Hillcroft LRC

Posts Tagged ‘productivity

 

sweet-dreams-by-brillianthues-2013

Sweet dreams by Brillianthues (2013) is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Happy New Year!

The theme of this blog post is short and sweet: getting the most out of reading and learning in bite-sized chunks.

Short stories

We’ve been building our collection of books from around the world in Hillcroft LRC because we want to give a taste of reading to suit everyone and to resonate with all kinds of readers. There’s a new literary prize set up to illuminate the works of black and minority ethnic (BAME) authors. It’s really exciting to hear about more diversity in publishing. There are so many more stories that we can hear.

Have a look at the short stories on The Asian Writer website for quick hits of new perspectives and universal feelings.

Apps

On a list of the best apps to keep you on track with new year’s resolutions are two notables. One is Pocket Cast to organise and find podcasts, a great way to learn on the go and when your eyes are tired. The second app that I am keen to try out is Lrn, which promises to teach the basics of code with fun quizzes and short lessons.

First News

In the LRC we’ve subscribed to a new newspaper called FirstNews. This is the news in short, with lots of engaging pictures and graphs. If you don’t have time to read a whole article take a moment and grab First News. You can learn something on a single page.

Chrome Web Store

The Chrome Web Store has lots of add-ons (extensions) to customise internet use. All of the browsers will have similar online stores. There are lots of free ways to make research more fun such as adding a kitten picture to every new tab. There’s a goal setting, note taking, procrastination busting homepage from Limitless. More health benefits also include extensions to remind you to take a break or drink water. Check out the web store and reinvent your internet experience.

Brainstorm on paperIt’s already midway through January 2016! Have you got more resolutions than ever to fulfill but no idea where to start? We’ve got some handy books to help you be more productive and achieve in academic and personal goals.

How about learning better ways to brainstorm or create lists? Check out: ‘How to get your own way‘ by Craig Shrives and Paul Easter. They also look at developing an argument and common fallacies. These ideas would be useful in essay-writing, presentations and everyday life. It is great when you can apply knowledge to different tasks and situations. There is also a good chapter looking at statistics and how numbers can be used to alter our perceptions.

If you want everyday psychological tools you could borrow ‘The Tools‘ by Phil Stutz and Barry Michels. They give you methods to combat negativity, worry and lack of confidence. Tips and tricks learnt through self-improvement books (aka ‘shelf-help’) can impact on many aspects of life, not least education.

It is hard to remember all your tasks let alone to stay focused on them.  This is especially true if the task is long and has many daunting steps (*ahem*…essay-writing and revision).

There are great apps for your phone, tablet or computer that help you with your to-do lists and productivity. The app called Epic Win sounds innovative with every task you complete giving you the opportunity to enhance your online persona or get to the next level. Turning life admin into a game is one method to stay motivated.

For essay writing and revision, one technique that has been around a fair few years is the Pomodoro technique. Coming from the Italian word for tomato which was the shape of the timer the inventor of the technique used. It is especially good for complex tasks such as completing academic work.

According to the technique the key is to work productively in short stints of 25 minutes. During this timed period you must work and only work. But when the alarm goes off to mark the completion of a productive time period then you get a short (5 minute) break. You could get a cuppa, check Facebook or just otherwise daydream -whatever little reward floats your boat. Then you go back to your productive time. After 3-4 cycles of productivity and short rests you get a longer break (15-30 mins).

The Pomodoro technique may sound a bit too regimented for some, plus what happens if you have just got into something and the alarm for a break goes off? You have to work how it suits you, but perhaps this time-management technique can be part of an armory of other ways to keep your nose to the grindstone.

You can use a timer or find a Pomodoro inspired app online. Some apps like Keep Focused and Pomodairo let you input and save what you intend to work on in the productive session. So you have a record of what you have been doing and can see what you have achieved at a glance.

It’s much healthier than the gummy bear motivational technique.


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