3 steps to getting things done and staying sane

timeFliessmYup, I used to be a bad planner and learned the hard way that to avoid insanity (and stress), I really needed to plan my work well.

The definition of insanity is to keep doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results. While I haven’t conquered this demon completely, at least I stay sane (most of the time).

If you’re continually running late on projects and can’t seem to dig your way out of your to-do list, it’s time to make some changes!

Here are the 3 steps to getting things done I learned on the way to sanity.

  1. First, plan like a pro – break things down into small, tangible tasks with realistic (not idealistic) time estimates
  2. Make the planning visual – schedule your tasks as appointments in your calendar
  3. Get to work – what to do when your motivation is low

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A Video Intro to Image & Video Quality Assessment

Recently my fellow students and I were asked to prepare videos to help promote the various master’s thesis topics available in our research group. Usually we promote the topics with (probably boring) Powerpoint presentations, so this was an interesting opportunity.

Still, I was initially annoyed that I had to take time out of my already very busy week to do this, and it was time-consuming — but I had so much fun developing and preparing the video that I would definitely do it again!

My research is on image and video quality assessment methods, so that’s the topic of the video. Watch it for yourself and leave a comment if you find it interesting or informative. One person reported issues with the volume of the music, so I’d be interested on your feedback on the music levels. The first 10 seconds are a bit boring, but it gets better after the title slide, so keep watching! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Ironically, the video was prepared and recorded in Powerpoint. I added the music track afterwards with another program. Thanks to my colleagues Benhur Ortiz and Ljiljana Platiลกa for their feedback on draft versions and for providing some of the materials in the video.


Configuring Scrivener to output LaTeX

Write here, write now. Scrivener.The previous post explained why I fell in love with Scrivener for writing journal papers.

Latex logoThis post explains my Scrivener + LaTeX workflow and how I configured Scrivener to output LaTeX.

Edit 25 May 2016: As indicated in the comments below, I no longer use this workflow (which requires MMD). It just got too complicated. I now write the Scrivener manuscript directly in latex and then compile as a text file, which I then compile to latex using my favorite tex editor. This procedure bypasses MMD completely. I’d love to be able to use Scrivener + MMD the way it was intended – compile the same file to any format I want… at least RTF and Tex…*and* have citations, tables, figures, and equations numbered and referenced correctly . Tips welcome. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Scribing scholarly scrolls with Scrivener

Write here, write now. Scrivener.

I recently started using Scrivener to scribe scholarly scrolls – er, write journal papers – and fell in love with it 15 minutes into the tutorial (thanks for the tip Thesis Whisperer!). In fact, I might be getting addicted to it…

Scribe image

Scribing back in the day
(Jean Le Tavernier via Wikimedia Commons)

This post talks about why Scrivener is so awesome*.

Read the next post for information on configuring Scrivener to work with LaTeX.

* I realize that this post sounds suspiciously like an infomercial (since a Scrivener license costs $40 at the moment). It’s just a really, really great tool for writing. You should definitely try the 30-day trial to see it in action yourself. I’m not affiliated with them and I don’t make any money from this post.

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An Abnormal Flu

sickIn the abnormal spirit of this blog, this short post is about abnormal (atypical) flu symptoms.

I’ve been dragging around the house for over a week, feeling like I’m almost about to come down with a really bad case of the flu, but not quite. I have many of the main symptoms: shivering and chills without fever, aches, and severe fatigue, as well as high heart rate, swollen lymph nodes, and feeling generally crappy enough to visit the doctor (and sleep all day), but I haven’t had any of the respiratory symptoms.

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#resolution #2015: less Perfectionism?

I’m jumping on the bandwagon this year and making a New Year’s #resolution, even though I think they’re kind of silly.


Change isn’t easy. Often when we try to change, we just end up not changing, and instead feel guilty. Not fun. Not productive.

Then again, bad habits can be unproductive too.

So this year, I’m gonna resolve to be a little less perfectionist.

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Converting LaTeX to Word โ€“ part 3 (Pandoc revisited)

In part 1 of Converting LaTeX to Word, I explained how I used Pandoc to convert from LaTeX to Word (doc, docx, RTF), but there were problems getting figure reference numbers to show up, because by default Pandoc cannot handle automatic numbering and referencing of figures like Latex can.ย  The [pandoc-reference-filter] package was written to solve this problem.

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Converting LaTeX to Word – part 2 (LaTeX2RTF)

In my last post, I explained how I used Pandoc to convert from LaTeX to Word (doc, docx) and Word-compatible (RTF) formats, but I had some issues with getting figure references and numbers to show up. Today I’ll explain how to use a nice program called LaTeX2RTF to achieve similar results and get everything to show up more or less as intended. This is Part 2 in the continuing saga. Part 3 (sometime in the future) will come back to Pandoc.

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