Academic Lifehacker


Tools and ideas to improve academic efficiency

10 tips for keeping your desk clean and tidy

Tidy Desk by bripirie

I’m always a little suspicious of articles with titles like these: they usually seem to be written by those irritating people who naturally keep their desks clean and neat. It’s an in-born ability– they’re usually morning people, too.

However, the author of this one sounds like he’s been down in the trenches with the rest of us slobs creative folks. He says, “when I started wasting more and more time looking for lost items instead of being a brilliant creative person, I knew I had to do something.”

10 tips for keeping your desk clean and tidy
[ from LifeClever ]


Filed under: Advice, Files, Grad School, Motivation, Organization, Time Management



Caboodle is an organizer that collects random snippets of text or images. Pretty simple concept. But the interface is so orderly, and yet so versatile. I can already see how I’d use it for managing an upcoming research project… if I had a Mac.

Found via the ever-helpful Lifehacker, this is enough to give me a relapse of Mac-envy.

Filed under: Computer, Files, Mac, Organization, Research, Software, Tools

AcademHack roundup

AcademHack offers great lifehacking resources for academics (and has an exceptionally clever title, to boot). It was one of the blogs that inspired me to start this one, and I read it regularly.

I wanted to make a roundup of my favourite AcademHack posts to date. Though AcademHack is Mac-centric, there are still plenty of helpful posts for those running Windows (such as myself).

Alternatives to Microsoft Word
Finding a Journal: WorldCat
Checking the Web: Scrutinize This
Avoid Site Registration: BugMeNot Firefox Extension
WorldCat goes Public: Search the Web for any Book
Wiki Notepad Applications for PCs
Top Ten Academic Applications
Top Ten Academic Applications for Students

Filed under: AcademHack, Academia, Computer, Files, Online, Organization, Research, Software, Time Management, Tools, Web

Anxiously awaiting Firefox Scholar

Firefox Scholar
I am anxiously awaiting the beta launch of Firefox Scholar. At the moment, there’s simply a basic description of the software to tantalize us. The Q&A on Firefox Scholar over at Dan Cohen’s blog just whets the appetite a little bit more.

Filed under: Academia, Computer, Files, Online, Organization, Research, Software, Tools

Can’t Live Without It: Backpack

Backpack Logo

I signed up for a free Backpack account about six months ago. Since then, I’ve quickly come to rely on it. Why? It’s simple, it’s reliable, and it works for me. Backpack is an app from the lovely people at 37 Signals.

What is it? An online file/note organizer. I use it as a way to organize all that stray but vital information that gets scribbled down on sticky notes. I’m also considering its possibilities as a research organizer.

How much does it cost? I currently use the free plan, but they do have some tempting paid plans with nice extras that start at $5/month.

Where do I get it? Visit

Addendum: I did end up upgrading to the Solo plan, which includes more pages than I’ll ever need, as well as a slick Calendar app which has quickly made itself indispensable.

Filed under: Can't Live Without It, Computer, Files, Online, Organization, Research, Tools

Welcome to Academic Lifehacker

Welcome to Academic Lifehacker. This blog is inspired by the spirit of Lifehacker, but has a slightly more specific goal: passing on lifehacks of particular interest to those working in academia.

To explain a bit further, I quote from the inaugural post of Lifehacker: “[This is] what Lifehacker’s about: the endless possibilities of technology and how it can improve our lives. Lifehacker points out software, sites, tips and tricks that help you get things done, plain and simple.”

Academic Lifehacker began as a way to organize helpful hints, tips, and tools from various sites. I figured, if it helps me, it might help someone else. And even if it doesn’t– well, it’s easier than tracking this stuff with bookmarks.

Filed under: Announcements


Academic Lifehacker provides hints, tips, tools, and software recommendations for scholars, graduate students, and researchers.