Category: Productivity

Digital Decluttering: Sort those files!

This is Part 2 of a series on how to Organize Your Digital Self. My guess is that you manage to accumulate piles of paper in your office, in your home, or maybe even in your car (I accumulate paper in all three places).  At least once a year I attempt to get to the bottom of these stacks and put everything away (this creates clean space to begin accumulating new stacks!).   The goal of file organization would be to create a system for organizing these “stacks” that is so natural to use, that it’s just as easy to...

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Computer Lockdown is a Good Thing

Whenever I give a presentation at a college or conference, someone always asks the question.  You know.  THAT question. “Just how much time do you spend at the computer every day?” I’m not sure if I really don’t want to know, or I know, but I don’t want to acknowledge it.  It’s a lot.  In the last year I’ve gained a few pounds and that’s got to be reversed, so I’ve once again instituted the “Computer Lockdown” program (which my husband absolutely hates). What is the “Computer Lockdown” program, you ask?  (well, thanks for asking)  It’s actually a software program called WorkPace designed to prevent RSI (repetitive strain injury).  After intensive periods of typing it locks the keyboard for a few seconds to force you to rest your fingers.  But that’s not the primary reason I use it.  The reason I use WorkPace is that I can force myself to take computer breaks.  My computer will actually lock me out and no amount of cajoling or rebooting will let me back in for 10 minutes. This forces me to get up and walk around, maybe get a little exercise, give my dogs a good scratch, go out on the deck and get some sun … in other words, re-engage with the world.  This is a good thing. Now, if that sounds scary to you (and if it does, you’ve...

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Write on your walls

Now that I’m in “sabbatical” mode, I finally have time to think about things I’ve been meaning to do for weeks months years. Many of those things relate to organization, project planning, and creativity (freeing up your mind to be creative instead of dealing with details). Here’s the first of the new additions to my “sanity protection” – a whiteboard, only not white! I didn’t want to cover up my wooden walls (or in this case, closet doors) with large white panels, so I had some glass custom cut to fit the wood doors. They drilled holes in each corner and using a screw and two nylon washers in each corner, we hung the glass panels last night. So now I can write on my walls! Well, not all the walls, but at least that wall. For markers, I’ve got to recommend a set of TUL markers. These are really cool because they have an eraser on the tip of every marker AND they are magnetic. Although my glass is not magnetic, the file cabinet is, and it’s right next to my new glass marker board. Last week I took a group of students to TechSmith on a field trip, and while we were there, I noticed a lot of interesting project planning systems (all of them on walls, and usually involving sticky notes). So I’ve morphed a couple...

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Finding a Compatible Meeting Time

It’s that time of year when we all try to schedule meetings for clubs or committees for the fall semester – only there’s that problem of finding the ultimate compatible meeting time. For this upcoming semester, I’ve been using a little program called Doodle ( to find that ideal meeting time. You can see two examples below. This program is super-simple to use (both for the setup and the participants). After you set up a poll, it will send you a link to the poll. Simply copy and paste the link into your own email (or website) and send it out to the folks you want to participate. Participants can go back to the poll and change their information, and all this can be done without a username and password. However, if you’re going to administer a bunch of these polls, I’d recommend a username and password for you so that you can easily keep track of them all. You can even go back in and edit the poll to add another date or time (as I did in the second example). When you add a time to the poll, it puts a ? in for any participant who has not yet responded to the new part. You can send a second request for participation, and everyone just “edits” their information. All in all, I’ve got to say this...

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Great Explanation of RSS Readers

This is from a group called Common Craft. It explains how to begin taking advantage of RSS feeds to manage all your blog reading.   I’ll confess, I’ve started using Google Reader to manage my blog reading. If I think I might like a blog, I add it to my reader.   Now, a very important tip … you can quickly rack up way too many blogs to possibly read. But remember, it’s not like the newspaper, where, whether you like it or not, the columnist is going to continue publishing the column in your paper. If you don’t like a blog after you’ve added it to your reader, then DELETE IT. I think of my blog reader as a customizable newspaper.   I never thought I’d abandon printed material, but I admit I actually carry my coffee and breakfast upstairs and read through blogs in the morning (I used to read the previous-day’s paper as we have no morning delivery). Now the newspaper is relegated to dinner, and Google reader gets the morning slot. Possibly Related Posts: Write an Operating System for Your Brain The Four Processors: A Neogeneralist Problem? Strategies for Escaping the Echo Chamber Lean in to the Discomfort Steal Back Your Time and Accomplish Your...

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