Webinar: Tips to enhance your researcher’s productivity

A library dean will discuss strategies for librarians to guide users to reliable scholarly content, followed by a ScienceDirect product manager who will highligh product innovations and time-saving tips.

Source: Webinar: March 4 | Tips to enhance your researcher’s productivity


See how easy it is to keep track of things

In my line of work, there are just too many things to keep track.  Among them are meetings, project datelines, notes, troubleshooting issues, expiration dates of e-resources, renewal dates, license agreements, metadata issues, access questions, ebook/e-journal requests,   … the list keeps going on.

How do I keep track of all these?  One of the first methods that I used was noting down in a little notebook followed by pasting 3M post-its on my table, computer screens, coffee mugs … and anything else that I can use to stick those post-its.  I would not say that writing down and post-its are not productive/efficient.  They do. But as the list keeps growing at an alarming rate, I realized that I needed something more dynamic and robust to keep track the various projects, tasks routines as well as other miscellaneous stuff.

I tried to use different notebooks for various projects, daily routines and the like but it would be too troublesome and I could build a big library keeping all those notebooks. (I’d rather keep one journal to note down the daily happenings in my life).  I needed something that could allow me to see everything on one page at a single glance.   That’s when I discovered the following 3 cloud services while trawling the internet for answers.

  • Evernote

    How this tool has helped me:

    • Keep all my critical notes by different category.  I can easily organize all my notes under different headers.   For example, I could slot several notes on electronic resources such as important IP ranges, Proxy information, useful tips and so forth under Electronic Resources.
    • Organize all my ideas, thoughts and suggestions in a single place.  These items could be stuff to write about any potential conference(s), training topics, improving workflows/procedures or even paper for submission to journal(s).
    • Import any significant Outlook emails into Evernote for future references.  So instead of searching/browsing those emails in Outlook, I can extract them into Evernote and save them under different headings.
    • Keep interesting presentation slides and make side notes on them.
    • Clip interesting articles on the Internet and convert them into Evernote notes.  I can then read these articles at a later time.
    • More info can be found here.
  • Trello

    (I got to know this while on a study visit to Duke University. I met the Head of the Acquisitions team who showed me how easy it was to track their purchases using Trello).  How this tool has helped me:

    • Organize different tasks for separate projects under one roof.  I can create multiple ‘boards’ to store various functions.  I can then monitor the progress of each of these tasks.
    • Control tasks that I have delegated to other team members.  I can track and check if there is a backlog.
    • Attaching file from DropBox or other places to the task(s) that I have created.  In this way, I do not have to toggle the different apps while looking for some information.
    • Create checklists and due dates for various tasks.
    • Import Outlook emails and embed them into a task.
    • Check this site for a tour of Trello.
  • DropBox

    • Save my documents (pdf, ppt, doc, Xls and much more) in the cloud.  I can retrieve them later wherever I am (need Internet connection).
    • Save the space on my laptop/desktop
    • Access on different mobile devices.
    • Info on Dropbox.

What about you? What tool(s) work for you and what doesn’t?

Managing tasks with ‘disruptive’ technology

This may sound cliche: I am swamped with project work, routine tasks, meetings, supervision work…and the list goes on.  I have tried a number of methods: from pen and paper, MS Outlook folder and other productivity tools to help me keep track of stuff.  One such tool that has helped me so far is Trello.

There are a number of Trello features that contribute to this.  Here’s one of Trello’s feature: (Oh for those who would like to know more about Trello, here’s a link to guide you.)

Delegate a task via email and with the help of Trello, get it ‘pushed’ into your ToDo Board.

Here’s how my Trello board looks like:


Suppose if I need to email and delegate a task to another staff, I’ll open MS OutLook and begin writing the email.  Once completed, here’s what I do:

  1. Open my Trello ToDo board. Locate the Show Menu (somewhere near the top right of the screen) and click on it.
  2. Click More and “Email-to-board” settings.
  3. Ensure the Cards appear in the correct Column:
  4. Copy and paste the “Email Address for Board” into your BCC field of the email.
  5. If successfully executed, the email should appear under the correct column.

Hope this simple stuff helps.

Useful Links: