Sunday, June 25, 2017

Bookmarks of Note (weekly)

  • tags: productivity

  • tags: productivity

  • "The 3 Steps to a 5 Year Plan"

    tags: productivity


    tags: productivity

  • "15 Habits That Will Totally Transform Your Productivity 1/16 From decluttering your desk to letting yourself complain, these 15 easy behavior changes can change how much you accomplish each day. BY STEPHANIE VOZZA6 MINUTE READ Editor’s Note: This article is one of the top 10 Leadership stories of 2015. See the full list here. People who manage to get a lot accomplished each day aren’t superhuman; they’ve just mastered a few simple habits. Some may be easy to guess: Keep your desk organized and aim for around eight hours of sleep a night. But others, like taking a mid-day nap or complaining, might surprise you. Here are 15 easy ways to make every day more productive: 1. DECLUTTER YOUR DESK. MESSY WORK SPACE: Creativity may arise from chaos, but a litter-strewn office probably isn’t helping you get stuff done. “Attention is programmed to pick up what’s novel,” says Josh Davis, director of research at the NeuroLeadership Institute and author of Two Awesome Hours. Visible files remind you of unfinished tasks. An unread book is temptation for procrastination. Even if you don’t think you’re noticing the disorder, it hurts your ability to focus. TIDY WORKSPACE: People with neat offices are more persistent and less frustrated and weary, according to a recent study in Harvard Business Review, which found that a clean desk helps you stick with a task more than one and a half times longer. “While it can be comforting to relax in your mess, a disorganized environment can be a real obstacle,” says Grace Chae, a professor at Fox School of Business at Temple University and coauthor of the study. 2. BE PART OF THE 20%. No matter how crazy your days get, make sure you carve out and ruthlessly protect just 90 minutes—20% of an eight-hour day—for the most important tasks. “Even if you squander the remaining 80% of the day, you can still make great progress if you have spent 90 minutes on your goals or priorities,” says Charlotte, North Carolina–based productivity coach Kimberly Medlock. 3. WORK LESS. Think you can get more done by tacking on extra hours? According to a 2014 study by Stanford professor John Pencavel, who examined data from laborers during World War I, output was proportionate to time worked—up to 49 hours. Beyond that, it rose at a decreasing rate, and those who put in 70 hours had the same productivity as someone who worked 56 hours. 4. STOP PHONING IT IN. You might believe you’re ignoring your iPhone, but unless it’s fully turned off, it’s a major distraction. In a report published this year in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, researchers from Florida State University found that even if you don’t look at your phone when it buzzes, the sound makes your mind wander. 5. TRY THIS EMAIL HACK. How Alexandra Samuel, author of Work Smarter With Social Media, avoids getting distracted when she’s waiting for an important message: 1. Find the email-to-text format for your cell-phone provider with a quick Google search. Verizon, for example, is, so if your mobile number is 555-123-4567, your address is 2. Using that address, set up your email so it forwards messages from a specific sender to your cell phone via text (in Outlook, find “Rules” in the “Tools” task bar). 3. Shut down your inbox and ignore your emails while focusing on more pressing tasks, knowing you’ll be alerted when the important message comes in. 6. GO HEAVY ON HVAS. People are more efficient at things that come naturally, while tasks that feel like a struggle are likely to impede progress. If you can, delegate the duties that feel like an effort, and instead focus on “high value activities.” “HVAs are within your mission, leverage your strengths, and create impact or change,” says Hillary Rettig, author of The Seven Secrets of the Prolific: The Definitive Guide to Overcoming Procrastination, Perfectionism, and Writer’s Block. “They also create clarity and open your schedule.” Delegating your non–HVA activities also helps create community. After all, they could very well be someone else’s HVAs. 7. MEET SMARTER. Three ways to get the most out of your group sessions: 1. MAKE A PLAN Many meetings don’t have a particular agenda, but it’s important to know what you want to accomplish going in. “Keep meetings short by limiting the agenda to three items or less,” says Alan Eisner, professor of management at Pace University’s Lubin School of Business. “Afterward, send out minutes using your agenda so everyone knows what to work on.” 2. BANISH DISTRACTIONS Put non-agenda thoughts into an “idea parking lot.” “People bring up ideas that are important to them but not on topic,” says Cary Greene, coauthor of Simple Sabotage: A Modern Field Manual for Detecting & Rooting Out Everyday Behaviors That Undermine Your Workplace. “Instead of losing them, write them down.” Don’t let the parking lot be a black hole: Assign follow-up steps right at the end of the meeting. 