Thursday, September 30, 2010
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
This is a second post inspired by a wonderful article "Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time" by Tony Schwartz (no relation) and Catherine McCarthy (Harvard Business Review, Oct. 2007).
Another strategy that Schwartz and McCarthy suggest is to write down (each evening) the most important challenge you anticipate for the next day, and then when you arrive at work, begin addressing that challenge.
I'd like to build on this.... I don't know about you, but when I start thinking about my most important challenges (projects, papers, class preparation, etc), my brain usually gets stimulated which typically re-energizes me. Doing this in the evening, tends to make it harder for me to get to sleep. I can imagine that for some people, identifying the next day's challenge is actually calming as it helps you feel more organized.
My point is, and what I would add to Schwartz and McCarthy's point, reflect on how various activities impact your ability to energize yourself and also to relax, and then honor this. So if thinking about the next day's work is calming, then yes, do it before you go to sleep. If however, it gets you revved up, then resist the temptation to engage and instead try to let yourself relax so you can get a good night's sleep. Most often, you'll work better the next day if you have gotten good sound sleep.
Cheering you on in your work,
Monday, September 27, 2010
This week's posts will be taken from a wonderful article "Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time" by Tony Schwartz (no relation) and Catherine McCarthy (Harvard Business Review, Oct. 2007).
Schwartz and McCarthy have studied efforts to help workers re-energize at work and have developed several strategies that I believe also apply to students who need to get a lot of work done in limited time (between work, family obligations and so on). So this week, I'll pull a few of the strategies they suggest and by the end of the week, I'll see if I can find a link to the full article.
Today's suggestion: "Learn to notice signs of imminent energy flagging, including restlessness, yawning, hunger, and difficulty concentrating."
I would add to that, once you see that your energy is dropping, interrupt the moment -- take a five minute walk, fold laundry, make a quick call to a friend. The trick is to be sure that your break is brief and that you get back to work.
I have definitely been able to lengthen my work sessions with this strategy. Try it, and let me know how it goes!
Cheering you on,
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Hi All, Here is a useful post from Lifehacker:
What other strategies have worked for you?
Cheering you on in your work!
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Two more web tools -- these suggested by friends/colleagues:
Helps you manage your references. My colleague Rachel says this is an excellent tool!
Kindle blog for teachers and students. In particular, my friend Cecilia pointed to the Edukindle page regarding how to clarify page numbers in documents you are reading on a kindle.
Thanks Rachel and Cecilia!
Have a good day, all.
Friday, September 17, 2010
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Remember when you were a little kid -- if you ever went on a field trip as a very little kid, the teacher would have you hold hands with another student... a strategy to try to keep everyone together and make sure nobody got left behind.
Well, as adult students, we don't hold hands as we walk from class to class! However, I'm writing to suggest that you find a study buddy, an academic best friend -- someone in your class or program, someone who you connect with easily and trust. Or maybe it's not one person, but a few who you will rely upon and support. The thing is, sometimes as adult students, we rush to class and then are eager to get home after, and we don't really take time to connect. However, I believe that it is the connections we form with other students that help us progress through our programs successfully. Sometimes we vent with these academic friends: "I can't believe my advisor was late again!". Sometimes we try out new ideas: "I'm thinking about writing my thesis about... what do you think?". Sometimes we express our fears and sometimes we share our successes. For all these reasons, academic or school friends, are vital to our success.
Who is your study buddy?
Cheering you on!
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Here are eight of my favorite web tools -- each of these is helpful to me in my teaching and I believe all would be equally useful for students! Each of these tools has free access or a free version (some charge for upgraded versions).
Eyejot is a video messaging tool. I use this to send weekly messages to my interns -- we all like it -- a nice change from yet another email, and more personal. This is web-based, you don't need to download any software, just set up a free account, and as long as you have a camera on your computer, you're ready to go. Eyejot is perfect for quick communications between group members, study partners, and teachers and students. As it's just plain fun!
Doodle is an online scheduling tool. If you are working in a project or study group, chances are not everyone uses the same calendar program. Doodle allows you to set up a graphic of potential meeting times and then survey group members to find times that work for everyone. Doodle is easy to use, and will save you time.
Cacoo is an online drawing and diagramming tool. I have used it to create mindmaps for lit reviews and articles that I'm writing. I also created an APA decision flow chart. For visual thinkers, this tool is terrific for helping us to organize our thinking. This would also come in handy for making charts and diagrams for slide presentations.
I just started using Evernote, a note-taking and info-capturing tool. The thing I love about it is that my notes are stored in the cloud, so whether I've taken the notes on my laptop, ipad, or phone, the notes are all stored in the same place and then accessible from any device. In addition, Evernote indexes notes, which I'm sure will help me be more organized in the long run. Save a tree, use Evernote.
This is my favorite stock photo site. Search for anything from tea cup to teamwork and you will find free images that you can use for presentation slides, blogs, etc. We've all seen the standard images that are included with Powerpoint... time to quit using those and be more creative... your audience will appreciate the effort. As long as you aren't profiting from your use of the work, the images are free.
Writing and APA
Need a quick refresher on who vs. whom, or that vs. which? Grammar Girl provides quick and easy-to-understand grammar help.
Does the APA manual confuse you? Sometimes it confuses me. For more straightforward help, visit Owl, Purdue's online writing center.
While the APA manual can be difficult to navigate, the APA style blog is worth watching. Set up an RSS feed or add it to your google reader. APA experts post a few times a month and cover a range of APA issues that you might otherwise have trouble figuring out, such as how to cite an ebook or twitter, and "Five Steps to a Great Title." This blog is worth watching.
OK friends, these are my favorite school-related tools. Please let me know if you have any others that you recommend. Oh, and by the way, The Encouragement Lounge is ad-free and sponsor-free so nobody prompted me to promote any of these sites -- my recommendations are based purely on my own experience.
Cheering you on in your work!
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Thursday, September 9, 2010
What time of day do you work most effectively? This is an important question to ask yourself, if you haven't done so already. Chances are, there are times of the day when you are more clear, creative, and productive. So, quick, without thinking about it -- when are you at your best?
Chances are you said, "early morning" or "late evening" or something like that. Now get more specific:
1. Identify the types of work that you do. If we're thinking about school, then perhaps you have to read, write papers, and edit/proof those papers.
2. Now ask the question again, regarding each of those types of work. When during the day are you most focused as a writer? When do you most effectively read? And so on.
3. What are the other time blocks that you have available -- times when you are free to work, but you are typically not at your best?
And now of course the strategy is to try to tweak your schedule so that you can do your most challenging work during your most productive times. This might sound hard to do at first -- you are probably juggling school with many other responsibilities. However, the more that you can work at your optimal times, the more effective you will be and there are all kinds of benefits from that, in the long run.
Along the same lines, use those time blocks when you know you aren't your best, for the less challenging work, such as looking for articles if you are doing a lit review, and so on.
Thoughts???? What time-related strategies do you use?
Cheering you on!
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Here is a good resource on how to edit and proof your papers:
A few other tips:
1. read your paper out loud
2. keep a list of the types of errors you typically make, and read your paper once just looking for those errors
Do you have any other strategies? If so, please share via comments below.
Cheering you on in your work!