Fifty minutes to productivity


Though I have purchased a couple of Tim Ferriss‘s books, typically I don’t subscribe to shortcuts and hacks and so forth for increasing productivity, mainly because they never seem to work for me (or, if they do, I can’t make them stick and become habit). However, there is one trick in particular that I learned from my former orthodontist and mentor Dr. Sarah Shoaf, who has more alphabets after her name than anyone else I know, and it has helped me immensely in my efforts to plow through my dissertation proposal, piles of grading, and various other projects. And it’s shockingly simple.

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Struggling with sentences

Now that I’m more than a year and a half into my doctoral program and have wrestled with dozens of papers, short and long, I believe I’ve finally put my finger on an ineffable experience that I seem to encounter with some frequency, particularly when working with later drafts of something that I’ve written and rewritten a half-dozen times already.

As I just noted, this is something ineffable, but I’ll attempt to describe the experience anyway. Say I’m staring at a paragraph that just isn’t quite right–perhaps I need to add an additional source, or introduce a contrasting idea, or both. I will find myself staring at the screen, silently (or sometimes not) screaming at the computer, almost paralyzed–it is unbelievably difficult to put my hand on the mouse, maneuver the cursor, click, and start typing.

I know what you’re thinking. “Why?” (Or, more likely, “Who cares?”)

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Greetings from IAMCR

Céad Míle Fáilte! I’m in Dublin, Ireland for this year’s International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR) conference. So far it has been a fascinating and engaging conference, and I’ve been trying to soak up some local culture as well.

The conference is being hosted by Dublin City University, and there are thousands of us here from all over the globe, including probably a dozen from the SOJC.

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Note-taking strategies for graduate students

Everyone has heard the phrase “there’s a method to my madness.” It sort of conjures up people like the executive at the TV network I used to work at whose dark burrow-like office was literally filled with books and papers–there was not a surface in that room that was not piled high with folders, pieces of mail, copies of god-knows-what, and general detritus of all descriptions. (Though I will say that I don’t know if even he would say, “Oh, I know where everything is in here.” If he did, he would have to be lying.)

However, ever since I returned to graduate school (not to mention the whole move across the country, which necessitated shedding a lot of belongings so as to not have to pay the movers to haul crap that I wouldn’t really need), I’ve had to really pare down the amount of stuff that I hang on to, so that’s required that I carefully think through how I take notes in class and as I work through papers and such.

So I thought I’d discuss my strategies for note-taking–also partially because one of my colleagues asked me what it is that I do to keep my ducks in a row.

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