Thursday, 14 March 2013

Productivity for Academic Librarians and Researchers: Session 5 - Paper Productivity Tools and the Pomodoro Technique


Session 5 of the Year of Productivity, and I think I need to work on my productivity, as I’ve come to it pretty late! Anyway, I was definitely impressed with the different paper productivity tools available. I love my electronic tools like Google Calendar and Evernote but I still have a soft spot for paper – after all, the battery doesn’t run out and it doesn’t crash. I am definitely going to check out the printable paper productivity tools in the LifeHacker post.

  1. Chapter 4 of The Sketchnote Handbook is available for preview. Go to the author’s blog to download the sample chapter. You can also view three short podcasts by the author at his site.
Not being a lover of podcasts, I gave those a miss but I read through the chapter. I can see why Sketchnote appeals to people but I don’t know if it’s for me – I don’t really like expressing ideas in this way, I’d rather just write them down. However, there were some good tips in the chapter such as preparing a title page for your notes, scanning them once they are completed and correcting any errors afterwards – however I find it hard enough to write legibly when note-taking, let alone draw legibly.

  1. Having read Chapter 4 in Exercise #1, try practicing the method while listening to a pre-recorded webinar.  If you don’t have one already waiting in your to-do queue that you need to view, you could watch the video of David Allen presenting his Getting Things Done method that Mary introduced in Session 4.
I gave this a go but ended up writing notes in the usual way! I do use bullet points and abbreviations in my notes anyway, but I don’t know if even more complicated note taking the way to go for me.

  1. The Moleskine company has collaborated with the Evernote folks and created a special Evernote Smart Notebook.  Take a few minutes now and check it out here at the Getting Started Guide.  How might this tool help your workflow and productivity?  Could you combine it with the Sketchnote method?
I use Evernote a lot so this could work really well. I prefer to use a combination of paper and electronic methods to create notes so this is definitely something I’d like to look into. It could definitely work with the Sketchnote method, for instance if you’re in a meeting and want to make notes by hand then add them to Evernote later.

  1. Review the Pomodoro Technique.  Try to apply the method on a project you need to start today.  How often did you have to keep yourself from straying from the task?  How much did you accomplish during the session?
I tried this, but I found that as soon as I wasn’t allowed to check my emails or distract myself in any other way, I immediately wanted to even more. Also, I found myself spending twice as long mentally ‘preparing’ myself for the 25-minute stretch of work knowing that in theory, at least, I wouldn’t be able to stop. I think I’m going to need more practice…

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