3. PLAY MUSICAL CHAIRS Walking meetings are gaining popularity, but you can get a similar benefit without hitting the hallway. Set a timer for 30 to 45 minutes. When it goes off, have everyone get up and move. “You can stand and shake it out a bit as a group, which lightens everyone up,” says workplace psychologist Karissa Thacker. “Moving regularly is good for us in all kinds of ways, including improving our ability to focus.” 8. SLEEP ON THE JOB. It might be tough to convince your boss, but researchers from the University of Michigan found that taking a daytime nap counteracts impulsive behavior and boosts tolerance for frustration. The findings also suggest that workplace dozers could be more productive. 9. BEWARE THESE PRODUCTIVITY KILLERS. Identifying distractions is the first step to avoiding them. Here are the top five workplace attention destroyers, according to a 2015 survey by CareerBuilder: Cell phones/texting Internet Gossip Social media Email 10. MAKE PRIORITIZATION A PRIORITY. To get more done, be mindful of everyday choices, suggests Lisa Zaslow, founder of the New York–based Gotham Organizers: 1. FOLLOW YOUR BRAIN “We can’t operate at peak performance all day long,” says Zaslow. “When I’m feeling my best, I concentrate on important activities like writing. When I’m feeling tired and foggy, I do relatively mindless tasks like dealing with routine emails.” 2. PRACTICE STRATEGIC PROCRASTINATION “In order to focus on urgent or meaningful activities, let some other things slide,” she says. For example, open your mail just once a week; these days, nothing urgent arrives with a postage stamp on it. And while some organizers will tell you to touch any piece of paper just once, Zaslow is more forgiving. It’s okay to toss less-pressing work in a pile for later, she says. 11. STAY IN THE SLUMBER “SWEET SPOT.” It’s not surprising that getting more done starts with a good night’s sleep, but it turns out getting too many hours is as bad as too few. Analyzing the sleep and work habits of 3,760 people over seven years, researchers at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health found that under-sleepers and oversleepers were both more likely to take extra sick days. 12. SEEK OUT THE SUN. An office with a view sounds like a recipe for mind wandering. Actually, access to sunlight boosts productivity. In a study by the California Energy Commission, workers who sat near a window performed better, processing calls 6% to 12% faster and performing 10% to 25% better on tests that involved mental function and memory recall. 13. WANT TO MOTIVATE PEOPLE? BE HUMAN. Energize staff by clearly defining expectations and routinely offering positive feedback. According to a recent study by Gallup, companies that engage their workforce see a 65% decrease in turnover, a 21% bump in productivity, and a 10% increase in customer ratings. 14. COMPLAIN. But do it the right way. Present your beef with an idea for improvement. “Framing things in terms of solutions lessens the focus on the problem and who might be at fault,” says management professor Russell Johnson, coauthor of a study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology. “It evokes pleasant emotions instead of negative ones that cause mental fatigue.” 15. HIT THE ELLIPTICAL. Exercise not only improves health, it boosts output. And you don’t have to kill yourself in CrossFit—a jog will do. Researchers from the University of Otago in New Zealand found that a daily 20-minute run helped lab rats complete problem-solving tasks more quickly and efficiently than their nonexercised counterparts. RELATED: HOW MUCH DOES LACK OF SLEEP REALLY AFFECT YOUR WORK? A version of this article appeared in the November 2015 issue of Fast Company magazine. Fast Company Daily Newsletter SIGN UP Receive special Fast Company offersSee All Newsletters ADVERTISEMENT "

