[Photo Spread] Book Annotating That’s Better over the Long Haul; Overcoming Distraction


I hope this post finds you well!

Below I share a photo spread. If you click on a picture, it will display the large photo viewer where you can see more details.

About the photos: The book annotation techniques on display in the photos have saved me SO MUCH time and helped me get the most out of my books and my reading. The photos depict how I take notes in books such that not only are the notes useful soon after they are taken (while still in the memory a bit), but they are useful months and years later.

The annotations are made and placed in such a way that I might not even have to open the book to know if it contains annotations leading to content that I need. And if I do determine to open the book, I can know to a high degree of certainty after skimming the Table of Contents or going to a select number of TABBED pages whether to keep with the book for my present needs or look elsewhere.

To close the post, below the photo spread I list four INCREDIBLY helpful (to me) links that lead to really great (to me) material that I’ve encountered over the past week or so. It didn’t feel right to “sit on them” without sharing. 😉 I hope you find something useful in one if not most of them. Please add your comments.

Well, back to thesising I go! Wishing you joy, clarity, and any breakthroughs you desire as you continue to squash effective tomatoes and cross off tasks toward reaching your milestones and crossing that finished line.Quote_DecideThatYouWantItMoreThanYouAreAfraidOfItWe’re going to get there! We are closer today than we were yesterday. Let’s do this! Solidarity vibes. 🙂

Please enjoy the photo gallery and links below.




Some Reads Perhaps Very Worth Your Time

  1. Distractions and Solutions posted at the (research) supervisor’s friend
  2. The Different Stages of the Writing Process posted at the Research Voodoo blog NOTE: The author recently enjoyed having one of her posts Freshly Pressed!
  3. Using English for Academic Purposes (a webguide for students in higher education) by Andy Gillett: This is a clear, illuminating, easy-and-even-fun-to-navigate website all about academic writing at higher levels. It’s the simplicity and CLARITY of the explanations, married with the diagrams, that strike me about this content. I’ll be back lots, I think.
  4. 6 Easy-to-Steal Rituals of Extremely Successful People posted at the Marc and Angel Hack Life blog

Beta Release of Scapple for Windows


So, Literature and Latte have recently released a beta version of Scapple for Windows (not Scrapple, but Scapple :)). (They had already released a Mac version.) I gave it a whirl this weekend. It’s similar to mindmapping, but freer. Here is … Continue reading

Reflections after One Month of Using Moovia: It’s a Keeper!!!

Update May 15, 2014: Below I review Moovia, which is a neat app. However, as of now I have moved on from Moovia: I use Liquid Planner (free, educational-use application) to maintain a dynamic reverse calendar for my thesis project, and I use Watership Planner (Windows PC; reduced, educational pricing) for my general task, process, and schedule management. Liquid Planner now allows for a Kanban board view, so it may “subsume” Moovia now, to a large extent. Still, check out Moovia if interested. It has nice features, as I discuss below. 🙂


Post Content

The app I review in this post is called “Moovia.” It’s super, super fluid and easy as alllllllll get out.

Here’s the link: https://www.moovia.com.

It’s a time saver and reclaimer for sure. Here’s why: The learning curve is ALMOST non-existent. It’s intuitive. You need only type in a handful of tasks at a time to get a lot out of it. And it creates momentum, gets you organized, and keeps you clear about your project. This saves time and reclaims time.

I UNDERSTAND APP-FATIGUE and OTHER CONCERNS: If you’re worried about using it to procrastinate and avoid work, well, this is a VERY IMPORTANT concern: You want to get done, and you know you best: Perhaps avoid Moovia and any new apps if you tend to do more work in the apps than on your project. For me, because my due date is fast approaching, project management is just that for me: it allows me to manage WORKING. And I work better and more as a result. If that’s not the case for you and apps are like fun but distracting playgrounds or toys . . . self-care and avoid! 🙂

So here’s a screen capture of mine from within Moovia a few weeks ago (if you click on it, you can enlarge it):


Here’s what I like and/or do with it:

