Project Management + Productivity Tools

Project Management + Productivity Tools

Presentation given at Steenbock Library BioCommons, UW-Madison, as part of my workshop series on digital scholarship topics for grad students and early career researchers. September 2015.


Brianna Marshall

September 24, 2015


  1. PROJECT! MANAGEMENT! PRODUCTIVITY! TOOLS! +! Brianna Marshall, UW-Madison Libraries! @notsosternlib

    | #uwECR!
  2. about me! Brianna Marshall! Digital Curation Coordinator, UW Libraries! Lead,

    Research Data Services! ! ü  Organizing stuff + making lists fanatically since childhood! ü  Recent graduate (MIS/MLS, 2014)! ü  Inexpert but curious productivity junkie! ü  Selfish reasons for wanting to give this talk…!
  3. what i’ll talk about today! An overview of systems, approaches,

    and tools for managing:     ü citations   ü writing   ü email   ü tasks  
  4. (because we’re all pretty stressed.)! Images courtesy of Flickr users

    saranv (CC BY) + seaternity (CC BY SA)
  5. Image courtesy of Flickr user mshipp (CC BY)

  6. no magic bullet, but there are ideas! Image courtesy of

    Flickr user disgruntella (CC BY NC)
  7. what i won’t talk about today! Every time management concept

    under the sun. Every productivity tool that could improve your life. Caveats •  Given limited time, I’ve chosen to mention things - even just briefly! - rather than forego them entirely •  My selections are inherently biased: by my interests, preferences, and things I’ve happened to come across •  Acknowledgment: Trying to find productivity answers can be its own productivity zapper
  8. hopes + dreams! you’ll be inspired by something I talk

    about today + put it into practice you’ll share your top productivity and project management hacks with us you’ll tell me what you want to know more about for future workshops! you’ll be reenergized enough by the topic to find something else that works for you and / or
  9. MANAGING TASKS + PROJECTS! systems, approaches, + tools!

  10. Photo used courtesy of Flickr user slice (CC BY NC

  11. how GTD works! According to Allen, it’s difficult for us

    to focus on big-picture things if we’re overwhelmed by our daily lives So: •  Think through tasks in advance to reduce front-end planning •  This frees up mental space to do the things you really care about (“horizons of focus”) •  Record actionable tasks GTD is a way of thinking about work that can be applied to many tools – and remixed with other approaches
  12. how GTD works! “Horizons of focus” 1)  Current actions 2) 

    Current projects 3)  Areas of responsibility 4)  1-2 year goals 5)  3-5 year goals 6)  Life

  14. None
  15. how trello works! •  Boards  >  lists  >  cards  

    •  Free!   •  Use  on  your  own  or  for  group  collabora9on   •  Op9on  of  private  or  public  boards   •  Use  on  the  web  or  through  apps   •  Highly  customizable  –  can  be  as  simple  or   detailed  as  you  need  
  16. example board (projects)!

  17. example board (tasks)!

  18. example card!

  19. productivity-is-a-tomato

  20. how the pomodoro technique works! Pomodoro = 25 minute period

    of time •  Use a timer to track one pomodoro •  Figure out how many pomodoros certain tasks take to complete •  Protect your pomodoros from internal and external interruptions •  Incorporate short, scheduled breaks •  Ultimately, plan your days using pomodoros [ ]
  21. still confused? watch this video.! [ ]


  23. how kanban works! 2 main rules: –  Visualize your work

    –  Limit your work in progress •  Makes processes transparent, so everyone knows what’s going on •  Uses post-its! (Good for visual thinkers) •  Helps combat overwhelming workloads + competing priorities
  24. kanban-board-illustration-9b1c1f74.jpg

  25. Image courtesy of Flickr user orcmid (CC BY)

  26. None
  27. how bullet journaling works! “I needed a system flexible enough

    to handle whatever I threw at it… and fast enough that it wouldn’t get in the way.” -Ryder, founder of Bullet Journal [ ]
  28. components of a bullet journal! •  Index •  Future log

    •  Monthly log •  Daily log “rapid-logging” allows you to capture tasks | events | notes using signifiers b3cf2ac47962727f0b63cc3d1968317f.jpg
  29. still confused? watch this video.! [ ]

  30. MANAGING YOUR INBOX! systems, approaches, + tools!

  31. Images courtesy of Flickr users malabooboo (CC BY NC), kevlar

    (BY NC ND), dpstyles (CC BY)
  32. Image courtesy of Flickr user fixedgear (CC BY NC SA)

    Image from @inboxzero on Twitter
  33. “It’s about how to reclaim your email, your attention, and

    your life. That “zero?” It’s not how many messages are in your inbox – it’s how much of your own brain is in that inbox. Especially when you don’t want it to be. That’s it.”! ! – Merlin Mann! [ ]
  34. aiming  for  inbox  zero   •  Just  dive  in  (especially

     if  things  have  been   piling  up  for  a  while)     •  U9lize  labels  and  folders!     •  Act  quickly     – Respond   – Delete   – Archive   – Create  a  to  do  /  next  ac9on   •  Unsubscribe  or  consolidate  subscrip9ons    
  35. consolidate your subscriptions! [ ]

  36. Image used courtesy of the Inbox Zero tumblr: stop

    checking email so much!
  37. MANAGING YOUR WRITING! systems, approaches, + tools!

  38. collaboration tools at UW!

  39. None
  40. scrivener! [ ]

  41. hemingway editor! [ ]

  42. [ ]

  43. format documents using overleaf! [ ]

  44. example overleaf template! [ ]

  45. MANAGING OTHER STUFF! systems, approaches, + tools!

  46. managing citations! [ ]

  47. managing passwords! [ ]

  48. passwords-dress-and-security-blanket/

  49. final thoughts on! Image courtesy of Flickr user smemon (CC

  50. start  with  a  problem   [ ]

  51. adapt + remix to fit your needs! Image courtesy of

    Flickr user skynoir (CC BY NC)
  52. make it a habit! Image used courtesy of Flickr user

    papayatreelimited (CC BY NC) [ read The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg! ]
  53. don’t chase the impossible! Image courtesy of Flickr user michaelloudon

    (CC BY NC ND)
  54. Image courtesy of Flickr user cdevers (CC BY NC ND)

  55. a few resources! •  Gradhacker •  Lifehacker •  99u • 

    Matt Might’s Hints, Tips, Tricks, and Hacks for Graduate Student Productivity •  Merlin Mann’s 43 Folders
  56. upcoming digital scholarship workshops! Crafting Your Digital Identity OCT 22

    Research Data Management + Sharing NOV 19 An Introduction to Open Research DEC 10 Steenbock Library BioCommons | 4-5pm
  57. BRIANNA MARSHALL! @notsosternlib!!