    tags: BackPorchBookmarks productivity

  • "Why ‘Unlearning’ Old Habits Is An Essential Step For Innovation"

    tags: BackPorchBookmarks

  • "The Complete Guide to Happiness for Introverts"

    tags: BackPorchBookmarks

  • tags: education attendance

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Bookmarks of Note (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Thursday, May 18, 2017


3rd Annual Medieval Faire Benefiting Relay for Life of Second Life

Unmasking A Cure Relay For Life Team (#38) presents the Third Annual Medieval Faire, running from May 19 though June 18, 2017. The Faire, similar to a real world "Ren Faire", offers medieval tournaments in jousting, sword play, archery, horse racing, chess, Slurbbage, all day Trivia. There are over 80 merchants throughout the Faire grounds; village, travelers' camp and Gotya garden. All of them supporting Relay For Life with items that will be sold for a 100% donation. On the entertainment front, we have ChangHigh Sisters, dozens of live performers and  DJs are all donating their time and talents to Relay For Life. Don't miss this exciting month-long event; try your hand at all the sports, find that perfect outfit or decor item, or enjoy live musicians and dj sets!



Monday, May 15, 2017

Watch out for the COPS!

As many teachers know, COPS is an editing strategy often taught to kids. It stands for Capitalisation, Organisation, Punctuation, Spelling. Are these the things we need to be editing for and why?
In looking at the Horizon Project, I found myself editing these things almost automatically. I also looked at wording or phrasing, and conciseness. What led me to change something? If I felt there was a better way, which I had been taught as the standard way, I simply changed it.
But is this valid? Is it even necessary? Perhaps the digital immigrants such as I need to get out of the way. Perhaps the digital natives don't need any COPS to help them comprehend. Jeff Mason cites Bruno Giussani's blog about an interesting research project The kids only used standard language when it was useful to them. Language is used for commumication. You are using it right now to read my blog post. If you talk about it, you will be using language to orally communicate. If you use pictures or photos, that is yet another language. If you use music, that is yet (and I think often the best, being a musician) another communication.
So why is a standard needed, except to pass school? Is there a standard-form used in the business world, where most of our graduates are heading? Maybe it is more important to emphasize problem solving, critical analysis, and creativity, rather than that standard form of language which was pummeled into my head.
I studied German. High German. My relatives speak (pause as I think of the English term here...) Bavarian. So I had to learn two languages. I'm sure the same is true for other languages except Latin and ancient Greek. Is it cost-effective to teach this way?
Ethnocentrism. Why do I assume that my culture is the dominant one? I have been raised to not even question this assumption, but I find it is not at all Christ-like. I need to examine myself more closely and to become more aware of assumptions that I carry around. And then I need to create an environment for my students to do the same.
As you can gather, I was wrong. Ethnocentrically wrong. I hope to use this experience as a springboard for my learning and through it to become just a little more like He would want me to be.
Technorati Tags:

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Thursday, May 11, 2017


Zitierzirkel – You cite me, and I cite you. Like I scratch your back if you scratch mine. 
Seems Zitierzirkel is literally a quoting circle.

Having just watched Professor Moriarty (not related to the one of Holmes fame) I wonder if a discussion about the peer review process might be a good topic for discussion 1 in our Walden forum. This post was written for that discussion.


What are the benefits of the peer review process in academia? 

The peer review process is designed to expose flaws in the study design, report, analysis, or discussion of scientific research. When it works well, it delivers timely targeted feedback – constructive criticism which should be used to improve the research (Lee & Bero, 2006). The benefits of peer review, as our Walden Library reminds us, is to alert readers to study biases and inconsistencies, while ensuring integrity, replicability, and validity of the research. The peer review process is imperfect as the humans who carry it out.

Recently the journal giant Springer reported that 64 papers were being withdrawn due to fake peer reviews (Watts, 2015, August 19).  At a meeting of the AAAS in Washington, DC last month, Shankar presented a poster session in which he said peer review is essential to scientific research. Peer review has been the way things have been done for about 300 years (Weller, 2001). Whether the process can be traced back to the Royal Society of London in 1752 or not (Spier, 2002), the purpose of peer review is “the assessment by an expert of material submitted for publication” (Mulligan, 2015).
I discussed this topic with a colleague in Berlin (SL can be a wonderful place for academic networking). He introduced me to a German term, Zitierzirkel. In short, you scratch my back, I’ll scratch your back.  In his opinion, peer review leads to a small selection of people, who may invite their friends to review their work, and this circle of peers have similar ideas, read the same articles, go to the same conferences, and draw the same conclusions. I had not considered this problem with exclusivity. He referred to Zitierzirkel has a small school of citing and said these people are so obvious in what they do.

Despite my concerns about the peer review process, my colleague thinks the process is fine if   diverse reviewers are used ensuring a broader range of opinions may lead to longer discussions, and better results. But those diverse reviewers still are part of our present generation which seem to have problems with ethics. In the recesses of my memory, are Kohlberg’s stages of moral development.
I would put forth that the real problem with the peer review process has to do with the present generation’s failure to reach Kohlberg’s final stage of moral development.  We are stuck in the age of entitlement (as a fellow teacher from Hagerstown who lives in Frostburg once said). If we get to stage 4 we become stuck in self-absorption, busy taking selfies, and furthering our own careers. Branch (2000) claimed that medical students were not attaining the higher levels of moral development for practicing medicine in ethically sound ways. Lickona (1983) tells us, “research shows, only a minority of adults attain Stage 5” (p.15).
I have outlined some problems with the system, but what are the benefits of the peer review process?


Branch, W. T. (2000). Supporting the Moral Development of Medical Students.Journal of General Internal Medicine15(7), 503–508.
Lee, K., & Bero, L. (2006). What authors, editors and reviewers should do to improve peer review. Nature, 471, 91-94.
Lickona, T. (1983). Raising good children: Helping your child through the stages of moral development. Toronto: Bantam Books.
Mulligan, A. (2005). Is peer review in crisis? Oral Oncology41(2), 135-141.
Shankar, K. (2016, February). Opening the Black Box of Scientific Peer Review: Preliminary Results from the New Frontier. In 2016 AAAS Annual Meeting (February 11-15, 2016). AAAS.
Spier, R. (2002). The history of the peer-review process. TRENDS in Biotechnology20(8), 357-358.
Watts, A. (2015, August 19). Peer review is broken – Springer announces 64 papers retracted due to fake reviews. Retrieved March 08, 2016, from