Recent Posts

Mastering Your Workflow

in Faculty, Graduate Students, Higher Education

“Boy, that was an amorphous blob of undoability!” That’s what one of David Allen’s seminar participants told him about her to-do lists. I’m great at making these, and you probably are, too. The problem is that we’re usually smushing together a bunch of tasks into single amorphous blobs like “work on my dissertation” or “gather literature for that paper I’m […]

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What is the Most Important Thing You Could be Doing Right Now?

in Faculty, Graduate Students, Higher Education

Every day you get exactly the same number of hours. What do you do with them? How do you focus on the most important things on your To Do lists? How do you know those are the most important? Here’s an exercise: 1. What did you do in the sixty minutes before you read this post? 2. Was it the […]

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Sometimes That Seemingly Important Thing Can Wait Until Tomorrow

in Faculty, Graduate Students, Higher Education

There are some days when you need to keep your nose to the grindstone and move your research and teaching forward. There are other days when you do need to say “you know what? I can do this tomorrow. I’m going to close up shop and spend the rest of the morning playing ‘Mr. Potato Head’ with the baby.” That’s why […]

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The Battle Between Breadth and Depth in Creating a Course (or Syllabus)

in Faculty, Graduate Students, Higher Education

I am currently in the throes of creating two undergraduate courses for next semester – one on school choice, and the other on the politics of American education. In so doing, I am coming up against the (probably) age-old challenge of course creation: finding an appropriate balance between breadth and depth of material. Do I cover many topics that I […]

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IHS Academic Productivity Bookshelf: Getting Things Done, Part 1

in Faculty, Graduate Students, Higher Education

David Allen’s Getting Things Done is one of the most popular books in the personal productivity genre. It has sold millions of copies and turned Allen into something of a luminary or guru among executives, academics, and pretty much anyone really interested in getting better. Indeed, Jason Womack, my co-presenter in this past summer’s “Get Momentum” course through IHS and […]

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Podcast: Kevin Gutzman – James Madison and the Making of America

in Faculty, Graduate Students, Media, Publishing, Scholarship

IHS History Program Officer Phil Magness recently talked with historian and New York Times Bestselling author Kevin R.C. Gutzman about his most recent book, James Madison and the Making of America. In the book, Dr. Gutzman provides voluminous documentation of Madison’s career and the role he played in some of early America’s most formative years.

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Walking, Chewing Bubble Gum, and Texting

in Faculty, Graduate Students, Higher Education

I’m not very good at resting. Neither are most people in my circles. A lot of us operate under the illusion that we can multitask effectively, but as I understand the evidence, we can’t. Distraction reduces focus and therefore means that while we might produce “more” in some sense, we’re producing more mediocrity and less excellence. Here’s one way this […]

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Podcast: Erik Angner and Behavioral Economics

in Faculty, Graduate Students, Media

Erik Angner, George Mason University Associate Professor of Philosophy, Economics, and Public Policy, stopped by the office to talk with IHS Philosophy Program Officer Bill Glod about behavioral economics, happiness, the intersection of philosophy and economics, and his new undergraduate Philosophy, Politics, and Economics project at GMU.

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Why Am I Doing This? Or, Centering Yourself Again: Inspired By James Altucher’s “Choose Yourself”

in Faculty, Graduate Students, Higher Education

I first met James Altucher in the green room at Fox Business when I was preparing for my first appearance on Stossel (I’ve made two, so don’t think that’s super-impressive). Recently, a friend tweeted one of his articles, and I started following his blog. That led me to his new book, Choose Yourself, which I had trouble putting down. In […]

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Productivity Bookshelf: YBJGB Chapter 10 and Conclusion–Practice Makes..

in Faculty, Graduate Students, Higher Education

Jason Womack concludes Your Best Just Got Better with a discussion of practice. You’re probably familiar with the saying “practice makes perfect,” but in reality, as Jason points out, practice doesn’t make perfect. Practice makes habit. Good practice creates good habits. Bad practice creates bad habits. So what do you practice? Do you check your email thirty times before you […]

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