Photo of Charles Darwin

Dealing with Darwin Days

In 1861, Charles Darwin wrote in a letter: “But I am very poorly today and very stupid and hate everybody and everything.” Ever had a Darwin Day? Yep, me too. It’s frustrating when we’ve put aside some time for deep work, then our brain refuses to cooperate. There are a few options to consider, though: …

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Three of the Best Tools for Transcribing Interviews

It’s fun doing interviews, but who actually likes transcribing them afterwards? The novelty wears off after about 5 minutes. Unless you’re a fast and accurate typist, this activity is also incredibly time-consuming. Fortunately, it’s now possible to get near-perfect transcripts at a very low cost. In my previous post, I explained how you could use …

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Organising and Annotating Research Photos with Tropy

If you’ve been rummaging in the archives, you probably have a lot of digital images. They can be quite tricky to manage, especially when you’ve got more than a few dozen. Although tools like Zotero are great for bibliographic data, they’re not really suited to archival material. Fortunately, the Zotero developers have also created Tropy. …

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Protecting Your Assets by Backing Up

Laptops get stolen, memory sticks seldom survive an accidental boil wash (I’m on my third), and Word can be relied upon to corrupt your most important document. Unfortunately, most of us don’t realise the importance of backing up until it’s too late. If you’ve spent many years working on a research project, then your data …

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How Tomatoes Can Help you Finish Your PhD

It’s no exaggeration to claim that my PhD was completely transformed by the Pomodoro Technique. I still use it most weeks, and talk about it almost daily. If you’re not familiar with it, hold tight. Pomodoro is Italian for tomato, and it refers to those novelty tomato-shaped kitchen timers. Here’s what you do: Choose a …

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Hands-free Writing with Dictation Tools

Could you finish your book or thesis without actually writing anything? Probably not, unless you can afford to hire a scribe. It’s possible, though, to reduce the amount of time you spend typing and slumped at your desk. Trying to extract three-dimensional ideas from our heads and into linear words is tough, even at the …

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Tools to improve your writing productivity

Peruse almost any book about writing and it’ll tell you to just get on with it. That’s easy said than done, of course. Most of us find there’s something desperately important that has to be done first: checking email, talking to the cat, or cleaning the oven. Although I’ve never resorted to procrastinatory housework, one …

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