‘Tech 4’: a series
Regardless what area you work on, it is very likely at some stage you have faced the challenge of managing a large or long project. I confess the whole PhD idea scared me a few times. That feeling of losing control of data, tasks and especially time always sounded like a very real threat to a successful candidature.
In the endless search for inspiration, last week I listened to an interview with Merlin Mann, host of the Back to Work podcast and creator of 43 Folders, and this morning I listened to the first episode of his show. Among lots of interesting ideas he said that “what makes cool people cool is not where they live or decisions they make, but systems they have in place”. He then explained that good systems allow us to be creative, to make our choices – following the idea that every opportunity we embrace is something else we let go – “because there will always be things to stop you doing the things that matter”. To keep on track we all need good systems, no matter if it is to complete your to-do list or to keep up with a diet.
Last year I went to a workshop for PhD students at the Teaching and Learning department of Lincoln University’s Library. The aim of that particular workshop was to start a network and help students get to know each other. There we were asked if we had LinkedIn and blogs, and the importance of developing the so-called ‘online presence’ was briefly highlighted.
At that stage I had a blog, an old one. The old blog was a project I had a few years ago, with a completely different focus from this one. Besides being all in Portuguese, it didn’t fit the purpose anymore. So months later I decided to start a new one, this one.
Since then I have been finding out a whole new world. A world of very short distances, good networks, and very helpful advice regarding time management, techniques and tools to support the work I am focused on. Although a PhD project can be something we are supposed to be doing 24 hours a day, it requires good time and project management to keep on track and balance it with the real life. I haven’t found a perfect system yet, especially because I like to keep trying new things and testing new tools. However, I have been applying consistent concepts and – with a bit of a push from a friend – I decided it is time to share. I have been sharing parts of it with some friends who are also writing dissertations and theses, and in one of these occasions, Marina Martins – who blogs at PAISAGEIRO and poquito.a.poco – suggested this series and I liked the idea.
So what is ‘Tech 4’? ‘Tech 4’ is a series of posts where I will discuss a specific tool every week and talk about how I have been using it. ‘Tech 4’ will be published on Thursdays. I have made a (long) list of tools I have been using recently. These tools have been helping me in areas such as research, time and project management, networking, productivity, presentation and so forth. The title will always refer to how to use technology for some of these purposes, this is why it is called ‘Tech 4’.
Will start next week and hope you enjoy it!
Do you have any tools you cannot live without? Or are there any you’d like to see discussed here?