Of Project Managers and Academic Work

No sooner had I realised that a doctoral degree had a lot of work than I decided to go into the strange land of project managers. I obviously did not know what counted as a good one. So I gave a few things a good try. Here goes my grand evaluation of apps and websites:

Trello was my first attempt. I had tried it before and thought that it was one of those neat Kanban things that simply work well. Alas, it was a little too neat. I am one of those people who does need a lot more motivation. And while Trello works for a lot of people, I simply started creating cards and re-organizing them to suit my procrastinating. I did not get a lot done. My issue with Trello is that it lets you customize innumerable number of cards and keeping track of them, while adding tasks and lists and descriptions just becomes too tedious. Also, because of the neat Kanban system, it does not tell me, “WORK ON THIS FIRST, YOU DUMMY!” I realised I needed something waaay more simple… which is nice because on 14th Nov, The Verge said,

Basecamp has a free version now.

Basecamp made things a lot simpler. One can create To-Do lists that independently work [I often use lists like, “Reading List November” or “Reading List December”]. But what has worked for me is the limitation of things. Basecamp Personal lets you start only three projects, so there is some amount of focus that one needs. It also prompts you questions that you can customize; I have decided that I need a very basic “What are you going to do this week?”-sort of question because I get a bit lazy without stuff like that. It also has a dedicated tab for Files and Documents which is neat. Most of all, Basecamp’s site design has definitely played its part in convincing me. I have felt good about this for the last week.

And while online things are fine, I do appreciate a good paper version of everything. The Moleskine Pro Notebook has seemed like a good idea for that. Since I will have many “projects” and tasks in my head, keeping a notebook that is separate from my other notes (German notes, notes notes, etc.) and only dedicated to research stuff has made me feel more confident that I will be able to manage my workload. It has numbered pages and to-do sections which makes my project look/seem way more organized than it is in my head anyway.

I am curious about what do academics really use to manage projects and tasks… Turns out quite a few people use Trello. But for now, Trello has become something I use only because it is easy to create a page where everyone can contribute to a list of events, CfPs, et al. I am less certain of its productivity quotient.

Now for the recommendations:


Long Read: How liberalism became ‘the god that failed’ in eastern Europe

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