development and e-book potential, the realities of open source and scholarly publishing, and significant changes in the trend toward open access in scientific publishing.

As you embark on your writing efforts in the week ahead, I encourage you to recognize and embrace the real work involved in the writing process and to find encouragement and support to continue those efforts. Happy writing!

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: August 24, 2018

In this week’s collection of articles from around the web, we’ve found some helpful tips for academic researchers related to digital workflow, free writing, note taking, and time management. We’ve also found information on how openness influences research impact, things to avoid when developing surveys, and reasons one researcher would unfollow you on social media.

Richard Bach reminds us that “a professional writer is an amateur who never quit.” We hope that this week you can apply some of these tips to improve your writing practices and success. Happy writing!

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: June 29, 2018

This week’s collection of articles from around the web contains a variety of topics of interest or concern to authors. If you’re considering tools to support your scholarly writing efforts, there are articles related to Revision Assistant, Google Drive, and the latest in search. Ethics-minded? We have articles on using tweets as data, sharing story ownership, and interpretation of results. Thinking about your publishing options? There’s continued discussion on open access models. Just trying to move forward in your scholarly writing? We also found time-saving tips for writing papers and methods for being a “star PhD student”.

Erica Jong once said, “I went for years not finishing anything. Because, of course, when you finish something you can be judged.” This week we encourage you to finish something. Be brave. Be brilliant. And write without fear of judgement.

Finding your flow: Establishing a pace that works for you

In my academic coaching and editing practice, I have many clients voicing a similar concern: that they’re not working as hard as their colleagues. They tell me stories of colleagues who show up on weekends, or work with their doors closed for 10 hours or more on the weekdays. My clients repeat these stories of their colleagues often. From my observation, these stories serve several purposes: