Chronodex

Productivity, charts, students

The Done Manifesto Lays Out 13 Ground Rules for Getting to Done
The Done Manifesto is a set of working rules based on a sense of urgency. No time for careful deliberation, move on.

Liking Rule 4 a lot:

4: Pretending you know what you’re doing is almost the same as knowing what you are doing, so just accept that you know what you’re doing even if you don’t and do it.

Preventing Cancer – Chart Porn
The key is a bit complicated at first, but there’s lots of interesting information here.

Why ‘students as customers’ is bad for policymaking
Are students becoming more like customers? Do they consider themselves consumers? In the abstract, it is a philosophical question, except that it is so emotive in the higher education context that it is rarely approached with philosophical objectivity.

Introversion

Caring for your introvert
Do you know someone who needs hours alone every day? Who loves quiet conversations about feelings or ideas, and can give a dynamite presentation to a big audience, but seems awkward in groups and maladroit at small talk? Who has to be dragged to parties and then needs the rest of the day to recuperate? Who growls or scowls or grunts or winces when accosted with pleasantries by people who are just trying to be nice?

Worrying, meditation, SharePoint

Scheduling ‘worry time’ may help you fret less
First, patients must identify and realize when they are worrying. Second, they must set aside a time and place to think about these worries. Third, when they catch themselves worrying, they must postpone worrying, and instead focus on the task at hand. Finally, patients are told to use the time they’ve set aside for worrying to try and solve the problems their worries present.

A guide to meditation for the rest of us
“Why meditate, especially if you’re not planning to drop everything you’re doing and Google for the closest mountain retreat? If you’re anything like me, meditation will help you realize just how far, and how fast, your mind can wander from what you’re supposed to be doing at the moment. In an age of multitasking, hyper-scheduling, and instant internet distraction, that alone can be a huge help. Beyond just anecdotes, it’s also been suggested that meditation can actually exercise your brain’s “muscles” to increase focus, and has been shown to lower stress and increase forgiveness among college students who take up the practice.

What is SharePoint good for?
Rob Koplowitz said that SharePoint was a Swiss army knife of a product that had a huge array of different features. A service like Box.net was like a screwdriver – it did one job (filesharing). But if you only want a screwdriver, why buy a Swiss army knife?

Overseas students, FOI, productivity

Colleges lose licences in immigration crackdown
More than 470 UK colleges have been barred in the last six months from accepting new foreign students from outside Europe, the Home Office says. They either had licences revoked or did not sign up to a new inspection system – part of government efforts to curb abuse of the immigration system. It estimates the colleges could have brought in 11,000 students.

Universities UK response to Home Office update on student visa changes
Beyond the substance of these arrangements, it is essential that the government considers the way in which the rules are communicated externally. It’s important that the UK appears ‘open for business’ to those individuals who are genuinely committed to coming to the UK to study at one of our highly-regarded universities. We must also be conscious of the impact that cutting down on pre-degree courses is having on our universities. Many universities operate pathway programmes with a range of providers. It is estimated that more than 40 per cent of all international students arrive through this means.

Tweets could now be considered valid FOI requests
According to recent guidance published by the ICO, tweets addressed to an institution may constitute valid Freedom of Information (FOI) requests.

What kind of worrier are you?
And this list actually made me feel better because, while I checked off the majority of them, I realized I still have plenty of things to worry about that I hadn’t even thought of! Score!

Productivity Future Vision
In 5-10 years, how will people get things done at work, at home, and on the go. Watch the concept video to get a glimpse of the future of productivity, then explore the stories and technology in more detail.

Take a more realistic approach to your to-do list with the 3 + 2 rule
At the morning you think you can do a, b, c, d, e. But then something goes wrong with b and you spend much more time on it than you anticipated. Subsequently you can’t finish c and d and you feel like you haven’t done enough. Let it be. Instead of having unrealistic expectations, just acknowledge that you can do only 3 big things and 2 small things. Do them and call it a day!

From scroll to screen

The Mechanic Muse — From Scroll to Screen
The codex also came with a fringe benefit: It created a very different reading experience. With a codex, for the first time, you could jump to any point in a text instantly, nonlinearly. You could flip back and forth between two pages and even study them both at once. You could cross-check passages and compare them and bookmark them. You could skim if you were bored, and jump back to reread your favorite parts. It was the paper equivalent of random-access memory, and it must have been almost supernaturally empowering. With a scroll you could only trudge through texts the long way, linearly.

Over the next few centuries the codex rendered the scroll all but obsolete.

Meetings, sketchbooks, stress

The experience must be finished to enjoy the fruits of the effort
Disorganized meetings with no well defined goals inhibit positive communication and lead the participants to wonder if the organizers of the meeting really know what they are doing.

Pretty obvious really, but useful prompts nonetheless.

David Cameron has banned the use of mobiles and Blackberries in his meetings. The BBC asks what would happen if our workplace did the same.

Certainly, fiddling with your phone in a meeting doesn’t look good, but perhaps what people are doing on them is only what other people are doing on their laptops. They get to look all keen as mustard and productive and whatnot, typing away notes (or looking like they are), so why are we mobile phone users not equally given the benefit of the doubt and assumed to be working appropriately too? (I think in my case it would be fair to assume I’m tweeting and not working, but THAT’S NOT THE POINT.)

Some photos of Irina Vinnik’s wonderful sketchbook. This is how you’re supposed to fill a moleskine.

I’m very jealous. The doodles I make in meetings never come out as good as this. I need to go to longer, more dull meetings, I guess? I’m compelled to dig out my old moleskines and bring them to work next week.

Stressed staff can’t get no satisfaction
People working in higher education are “dissatisfied with their jobs and careers” and are “stressed at work”, according to new research. … Staff were asked questions about job satisfaction, well-being, work-life balance, stress at work, control at work and working conditions using a Work-related Quality of Life (WrQoL) scale devised by Darren Van Laar, a Portsmouth psychologist.

Twitter strategies, visualising data, managing projects

Template Twitter strategy for Government Departments
You might think a 20-page strategy a bit over the top for a tool like Twitter. After all, microblogging is a low-barrier to entry, low-risk and low-resource channel relative to other corporate communications overheads like a blog or printed newsletter. And the pioneers in corporate use of Twitter by central government (see No 10, CLG and FCO) all started as low-profile experiments and grew organically into what they are today. But, having held back my JFDI inclinations long enough to sit down and write a proper plan for BIS’s corporate Twitter account, I was surprised by just how much there is to say – and quite how worth saying it is, especially now the platform is more mature and less forgiving of mistakes.

50 great examples of data visualization
50 of the best data visualizations and tools for creating your own visualizations out there, covering everything from Digg activity to network connectivity to what’s currently happening on Twitter.

University of Edinburgh Records Management Section – advice on freedom of information, data protection and records management
The Records Management Section provides help and advice to all units of the University on information management issues including records management practices and procedures, data protection and freedom of information.  We are also responsible for the Central Records Registry and the day-to day management of the records of the central administrative areas formerly known as Policy and Planning.

University of Edinburgh Projects Web Site
A one stop source of information about University IT projects – Templates and methodologies to assist in the successful management of projects – A filing system and repository for project related documentation – A communication vehicle for keeping stakeholders informed about project progress.

Productive PRINCE2?

Dominic Tinley – A little PRINCE2
You can understand why the Civil Service likes PRINCE2. There are 45 separate processes each of which warrants several pages of description in the manual but only one of which actually involves producing anything. I wonder if the ratio of Civil Service efficiency is in fact somewhere around 1:45?

Mindfulness

Be Mindful is a campaign, by the Mental Health Foundation, raising awareness about the benefits of mindfulness
Mindfulness helps people change the way they think, feel and act. It helps them to break free from a downward spiral of negative thought and action, and make positive choices that support their wellbeing.

