Michael Ekstrand

Blog Articles

Work Management as Self-Care

Published on 20 Feb 2017 and tagged with productivity.

In my previous post, I described how I use a physical notebook to manage my daily and weekly work.

Getting things done is not the only purpose of this notebook, however. It is also an important part of how I maintain my mental health.

The Notebook

Published on 16 Feb 2017 and tagged with productivity.
Moleskine notebook with pen

My notebook is the center of my day-to-day workflow. In it I track what I need to do, what I am doing, what we've discussed in a meeting, and countless other things. It isn't terribly often that I actually go back more than a week or so to look at things — I tend to transfer long-term notes into digital storage after I've processed them — but they're still there, and I find the very act of writing with pen helpful.

However, it isn't just an ad-hoc thing where I write without structure. There is quite a bit of structure to how I use the notebook, and it helps immensely as I plan and execute my work.

Thinking About Productivity

Published on 14 Feb 2017 and tagged with productivity.

TL;DR: A good productivity system is one that helps you get done the things you need to. One of the most important things is to take time to think about your work. Desired outcomes are a good thing to think about.

I have tried a number of different productivity systems over the years. Some have worked better than others. I've tried:

Affording Quality Conversations

Published on 16 Jan 2017 and tagged with academia.

As professors, we get a lot of e-mails. One of these classes of e-mails is the prospective student e-mail, which comes in wildly varying quality. This takes time from faculty, enough that many have written guides to e-mailing or specific requirements for e-mailing them and receiving a reply; I have a version of this myself.