  • It’s basically a private Facebook where you are the only person in it, but it is ALL ABOUT SIMPLE, SIMPLE, CLEAN PROJECT MANAGEMENT.
  • You can invite people in if you want, but I wouldn’t.
  • MOST HELPFUL: I have a reverse calendar on paper, and I just take a handful of those tasks at a time and put them into my Kanban board (i.e. a board where you put tasks into to-do, doing, done, issues columns). With one click, turn your Kanban board into a simple, sequenced TO-DO LIST. With another click, turn the list BACK INTO A KANBAN BOARD. Yay!
  • You can create as many WORKSPACES as you like. And you name each WORKSPACE.
  • For each WORKSPACE, you have a WALL, an IDEAS page, an EVENTS page, a DOCUMENTS page, a TASKS page (with the Kanban board that you can turn into a list and back into a Kanban board whenever you want), etc.
  • I use each WORKSPACE’S WALL to function the way a researcher’s journal would. It’s kind of like where I stash my reflections, changes in lines of thoughts, people’s useful tips, celebrations, victories, high’s, low’s, etc., etc. Of course, I still have a REAL, physical notebook that is my actual researcher’s journal.
  • When you create a new WORKSPACE, you get to decide whether your project has MILESTONES, or TASKS, or LIST ITEMS, or PHASES, or STORIES (a product development type project management thing), CYCLES, etc.
  • You can link in documents from your Google Drive.
  • The IDEAS page (one for each WORKSPACE) is GREAT!!! Here’s how it works: Add an idea. Click in the appropriate column to give the idea a name or description. Click in the appropriate column to can RANK the idea, identify how EFFORTFUL an idea it is or would be, etc. You can add a brainstorm page to the idea, you can click a button to turn the idea into a TASK (it simply goes directly into your Kanban board if you click that button).
  • If you need a Gantt chart, just click one button! If you need a burndown chart, just click one button!

NOTE: I hardly use the Documents page. I have a Google Drive in my Gmail account that’s organized: That suffices for me. I don’t see the point in linking those docs into Moovia. On the other hand, if my Google Drive was messy and unorganized and I couldn’t find stuff in it, then linking a Google Drive document to the appropriate Moovia WORSKPACE document page would have a use.


Of course, you don’t have to restrict the WORKSPACES to academics: I have one WORKSPACE for a book I’m trying to write. When I randomly get ideas for it, I just stash it there at the Wall or Ideas page for the  book’s WORSKPACE. I also have a PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT workspace and a DISSERTATION IDEAS workspace. This one is important, and I link documents, websites, and the like to it.


Best and cleanest task and project manager app I’ve ever seen.

Aside: Regarding time management in Moovia: You can record due dates, estimated time required, time invested. I only record due dates and skip the rest (don’t have the time! :P). I’ve requested integration of a Pomodoro app. The developers think it’s a great idea. Don’t know what that means as far as getting one.

The various ways I use it save me so much time and keep me so motivated . . . the efficiency and momentum more than make up for any time spent adding a task or idea. And after a while, I found myself putting less into Moovia and more scrolling pointedly for reminders, tasks, ideas that I’d already written so I could jump back to working.

It’s the most motivating (momentum-creating) thing in the world: I open it each morning to get started. I read my Wall page because there is where yesterday I wrote a note to myself about what to focus on tomorrow!

Speaking of the Wall: The Wall turns out to be more useful than I thought it would be:

  • For example, a PhinisheD member posted a tip about how to create great outlines. I copied and pasted it to my Moovia Wall. I had forgotten about. But when I scrolled through my Wall the other day, there it was! “Doi!” I thought. “Almost forgot!”
  • Another example: I have pasted PhinisheD people’s encouragement to my Wall. When I get down or lost, I scroll through my Moovia Wall, reading and nodding and shoring back up.

Well, I could go on and on and on but I’ve said enough. As I mentioned above, it’s super, super fluid and easy as alllllllll get out. Just wanted to share because using it has calmed my project management worries completely.