Disappointment, digital design

Why are you so terribly disappointing?
What happened to my bonus? What happened to my job? What happened to my country? Why can’t it all go the way it’s supposed to go? You mean having a kid won’t solve my marriage problems? Why don’t these drugs make me feel better? Where’s that goddamn waiter with my salad? Have you seen the stupid weather today? Is this really all there is?

Making digital content on the mobile phone physically graspable
The weight-shifting method allows a phone to communicate to users where to walk by dynamically changing its gravitational center along two axes. The shape-changing method is able to convey where more information is located outside of the screen by changing the thickness of a phone at its corners. And lastly, the ‘living’ method allows a mobile phone to display emotional states due to a continuous heartbeat and breathing-like motion that can be felt ambiently in your trouser pocket.

Outdated admin, new networks

DC Deficit Fixer: Print on Both Sides of Paper – $102M in painfully obvious cuts shows how outdated gov’t is
A short while ago, President Obama called on his Cabinet to make budget cuts in their departments totaling $100 million. They came up with $102 million, but some of the cuts were so obvious one wonders why it took a presidential edict to elicit them, the Wall Street Journal notes.

Keeping cyberspace open to the public
The argument over the public space of the network has not gone away, however, although it now relates to a different level of the network. Instead of the internet itself as a collection of linked computers it concerns the social network and the various sites, tools and services that many of us now rely on.

Stress, health, Facebook

ISMA – NSAD – National Stress Awareness Day
The next National Stress Awareness Day will be on Wednesday 3rd November 2010. Now is the time to start thinking about what you can do to raise awareness in your company, organisation, department and yourself, or if you are a Stress Management Practitioner; what can you do to raise Stress Awareness in your customers, clients, your local town, your local businesses/organisations and local government.

Stress – Treatment 
Some people are often unwilling to ask for help if they feel stressed. They may feel embarrassed, or that they should be able to deal with stress on their own. However, if you are stressed, it is important to speak to someone about your feelings, particularly if they are interfering with the way that you live your life.

Seven productivity tips for people that hate GTD
Here are seven of the best, simple, and sometimes seemingly upside down tips for being more prolific. … Create a “to stop” list; Focus on short bursts; Define your daily ass-kicking; Allow yourself to suck; Focus on the Three C’s; Stop caring about things that don’t matter; Make it stupidly simple.

Black tea soothes away stress
[O]ur study suggests that drinking black tea may speed up our recovery from the daily stresses in life. Although it does not appear to reduce the actual levels of stress we experience, tea does seem to have a greater effect in bringing stress hormone levels back to normal. This has important health implications, because slow recovery following acute stress has been associated with a greater risk of chronic illnesses such as coronary heart disease.

Conversations about the internet #5: Anonymous Facebook employee
Though forthcoming, my friend was anxious to preserve her anonymity; Facebook employees, after all, know better than most the value of privacy. As she is not permitted to divulge company secrets, and would like to remain employed, her name has been omitted from this interview. It provides an interesting snapshot of the inner workings and culture of Facebook in the summer of 2009.

Future shock, adhocracy

Future shock
Toffler argues that society is undergoing an enormous structural change, a revolution from an industrial society to a “super-industrial society”. This change will overwhelm people, the accelerated rate of technological and social change leaving them disconnected and suffering from “shattering stress and disorientation” – future shocked. Toffler stated that the majority of social problems were symptoms of the future shock. In his discussion of the components of such shock, he also coined the term information overload.

Adhocracy
[A]dhocracies will get more common and are likely to replace bureaucracy. … Downsides of adhocracies can include “half-baked actions”, personnel problems stemming from organization’s temporary nature, extremism in suggested or undertaken actions, and threats to democracy and legality rising from adhocracy’s often low-key profile. To address those problems, researches in adhocracy suggest a model merging adhocracy and bureaucracy, the bureau-adhocracy.

Keeping busy

Current ISMS projects at Anglia Ruskin University

Anglia Ruskin University looks to have a very smart, comprehensive, well-resourced project office within its IT Services section. I’m very jealous of its Current Projects page, especially the E-Administration Programme. Some great project management / presentation ideas there.

