Tag: productivity

  • Managing all of the inputs

    Managing all of the inputs

    It’s November, which is my academic corner is one of the most stressful months of the season! In this post I thought I’d tackle a topic that is becoming increasingly challenging for me, managing the sheer number of inputs in my life.

  • Surviving April

    Surviving April

    Last semester, I wrote about taking the stressful edge off of November, and in my life at least, April is November’s stressful Spring cousin! In addition to the usual almost but not quite the end of the semester exhaustion and duties, plus tax and allergy season, this April brings some extra stress with all the holidays, a time-consuming (but also long-shot) grant application, some work and dance projects coming to fruition, and two long haul dance trips (one of which is our regional qualifiers for nationals). On the bright side, April is apparently also both Scottish American and Arab American heritage month, which is a nice coincidence in my world!

  • Strategies to make mundane tasks more interesting and less painful

    Strategies to make mundane tasks more interesting and less painful

    I’ve had a few conversations recently about the annoyance of mundane tasks and chores, such as laundry and email. While none of these activities would make a list of things I’d do for fun, I realized that I’m less annoyed by them than the people was I was talking to, or even my past self! So, I thought I’d reflect on strategies I use to make this mundane tasks interesting, or at the very least less painful.

  • Using Trello for Home Management

    Using Trello for Home Management

    Although I’ve written before about how I use Trello to manage my academic work, travel, large events and projects, and teaching, I realized I’ve never written about using Trello for home management, even though this is arguably the most complex area of my life in terms of managing projects and tasks. So, in this post I thought I’d give a tour of my home management Trello board, and explain how I use it to keep track of everything in this area.

  • Summer Planning: Yes, really, even this summer

    Summer Planning: Yes, really, even this summer

    Needless to say, this summer looks very different than other summers. Our STARTALK program is postponed to 2021. One conference was canceled, and another has gone virtual. All the dancing events are canceled. I was on the planning committee for the U.S. Championships that were going to be in Denver this Summer, so this is perhaps the most heart-breaking, but I will miss all of my Summer activities. I’m not sure I’ve ever had a Summer where I haven’t traveled somewhere, even if it was only a few hours drive away. It’s also looking uncertain whether or not there will be Summer Camps/Daycare (and if there were, would I feel comfortable sending my kids?). While there’s less uncertainty than in the Spring (because everything is canceled) there’s still uncertainty around what we will be able to do. Will we be able to resume in person dance classes? Go to the gym? Celebrate my kids birthdays with small groups of friends?

  • Trello Templates for Repetitive or Recurring Tasks

    Trello Templates for Repetitive or Recurring Tasks

    I am a longtime fan of checklists, especially for repetitive types of things like packing, teaching prep, weekly planning, etc. Recently, Trello added template cards, which as the name suggests allow you to create new cards from a template, rather than a blank card. Trello cards also allow you to add checklists, which means that this is the perfect system for creating checklists for repetitive or recurring tasks! So, I thought I’d use this post to discuss all of the ways in which I use template cards for checklists in all areas of my life.

  • Spring 2020 Semester Plan

    Spring 2020 Semester Plan

    Every semester, I make a plan using my semester planning sheet. In previous posts I’ve discussed my semester planning routine, and you can also read about my Fall 2019 plan. In this post, I’m sharing my 2020 semester plan, which looks a little different than most because I am on sabbatical this semester, which means replacing my classroom teaching duties with research ones (theoretically it also minimizes my service duties, but that’s complicated). Dance and home duties of course go on as usual.

  • Fall 2019 Review

    Fall 2019 Review

    Happy 2020! Given the number of decade in review posts I’ve seen around, perhaps I should be doing that instead. As it happens, however, this was quite an eventful decade for me, and every time I think about reviewing it, I just want to go to sleep instead. So, I’ll stick with Fall 2019, which was also fairly eventful in different ways. As I mentioned last Spring, I have a review process for reviewing various areas of my life, and I also keep track of some of them numerically.

  • Unexpected Benefits of Planning: Knowing when NOT to do things

    Unexpected Benefits of Planning: Knowing when NOT to do things

    While attending the recent conference of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, I had the opportunity to catch up with a friend I used to work with at the Middlebury Arabic Summer School. In the intervening ten or so years since we worked together, we’ve both had two kids, completed grad school, and are now working full time in educational settings (her in a high school, me at a university). Part of our conversation involved discussing the logistics of getting little kids around while working, and as I described my planning system, she made the really insightful comment that by planning when I do all of the things, I’m also planning when I’m NOT doing things.

  • Trello for Travel

    Trello for Travel

    As a general rule, I enjoy traveling, and obviously I chose to make the majority of these trips. However, I’m less thrilled about the logistics of traveling, such as packing, purchasing flights/hotels, arranging entertainment, etc. These have gotten even less thrilling as I have to pack and make arrangements for more people and spend time looking for extra funding/creative and budget-friendly ways to travel as our travel budgets are cut.

    So, Trello to the rescue! Because I have three main types of travel (conference, dance, and family) I have three Trello boards that serve as templates for this type of travel. When a new trip comes up, I copy the relevant board and rename it for that specific trip (e.g. ACTFL 2019).