Conclusion: If you have a hard time “seeing and collecting it all in one big picture,” then a high-level outline + reverse calendar + thesis binder to hold completed drafts and such + Moovia is a pretty good combo, methinks!




A Lean, Accuracy-Centered 4-5 Program-Using Academic Workflow: The Digital Side . . . (Paper Side Post To Come Next Month!)

Greetings, all! I hope this post finds you well!

Every so often I hone my academic workflow. As far as I’m concerned, this comes with the territory, and it is important to sharpen the saw and increase in efficiency and accuracy. The workflow in the PDF shared below works for me for a good and relatively simple but accurate flow (as far as the DIGITAL side is concerned).

ASIDE: About the “sharpening the saw” metaphor: I learned of it from reading Stephen Covey’s books. The metaphor of “sharp­en­ing the saw” is sim­ple: It is coun­ter­pro­duc­tive to spend all of your time saw­ing and neglect­ing to sharpen the saw when a simple SHARPENING OF THE SAW could enable you to get the tree cut down in just a few strokes, saving TONS of effort and work and time in the process.

Number of programs involved in this particular configuration of the digital side of the academic researcher-writer’s workflow:

  1. Mendeley (There’s a FREE version. I use the paid version so that all of my PDFs and notes and annotations are backed up!)
  2. Google Scholar (a website that’s FREE to use)
  3. Citavi (There’s a FREE version that’s just as good as the paid one. The paid version simply allows more than 100 sources for each Citavi file. NOTE: Be sure to back up your Citavi file via the Citavi menu option to do so.)
  4. MS Word (not free)
  5. OPTIONAL: Scrivener (not free)
Image preview of the PDF
(please click it to view it in a new browser window where most browsers will allow you to enlarge it, often by clicking on it):

Please let me know if you have any questions about this workflow.

NOTE: I am aware that a Prezi with embedded video demonstration of each step in the flow chart would be awesome. Once I’m done thesis-sing, I hope to create such a Prezi! In the meanwhile, feel free to email me or post a question via the comment feature (simply click the “quote bubble” icon above to do so): I’ll answer any questions I can!

Wishing you PEACEFULNESS and ENJOYMENT in your academic work. Onwards and UPWARDS!!!



Video Series: 1.How YOU Filing? 2.Freewriting in OmmWriter; 3&4.Concept and Content Mapping in VUE 5.Preview: The EASE of Raw Drafting with Citavi

The videos in my latest post get lost amongst all the other discussion points. 🙂

Here are the videos, all by their lonesome.



I can’t think of a reason that a researcher-writer wouldn’t fall in love with Citavi. Citavi is the “star” of this “first” video I share below.

NOTE: I put the word “first” in quotes above because in this post I’m starting with the end in mind (a Stephen Covey strategy). To start I’m posting a VIDEO of the point of this series: to get to process of raw drafting. Of course, you don’t have to use Citavi to go from an outline to a raw draft. It’s simply unsurpassed regarding this capability, though, IMHO. 🙂

Note Card Making, Outlining, and Raw Drafting with Citavi

So that’s a preview of the END goal of the video series–of getting to the raw drafting stage. The makers of Citavi currently provide Citavi Free and Citavi Pro at http://www.citavi.com.

Below are the first four of seven steps in getting there (steps #5-7 to come in February, Lord willing!)

First Four Videos in My Academic Researching-Writing Digital Workflow

Video #1 in the series

How YOU Filing?: Computer file structuring that helps you WANT to make progress

Video #2 in the series

Just Maybe the Perfect Place to Freewrite: Introducing OmmWriter

Video #3 in the series

Oh, What a Difference a new VUE Can Make: From Freewrite to Concept Map

Video #4 in the series

Using VUE To Content Map

Or, How Mickey Is Getting Out From Under a Mass of Literature by Building Up To Her Literature Collection from Her VUE Conceptual Framework Concept Map

As always, thank you for visiting/watching, please feel free to post your comments/questions via the comment feature by clicking on the THOUGHT BUBBLE at the beginning of the post.

