Digital Media: Nichie Tries To Graduate: What I Do to Be A Productive Academic

I work hard, and in a pretty specific way. It's taken years to perfect a method of studying, and academic work that suits my needs, and...

I work hard, and in a pretty specific way. It's taken years to perfect a method of studying, and academic work that suits my needs, and personality and I'm pretty sure it's this type of work dynamic that I'm going to stick with well into future professional settings.

Post-its: There's something about overloading a tiny square of paper and sticking it to my wall that's oddly satisfying. I use post-its for essays outlines, literature reviews, reports, etc., mostly. On a post-it, I will write the title of my reference, a summary of the reference, and its category so that I can rearrange them according to my outline, and so that I can make my essay flow cohesively.
Dry-erase boards: The massive dry-erase boards are new editions. I have two, one near my work desk for long term to-do lists and goals, and one attached to the wall where my bed is for writing down notes that need to be transcribed digitally, like essay information. I placed it near my bed because 1.) I like to be comfortable when having to read books, and 2.) my bed has the largest surface area where I can place all my belongings.
My calendar and Course work to-do summary: I make sure to write all the things I need to do for the month at the beginning of every month, and I make sure to have a colour legend for every event. Red for school work due dates. Violet for family affairs. Orange for work, and so on. I also list down the courses I'm currently taking, and list the things that are due for the week. I make sure to place this near my door, and light switch so it is the first thing I see before I leave my room, before I sleep, once it's dark enough that I have to turn the light on, and when I enter my room again. It sets my goals.
Colours: Colours are an extremely important part of my work dynamic. Notes are written in different colours. I find it's easier to remember a formula if I had written it in a specific colour.
Since first year, I'd found that writing my exam in different colours is incredibly helpful. If I must list four things, I will write them either a different colour per-item, or a different colour for the heading and a different colour for the description. When I've finished answering a question, I also make sure to highlight the question with a bright colour so when I go over my test again, I can easily check which questions I haven't fully answered. I don't test very well, and I get incredibly anxious, so answering an exam in colour calms me down, and helps me remember answers in confidence.

Talk to your professor if you can do this. If your professor says no, ask for a valid reasoning. "Professional academic setting" is not a valid argument. Something should be said about the accessibility of your exams.

I'm not going to lie -I'm a fan of Google. I don't even care that Google borders on the edge of intrusive information gathering. Does it really upset you that they have the technology to do this, or does it just upset you that there are people out there who know you like to purchase certain... unquestionable items online? Don't lie -there are those of you out there; I don't want to start a debate. What I'm saying is, Google is pretty awesome for the academic.

Google Scholar: If you've got to write an essay, and you need scholarly articles, Google Scholar is pretty handy. It'll give you a bunch of available online sources -just make sure to cite everything properly!

Google Drive/Docs/Sheets/etc.: If you haven't taken advantage of Google Drive yet, or haven't even looked at it yet, go and check it out right now. I'll wait. Done? Isn't it amazing. 15GB of storage is more than enough for your multiple PSD files, final illustrations, Word Documents, Powerpoints, and Excel sheets -and the best part about it is that you don't even have to go into MSWord, or whichever relevant software. Google Docs/Sheets/Slides provides you with basically the same functionality without having to worry about losing your work, because it's all saved online in your Google Drive the moment you create your file. No more jittery CTRL+S fingers. #iLoveGoogle

Continuing the Google-fest, Google Chrome's got some pretty sweet extensions. I'm not a Firefox user, so I can't really say (and I hear there are workarounds wherein people can access your passwords from the Firefox cache), but Google Chrome has been working extremely well for me especially now that I've optimized it to suit my needs. Optimization, guys. It's not that hard.

Hacker Vision: If you were confused as to why my Google Drive's got its colours inverted, it's because I have Hacker Vision. I code. That's pretty much all you need to know about my work habits, and that I go long into the dark hours typing up code and reading documentation. The light text on a dark background provides some good relief for my eyeballs. (Also, check out Flux, if you don't have it.) Save your eyeballs!

Google Dictionary: This is an extremely useful extension that a friend of mine showed me -if your courses are anything like mine, most readings will be online. Google Dictionary lets you double click on a word and a little pop-up with its definition will show up.

Facebook Messenger: I hate Facebook. I hate the news feed. I hate looking at the site. I do enjoy the messenger system, though, so installed the Chrome extension for it. That way, I can still collaborate with my group members for projects, and stay away from the procrastination-toxicity that is the Facebook news feed.

That's a small part of my work dynamic. If you've got any to share, please do! I'm always open to trying out new methods to see what works for me.

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  1. You are SO organised, wow. Going to think about incorporating some of these, especially since i have a dry-erase board i don't really use.

  2. Interesting read! Hacker Vision + Flux is super soothing to the eyes. I`ve set my laptop to grayscale and with Flux, you get a sepia tone and I just love sepia <3 I have yet to use Scholar but I feel like it will soon be my best friend when I have to start writing papers and such. And can I just say that writing with coloured pens is so you? I love how personalized your works are and I guess the prof can`t say that it`s not fun correcting your exams.

  3. I love reading about people's organizational habits. Yours are wonderful! I'm really thinking of making a calendar similar to yours. I wish I was back in school again so I could try everything else out.


  4. Your room is likely to be a classroom! Haha, I love it! Maybe I'll start using post-it notes and journals to organize my schedule and things to review :)

    Kai // Kitty Journal (