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Tools of the Trade

Academia, like any other line of work, requires having the right tools for the job. Over the years, the following programs, apps, extensions, etc. have helped me work more efficiently and effectively.



Papers – I use papers to organize academic literature. It is easy to find and organize  articles as well as take notes, highlight etc when viewing. It also automatically inserts and format citations into word documents. Not free and has had some bugs, but works for me.


RescueTime -  This free app tracks how much time you spend on applications and websites giving you a productivity score for each day and week. It is really helpful for understanding for how much time is spent on email vs writing etc.


Stay Focusd – This chrome extension restricts the amount of time spent on websites in a given day. I give myself 15 minutes for all social media, and most news between 8 am and 5 pm every weekday


The Great Suspender – This chrome extension is great if you like having multiple tabs open. If not active for awhile it temporary suspends a tab saving precious memory.


Boomerang – This gmail extension allows you send emails at a later time or reminds you if you haven’t received a reply within a given amount of time.


L@TeX/Overleaf/TeXshop - In learning L@TeX overleaf has been helpful in learning the script and helping with collaboration. I have no particular attachment to TeXshop but have used it with success.


Pomotodo – When writing is excruciating, a few pomodoros (25 minutes of intense work, followed by a 5 minute break) are helpful for getting on track. This is one of many apps that will time pomodoros for you, but also lets you track which activity you are doing.


Datacamp – Best online R instruction I’ve found. Datacamp has been particularly helpful for understanding the "grammar" of coding in R. 

Contact me if you have other suggestions. I'm always looking for new ideas. 

A shot from the past: Having the best tool is important for every job. For wildland firefighting that means a hard hat, nomex, chaps, leather gloves, boots, and a big chainsaw.

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