Happy researching!!!

“Love discipline, and she will love you back!”; Prewriting by CONTENT MAPPING with VUE; Lovely Quotes and Taglines



Happy New Year, fellow blossoming researchers!

I hope this post finds you well, and I hope that the beginning of the new year, though potentially hectic in some regards, is also filling you with fresh ideas and excitement.


This post contains:

  1. a discussion a major CAUSE of my reignited love affair with discipline and how good that’s been;
  2. VIDEO CLIPS of computer file structuring, freewriting, and the process of CONTENT MAPPING (a pre-writing task) in Tufts free V.U.E. computer program;
  3. a list of inspirational quotes I’ve encountered since joining Phinished.org.


Greetings, family!

Well, there are SO many good things to blog about that I can’t keep up with all we could discuss:

  • Of course there are always research-related applications: reference and task management tools such as those in Citavi and Mendeley; idea and knowledge management tools such us those in Citavi, V.U.E., and Mendeley; outlining tools such as those in Citavi, Scrivener, and V.U.E.; task management tools such as the Pomodairo program and Citavi; and the like.
  • Then there are the notions of MOTIVATION and MOMENTUM and COMMUNITY that are always wonderful to discuss.
  • Then there is the the topic of researcher disposition and skills—a topic about which I am learning more and more. It is fair to say that I have become an avid proponent of treating these skills and dispositions more explicitly and formally in graduate study programs.

And the list goes on!

I’ve decided, after all, to in this post share (1) the sentiments that have led me to update my researcher mantra to what it currently is, (2) a few videos about going from CONCEPT MAPPING to CONTENT MAPPING in V.U.E., and (3) Phinished.org quotes and taglines I’ve found particularly inspiring. If you find something in this post particularly helpful, please comment and/or pass it along!


My Phinished.org tagline, which contains my researcher’s identity statement, motto, and mantra, along with a ticker for my next major due date!. PLEASE CLICK ON IT TO READ IT.


POST TOPIC 1 OF 3: How the Christmas Day sermon “Tired of Doing Right” Reignited My Love Affair with Discipline

I was blessed to fly to Texas to enjoy Christmas with family and friends. While there, I was able to attend the church I attended from roughly the ages of 20 to 30 where Emmanuel White, Sr. is the minister.

The sermon he delivered: I have let people listen to it on CD, and one response was: “Best sermon I’ve heard—literally and honestly—in about 10 years.”

What was the sermon about? The title of it was “Tired of Doing Right.” Okay: So right off the bat, as researchers, I’m sure we could all just stop right there and talk for a minimum of an hour and half about what it means for the person who is tired of doing right. I won’t do that in print here (mischievous smile). Instead I’ll just say that the sermon, adapted from Galatians 6:9, was very funny and real and educational and helpful and insightful.

One of my BIGGEST take-aways from the sermon was that:

In  order to NOT grow weary in well-doing, in order to NOT grow tired of doing right—especially when the PAY-OFF is taking and just by nature will take a LOOOOOONG time—is to know that there is a DUE SEASON (a PARTICULAR time) during which you are slated to reap benefits, but only if you don’t let up on your commitment and intensity of effort.

Another MAJOR, MAJOR take-away from the lesson was this:

Joy, minister White said, comes from FULFILLMENT at having been PLEASING. (I, Mickey, would comment here that being pleasing to one’s own standards is probably a researcher disposition!) Happiness, though, is different. And we are aiming for JOY (though we have no problem with happiness, too!).

I want to view my research and research process work with joy, don’t you?

The sermon as a whole led me to the following change in heart:

I used to have a LOVE affair with being disciplined. With WORKING disciplined. What happened, exactly, to cause me to lose faith that if I just kept at it, the pay-off would come? No matter: It’s time to fall back in love with discipline again.

“Love discipline, and she will love you back!”

I think for me the problem has been this: Writing without understanding, just to get pages (and I had TONS), and then having to toss them (TONS) because they didn’t work because they were never well-conceived as part of some larger scheme.

