The career of an academic is an interesting experiment with balance. In contrast to many careers and professions, professors have the ability, to a great extent, to chart their own course day to day, year to year. In doing so, however, they must find a delicate balance of time and energy in three roles: teaching, scholarship and service. It may be relatively easy to prioritize tasks, goals and projects within one area of focus, it is often more challenge to prioritize across these areas. For example, is it more critical for an untenured faculty member to provide feedback on a students’ dissertation proposal, prepare for the class meeting the following day, or complete revisions on a manuscript?
This dynamic nature of the professoriate was something that attracted me to this world, but also befuddles me from time to time. Somehow I managed to navigate the gauntlet and achieve promotion and tenure. My success, at least in part, is due to my efforts to systematize my day to day work and planning. I’m certainly no expert though. I consider myself more of a hack; someone who continually experiments, refines, and hopefully improves the quality of my work and consequently, my satisfaction in my career.
This weblog is a space for me to share what I have and will continue to learn about working more efficiently, productively and effectively as a professor. It will be a space for others to both garner new ideas and share their own. It will also be a space for me to clarify my own thinking and test out new ideas and processes.
So what can you expect to find here? Some weeks, I may only post one new resource, idea or experiment. Other weeks will probably be more productive. I assume the content of the site will ebb and flow with the academic year. You can expect posts around productivity tools (both digital and analog), resources, screencasts, interesting ideas, and book reviews. The content will center primarily around the work of academics – researching, teaching, writing, organizing, and planning.
I hope we all find utility with the content of this site. I hope that you’ll comment and share your own experience, ideas, and perspectives. In short, I hope the prof hacks will make our work more productive, meaningful, measured, and fun.