Tag Archives: personal productivity

Lo-mentum: new word

I was about to dive back into a paper I need to finish.  I have lost track of where I left matters.  I hate that feeling of lost momentum.  It is like negative inertia.  Think I’ll call it

lo-mentum: n.  The depressing feeling of realizing one had momentum that has been lost.  It tends to feed on itself in a negative feedback loop.

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Personal Project Management, Launch

I am on UFL (Untenured Faculty leave) this year, that is, Bucknell gives me part of my salary in exchange for the expectation that lots of work will get done.  Sounds like a good deal.

I have many projects in midstream.  I struggle with how to prioritize which project to work on, and within a given project, what tasks are needed, how long they will take, and when to do them.  Add to this my tendency to think locally and globally at the same time.  So, for example, with a qualitative study of virtual worlds, the local is to review some data.  At the same time, I am aware that I never set up what I consider a satisfactory system for handling qualitative data.  it needs to be stored, to be accessible to my collaborators, to be searchable and to be able to be handled and combined flexibly.   How to do that?  So, the local and the global tug at my attention.  Meanwhile, a third mental routine starts to count how much time I spend worrying about local vs global and madly trying to calculate cost-benefit.  At about this point, it all seems too much trouble and I go read Huffington Post or something.

So, perhaps there is a software app that will enable me to more simply look at multiple projects, add tasks, prioritize and reprioritize, and then fit it into a calendar.  And, isn’t UFL a good time to retool my work systems and invest some time in self-improvement?

Any regular readers of this blog (if you exist) will recall “the grid”, a simple table for tracking scholarly work in different stages.  I take no credit for it, it is something I learned from colleagues at Bucknell I met in a writing group.  What I am looking for would allow me to go within each line (a project) on the grid and do at least three things: 1) establish tasks and subtasks and 2) assign amount of time and schedule when i would do those things and 3) establish levels of priority to help me figure out when to do what.

So, instead of spontaneously trying some application, or improvising with OneNote and other MS products, I decided to be more rational.  I asked some friends and on Facebook for suggestions.  Many came in!  Yeah friendsourcing! (like crowdsourcing, but with friends).

I will review the different options in further posts.

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In a writing groove? WAMAIFC! [New Word Series]

In my on-going quest to refashion English to my liking, I stumbled onto a new acronym recently.  I proudly present:

WAMAIFC

Writing As Much As I Fucking Can

Pronounced, I suggest, “Wham-Aif-Ick.”

Uses: when you need to convey that you are hyper-focused on finishing a writing project, when you are in that sweet spot of enough stress to feel juiced but not so much that despair hangs about you like the odor of old cooking grease, then you can simply tell others to take a number and wait in line because you are WAMAIFC!

It is also handy for the whole short-form text world of status updates, IMing, cell phones and so on.

“Whatcha doin’?”

“WAMAIFC!”

You are welcome.

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Mental Organization

One of the boons of Web 2.0 technologies, like tagging, folksonomies, and social bookmarking, is that it gives a mental pack rat like me an immense feeling of relief and empowerment.  I used to try and clip articles form newspapers and journals I thought were important.  Back in the days before the internets, I mean.  WIth browsers and bookmarks, I found myself saving bookmarks  willy-nilly.  And e-mails.  The problems was that using a file architecture to manage all these handles (a small handle to grab to access more in-depth knowledge) became itself a time suck and a mental burden.

Searchability is key for me.  That is one thing i learned from Gmail.  It wsa liberating to simply abandon the compulsion to keep and organize old emails.  By letting go and adopting a problem-solving mentality, I realized I could rely on my own mind to offer key words to search for relevant emails as I needed to find them.

Now delicious (and digg to a lesser extent) enable the same shift from organizing for organization’s sake to tagging and dropping (tag it and drop it till you need it).  I can organize myself and my time instead of organizing my files, bookmarks, handles, etc.

This summer I want to keep streamlining.  I still need and use paper copies of important articles.  Just as I look through my delicious bookmarks or blog for ideas,  I want to go to a file folder and review the articles there.

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Computer thoughts

So, I get to request a new machine this summer.  This is the first time I am at the front of the line (due to my employment status).  As I have become more of a power user due to necessity of work, I am much more sensitive to the kind of machine I use.

BU will probably get a Latitude D83o 0r D630 according to my inside source.  Looking over the sites, I noticed that there seem to be some concerns about the screen width on the 630.  The 830 may not have an optical drive?

But there are other concerns.

– Is a tablet a good technology for me?  I need to really use it before I can decide and that may be tricky.  (Also, does BU min specs include smae level of graphics for a tablet?)

– Is a mac and then use parallel software (or whatever that is called) to run network analysis software.  I think network stuff is the only PC specific software I need.  Do any network researchers use macs?  Can I ask socnet?

– Do I need extra video graphics for Second Life or future video editing (for students, for qualitative data).  I think I will move more into students doing video or multimedia work.

– Do I need a second Monitor for my office to show things to students and/or for more screen real estate for writing or for larger network mapping.

– What is the best desk configuration for me?  Does that include a docking station? Since I actually don’t type properly, I prefer to have screen and hands nearby so I can glance back and forth easier.  Also, For a tall guy, I find I like to sit high up and right on top of my machine.  Probably terrible, ergonometry.  (word?)

– It looks like I can request software above and beyond standard package.  Oh really…  Should I ask for different network software so I can see what is best for me and for students?   That might include NetMiner, UCINET/Pajek, and InFlowWhat else is out there? Like this high end software: http://www.tomsawyer.com/home/index.php

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Filed under Computer add ins, Networks, Research, Social Networks