Psychologically, having to toss scores of pages was a hit for me. It messed with my conception of payoff.

I now have learned this about myself as a researcher/writer: I need to respect pre-writing and free-writing MORE than anyone (including myself) wants to allow me to. I need to respect the place of pre-writing and free-writing in the life of the research writer, even when others are telling me to just throw some junk together. To be SURE there is a balance: There is the concept of “g’nuff” as we say at Phinished.org. But writing topically but aimlessly nonetheless? At this level of the game, it’s better to write from an an outline or something similar.

And that’s a perfect transition to my second topic in this post: CONTENT mapping (as a follow-up and back-and-forth process to CONCEPT mapping) in Tufts’s V.U.E. software program. Join me below!

POST TOPIC 2 OF 3: Videos of Me (Mickey) Using Tuft’s V.u.e. software To Concept Map and Begin Turning My Concept Map into a CONTENT Map

Drowning in the literature! That’s been my stall, as I’ve shared before at this blog. It’s not for lack of effort or work or sleepless, sometimes anxiety-filled early, EARLY mornings or late, LATE nights that I haven’t made more progress.

It’s having too much literature and not quite knowing how to manage.

Enter better file structuring and Tuft’s V.U.E. (along with OmmWriter and Citavi) to the rescue!

Below are the first videos in a series demonstrating how I am using awesome computer file structuring, OmmWriter, and V.U.E. to (begin to) structure a conceptual framework . . . by going from brainstorming CONCEPTS to adding literature I’ve collected. This process is yielding MUCH BETTER PROGRESS than my trying to build up from 600+ pieces of literature all at once. Yeah (headshake). I know. 😉

In subsequent posts, I hope to add the videos that would complete the series, including:

  1. a video demonstrating how to transition from a VUE content map to a sentential outline in Citavi;
  2. a video about how to attach quotes and thoughts and ideas to a Citavi outline; and lastly,
  3. a FULL(ER) video about how to export components of a quote-, thought-, and idea-laden Citavi outline to a TEXT FILE (MS Word or PDF) that is the basis for a RAW DRAFT

I think that would just about demonstrate the academic researcher-writer digital workflow that I have finally, finally, FINALLY been able to devise that really, REALLY works. (Phew, that’s been a doozy of a process for me!)

Anyway, below are:

  1. a preview video of what the final video of the series will entail: Going from an quote-laden Citavi-created outline to a raw draft of a paper; and
  2. the four videos about going from computer file structuring to freewriting in OmmWriter to concept mapping in VUE to content mapping in VUE.

I pray they’re helpful, informative, inspiring, or some combination thereof! If so, please share with others and let me know!


I can’t think of a reason that a researcher-writer wouldn’t fall in love with Citavi. Citavi is the “star” of this first video shared below.

Preview of the AIM of steps in this workflow: Creating a RAW DRAFT from an outline created in Citavi (which can then be revised and edited to be a final draft).

First Four Videos in This Academic Researching-Writing Digital Workflow

Video #1 in the series:

Video #2 in the series:

Video #3 in the series:

Video #4 in the series:

POST TOPIC 3 OF 3: Leaving You with a Bit of Inspiration Smile

I close out this post with a list of inspirational thoughts, quotes, and taglines I’ve encountered over the past few months. Onwards and upwards. I hope you enjoy. Open-mouthed smile

  • While one person hesitates because he feels inferior, the other is busy making mistakes and becoming superior.—Henry C. Link
  • But remember, the brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.–Randy Pausch
  • If you believe in what you are doing, then let nothing hold you up in your work. Much of the best work of the world has been done against seeming impossibilities. The thing is to get the work done.—Dale Carnegie
  • “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”–Mark Twain
  • Note to self: Stop whining and just do it! (a Phinished.org member)

And finally:

  • Be so good that they can’t ignore you.

If you enjoyed and gained something from this post, please share it and/or comment.

Happy researching and writing, all! We’re getting there, one work session at a time!