Miguel Panao | Professor and Author

Finding ways to improve scientific writing and academic productivity.

How can you apply the Law of Productivity to research?

The Law of Productivity I found in Cal Newport’s “Deep Work” is simple. ‘High-Quality Work’ = ‘Time-spent’ x ‘Ability-to-focus’ Thus, if what you need to do takes some time, the amount of focus or concentration allows you to perform other tasks. But in most cases, Time is short. Therefore, you need to be highly focused […]

Overcoming a perfectionist procrastinating self

Knowledge workers have more things to do than you might think. Scientific articles, progress reports, conference papers and presentations, and – obviously – the research supporting all that. However, since thinking about the science we develop is hard and demanding, and unless you develop the ability to laser focus, you most likely procrastinate. But there […]

“Thank you for your attention.”

I’m at a conference and what most authors say in the end is this sentence. And I wonder if people were, in fact, paying attention. Honestly, most were, especially the senior researchers and experts, but a few were distracted or searching to overcome boredom. I understand both and acknowledge that those experiencing boredom face the […]

The two arts you develop while attending a conference

How can you make the most of a conference you’re attending? You listen and interact. However, most people are with their laptops checking email, reading papers, or preparing their presentation. Other people use tablets instead. And occasionally you see people with their smartphone sending messages or getting dopamine through social networks. Art of Listening Listening is […]

Smartphone Attention Disorder or SAD

A new field of research is the impact smartphones have on our social lives. One of the primary impacts is on our ability to pay attention because it consumes too much of ours. Namely, whenever people get bored while listening to someone in a seminar, for example, picking up their smartphone is becoming the most […]

Exercises to develop the willpower muscle of scientific writing

Writing a scientific paper when you have the results takes willpower. It’s not easy to put what you’ve done into words, and clear enough that others may reproduce what you did. It takes also time, and if you have other commitments because you work at a company or teach, its competing with them. But willpower […]

The Transition Effect – the reason why we accumulate work and the cycle to solve the problem

In a previous article, I reflected on what to do when work accumulates and suggested we be patient, value our efforts and keep our eyes on the goal. And recently, I read this article in Harvard Business Review explaining the accumulation of work as the result of a “transition effect.” In practice, our work accumulates […]

Struggling with time? Me too.

Lately, I’ve been struggling with time. But it’s impossible to go against it because “he” doesn’t seem to stop. Time keeps moving forward, and all we can do is try to catch up. The challenge is to find the wave and the right way to surf it. Every task takes time. In some occasions, you […]

What can you do to overcome the crisis of accumulating research work

How can you be productive when work accumulates, the need for scheduling meetings continues, plus some additional formation you’re asked to take, classes, thesis supervision, projects, family commitments and the list continues. You begin to list what to do, and soon realize you’re lost in what remains to do. You could procrastinate, and that is […]

What are the most essential tips for scientific writing?

A few days ago, I received an email for Wiley Publishers pointing to a document containing 10 Essential writing tips for engineers. Some of those tips concern other aspects of a researcher’s presentation of his work – conferences, keynotes, tips for the slides, etc. -, which does not involve writing. However, there are three writing […]