Shopping ideas for the academic on your list

Tis the season for parties, eggnog, and Amazon deliveries. Black Friday has come and gone. Cyber Monday is dropping productivity across the country. In the season’s spirit, I want to share some great shopping ideas for the academic on your list. I’ve tried to include items from multiple price points and I think these are things that nearly any academic would like to find in their stocking.

7 strategies to keep email from ruining your life

Few things can derail a day faster than email. One message with an urgent request can undo the best laid plans. It doesn’t take a big request to distract you for a day as email can be death by a thousand cuts. The distraction of email can slice your day up to such a degree that you barely get more than a few minutes to focus on one activity before an email interrupts you. However, there are steps you can take to keep email from ruining your life. In today’s post, I will share 7 steps that you can easily implement to get your email under control.

keep email from ruining your life

Photo credit: Sean MacEntee

Unfortunately, too often email runs our lives. We work out of our inbox and rarely close our email program during the day.

I want to suggest that there are ways to take control and keep email from ruining your life.  Many of these I frequently use and found it has dramatically helped me manage my email inbox.

How to create a reverse outline

Writing a manuscript of any length is hard, but writing a longer piece presents special challenges. Whether you’re like me and have been writing for a while or a graduate student just getting started, writing longer manuscripts present special challenges. In particular, I believe longer manuscripts present challenges in staying focused, having a strong logical flow, and keeping your reader engaged.  In today’s post, I want to describe how to create a reverse outline to improve your writing.

Typically, we think of outlines as something to be completed prior to beginning the writing process.

Reverse outlines are completed after the first draft of a piece of writing.

When to say yes to service before tenure

We constantly warn faculty not to take on service opportunities before tenure. “Just say no” is the mantra from dissertation advisors to senior colleagues. However, I think this is poor advice. Yes, you should limit your service opportunities before tenure. Depending on your institution, some combination of research and teaching will be what gets you tenure. Most faculty can’t avoid all service opportunities prior to tenure and even if this was possible— I wouldn’t recommend it. Instead, I believe we should be telling faculty when to say yes to service before tenure rather than just telling junior faculty to say no to everything.

Service is tricky for new faculty. It can be tremendously time consuming, but also a valuable way to feel part of the community. 

How to measure writing progress

There can be few things more deflating than working hard watching what you eat only to find that you gained 2 pounds. Writing and dieting have much in common. As I work with faculty, I often find myself giving advice for writing similar to dieting advice. In today’s post, I will share tips on how to measure your writing progress. As with dieting and many other areas of life, what we measure is what we improve.

Photo credit: eflon