Get more productive!

It’s been quite a while since my last entry. I have mainly been quite busy working and been also away for summer holidays! I spent two weeks on Iceland which was a fantastic time, I even started writing a blog post about it but then the volcanic activity around Bardarbunga started and my Iceland experience suddenly sounded quite dull…

I have recently found two tools that make my life easier, both by talking to friends/stalking them, and I would like to recommend them here: Trello and RescueTime.
Writing up (erm, well more like being a 3rd year PhD student, still far away from actually writing up…) needs some good organising skills. And, at least in my experience, procrastination is one of the biggest enemies when it comes to writing. I am pretty sure I have spent whole days in the office doing nothing but surfing the Internet and checking for new emails…. And when you catch yourself reading the discussions that follow news article on Scottish independence for hours something might be wrong 😉

Replace the first line with: Are you doing work? Source:

Trello is a project management application which can help to increase your productivity (and it is free!). One can create different cards, check list and deadlines and move them from “To do” to “Doing” and finally to “Done”.  You can even share a project with other people! This way you can for example organise who should when write stuff on a paper. Here a snapshot of how Trello looks like:


My to do board in Trello. Yeah, I know, all my chapters have basically nothing in them…

RescueTime is an time-management application that lets you track you (PC and smartphone based) activities. It is a small software (I guess nowadays its called “app”) that you install on your computer and it records what kind of software you are using and how long you are using it. It also records on which website you are for how long. It is free and does not use your user data in harmful ways and you can completely delete you data whenever you want. For me RescueTime is a great way to track how much time I spent procrastinating. Nothing is more satisfying than seeing how few time you managed to spent on facebook & co! Here are a few images of what the statistics can tell you:


This is an overview of the productivity for a day. Red is bad, blue is good (mainly).


Here you can see how much time you spent doing what. You can give every software & website a label and tell how productive they are.


For each program/website you get detailed information when you used it.

Well, that’s it! Hope it can help you maximising your productivity 😉

Soon(ish) there will be another blog post about how to make conference posters, this time about how I created a poster. Thought I owe you guys that after I was slightly negative about other peoples work…


3 thoughts on “Get more productive!

  1. There is another one, similar to RescueTime which does the same, but also limits your useage of bad things (such as twitter, facebook and youtube) to a set limit per day. I can’t remember the name of it, but I have a chrome extension called Productivity Owl which does the same thing nearly.

    WriteorDie is another good one, particularly if you’re needing to concentrate with just writing draft thesis chapters/papers (I’d not recommend for finalising, as it pushes you to write rather than write properly)

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