Miguel Panao | Professor and Author

Finding ways to improve scientific writing and academic productivity.

Were we prepared for the digital revolution?

One of the most important lessons I learned while doing my Ph.D. was to take good care of preparing anything from an experiment to a presentation. When technologies emerged like the iPhone and iPad, I was fascinated and embraced the workflow they provided. But was I prepared for what came next?

Technologies not only shape our life but produce behavioral changes which lead to unexpected cultural changes. By definition, we are never prepared for the unexpected. Unless we grow in our awareness about our life. A designed life implies being conscious of the choices we make and whether they bring value or not to the way we live.

Although I was productive in my research field, I lived a drifted life. Whatever I needed to do I did, but I never thought about my long term goals, or habits until two years ago when I wanted my students to perform better and enjoy learning more, and realized my rhythms were a mess.

I wasn’t prepared for the time and attention social networking was consuming, the enormous amount of time commenting on blogs, several tv series I began following, watch films online all the time, and even playing games on the iPad late at night just to keep myself awake. I was completely unaware of what sleepless nights and too much screen time was doing to my body until I began experiencing anxiety attacks like I never thought possible.

Now, when I look around me in coffee shops, restaurants, bus stops, supermarket lines, in the street, is people constantly looking at that small screen thinking they’re making good use of their time, attention and health. I was just like that and now it makes me wonder. Were we prepared for this?

How can we prepare ourselves better?

The simplest answer coming to mind is this: pause, breathe and develop your learning mind.

The outcome is a greater awareness of the crossing between your quality of life (aka relational self) and cultural change.

With great awareness comes great power.

”With great power comes great responsibility.” (Spider-man Movie)

About Miguel Panao

I am a Professor at the University of Coimbra in Mechanical Engineering. I am also author of books in the fields of environmental ethics and Science and Religion. From the several research projects, this site is personal and dedicated to the search for the best approaches, tools, techniques to improve scientific productivity.

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