100 terrific productivity tools for the bored or unemployed
Whether you’re bored out of your mind at the office or don’t have an office to go to, there’s no reason to sit around idly when there’s so much you could potentially be getting done. With the web at your fingertips, you can find numerous ways to keep your mind and body engaged and active. These 100 tools will help you get busy doing just about anything from organizing your DVD collection to planning your potential future, giving you no excuse to be bored or unemployed for long.

A love of lists

Times Higher Ed Book of the week: The Infinity of Lists, Umberto Eco
And if you think the previous sentences were a little clogged, repetitive, extravagant, wasteful, prodigal, lavish or over-egged, then it is just possible that this is not the book for you. To anyone, however, who takes pleasure, delight, joy, gladness, glee, satisfaction, gratification, contentment, enjoyment or amusement in contemplating excess, it may be just the ticket, pass, authorisation, permit, token, coupon or voucher.

Meditation, 2009 blogs

Stepping towards enlightenment
The mind can do wonderful and unexpected things. Meditators who are having a difficult time achieving a peaceful state of mind sometimes start thinking, “Here we go again, another hour of frustration.” But often something strange happens; although they are anticipating failure, they reach a very peaceful meditative state. My first meditation teacher told me that there is no such thing as a bad meditation. He was right. During the difficult meditations you build up your strength, which creates meditation for peace. We may want to spend much time—months or even years—developing just these first two preliminary stages, because if we can reach this point, we have come a long way indeed in our meditation. In that silent awareness of “just now,” we experience much peace, joy, and consequent wisdom.

Best new blogs of 2009
Editors Kevin Nguyen and Nick Martens and fellow bloggers talk about the latest and greatest additions to their RSS readers.

Paperless meetings, urban meditation

Paperless Committee project
The “Paperless Committee,” is an electronic meeting system that was designed to increase the efficiency of the Committee on NGOs. It allows the delegates to view the documentation in all six languages of the UN; to have continuous document updates from the Chair and the Secretariat, wireless connectivity, and electronic vote counting. In the last stage of the “Paperless Committee,” the documents were also accessible for the delegates to view via the Internet days before the Committee on NGOs started.

From 2003.

Urban meditation designed for you – The Hear and Now Project
Many of us could do with the benefits that come with regularly practising meditation – as it can help develop qualities such as calm, focus and compassion. And perhaps nowhere are these qualities needed more than in the hustle and bustle of modern city life.

Managing time, visualising proportions

Testing time-management strategies
I asked a half-dozen executive coaches to help me pick the most widely used time-management systems—not just software tools or high-tech to-do lists, but behavioral-change techniques that help people get organized, clarify thinking and increase output. Then, I tried out for a week each of the three methods they mentioned most often—including one that involved a ticking plastic tomato.

The Pomodoro Technique™
The Pomodoro Technique™ is a way to get the most out of time management. Turn time into a valuable ally to accomplish what we want to do and chart continuous improvement in the way we do it.

Anything that uses lists, little boxes, ‘x’s and apostrophe markers can only be a good thing, right?

9 ways to visualize proportions – a guide
With all the visualization options out there, it can be hard to figure out what graph or chart suits your data best. This is a guide to make your decision easier for one particular type of data: proportions.

The pie, the donut, the stacked area, the stacked bar, the treemap, the voronoi, the nightingale (my new favourite) and the everything, all with links to real-world examples.

HE technology, Eco’s lists

Higher Education in a Web 2.0 World
Supported by the principal bodies and agencies in UK post-compulsory education, the Committee was set up in February 2008 to conduct an independent inquiry into the strategic and policy implications for higher education of the experience and expectations of learners in the light of their increasing use of the newest technologies.

SPIEGEL Interview with Umberto Eco: ‘We Like Lists Because We Don’t Want to Die’
The list is the origin of culture. It’s part of the history of art and literature. What does culture want? To make infinity comprehensible. It also wants to create order — not always, but often. And how, as a human being, does one face infinity? How does one attempt to grasp the incomprehensible? Through lists, through catalogs, through collections in museums and through encyclopedias and dictionaries.