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3 March 2013

A productivity primer for higher education administrators

by Steven B. Combs, Ph.D.
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We conduct cabinet meetings on our campus each Monday. Our Chancellor develops the agenda and leads these discussions between our regional academic administrators. Typically these meetings are a simple sharing of information between our team leaders. On occasion we invite college and community leaders to meet with the team to understand important initiatives.

A unique twist is that once a month, the Chancellor asks a cabinet member to provide a professional development activity. The cabinet member does not have to personally conduct the activity. They can farm it out to someone on their team or bring in someone from the community. This month, the task falls to me.

While I have a large number of faculty on our Academic Affairs team that I can ask to lead a session, given that I am new to the cabinet, I felt it appropriate that I take my turn at bat. Folks who know me can probably predict the topic of my presentation (or have read the title of this post). I have this odd obsession. I constantly refine my productivity workflow. I’ve gone through a countless number of tools and processes to find a system that works for me in my given environment.

During my presentation I share some tools to get my fellow administrators thinking about their own productivity workflow. There is not a one-size fits all solution. Everyone has their own specific needs. My presentation provides some simple and advanced tools for consideration. It’s an eclectic mix. You can check out my slides and links to all the tools I mention below.

The title of my presentation is Productivity Tools Primer. The focus of the presentation is two-fold. This presentation is around 30 minutes and was presented to the cabinet on March 4th, 2013.

As a primer, I quickly provide a bunch of tools I find useful day-in and day-out. I have many other tools I would love to share, but with only 30 minutes, I focus on the obvious and then discuss a couple of concepts that most likely none of the cabinet will use. My intention is not to encourage them to use these tools, but rather to consider other advanced options.

Obviously, a review of the slides and the links below are not enough for readers of this blog post to glean all concepts. For that you need to hear the entire presentation. If you are interested in an expanded presentation let me know.


Slide 1 - Title

Slide 2 - Get a System

Slide 3 - Inbox Zero

Slide 4 - Evernote Web

Slide 5 - Evernote Computer

Slide 6 - Evernote Mobile

Slide 7 - Evernote Extension

Slide 10 - Evernote Trunk

Slide 11 - Evernote Notebook

Slide 12 - Freemium/Premium?

Slide 13 - Pocket on the Web

Slide 14 - Pocket Apps

Slide 15 - RSS Feeds

Slide 16 - Find a Feed

Slide 17 - Google Drive

Slide 18 - Waze (Social Nav)

Slide 19 - Plain Text

Slide 20 - Markdown

Slide 21 - Addendum


See something useful in the slides and/or the list above? Want to add your own productivity tips to assist my fellow higher education administrators? Drop a comment below. I’m always looking for new ideas.

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