Life & Academia

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Mastering the Eisenhower Matrix for Increased Productivity and Success

Dwight Eisenhower, president of the United States from 1953 to 1961, had a passion for productivity. His strategy to use what we know today as the Eisenhower Matrix as a decision-making tool helped him in his quest to get more done in work and life. Although he achieved numerous accolades in his professional life, he still had time to pursue hobbies such as oil painting and golf. Let’s see what we can learn from this strategy.


The Eisenhower Matrix, also called the Urgent-Important Matrix, an…

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7 To-Do List Myths DEBUNKED: The SECRETS to Making To-Do Lists Work

In this blog post, we'll tackle seven common arguments against using to-do lists and offer solutions to overcome these challenges. We'll debunk each myth, while I'd specifically like to hear your thoughts on the last one.


Myth #1: To-do lists are unhelpful because they contain large, vague tasks.


Problem: When your to-do list is filled with overwhelming, unclear tasks, knowing where to start and feeling motivated can be difficult.

Solution: Break down large tasks into smaller, actionable …

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Create accountability to achieve your goals

We often set goals that involve only ourselves. There’s no line manager watching and waiting for you to submit your task. You don’t need to report to anyone on your progress. These goals are also referred to by Stephen Covey as the "important, but not urgent" tasks. They are important because they often have a long-term impact on your own life as well as those around you (even though they may not realise it). But they are not urgent; you can move the deadline out indefinitely. In fact, the deadl…

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Graduation

Oxford Brookes University Graduation Guest Speech: Two Unconventional Truths

I was the guest speaker at a graduation at Oxford Brookes University on 6 September 2023. I feel both honoured and humbled by this experience. I always looked at the guest speakers at graduations and thought they were super-humans – they looked calm and in control – as if they were busy cooking oats for a family member while, in actual fact, they are the centre of the attention of 300-odd people.


While I don’t know what I looked like up on the stage, I do know that humans are humans – we stre…

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Authorship in Academic Publication – how does it work?

Researchers entering into a collaboration for the first time often ask, “how does one decide who gets authorship and who gets acknowledged in the publication?”. Authorship can be quite sticky seeing that career progression and other academic rewards are at stake.


The discussion around authorship needs to take place in the early phases of the project, where you agree on who will contribute in what way to the project and paper. This is also the time to confirm who will not be authors on the pap…

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7 things to consider when choosing a topic for your dissertation or thesis

As the postgraduate coordinator in the Physiotherapy Department at the University of the Witwatersrand, one question I often get from prospective postgraduate students is, “how do I decide on a topic for my master’s or doctoral dissertation or thesis?”


This blog post will highlight a few things to consider when it comes to deciding on a topic for your dissertation or thesis (if you prefer the video above text, scroll down). I’m using examples within my own experience and scope, and I hope you…

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dissertations

How to find examples of completed theses and dissertations: what’s inside the box?

You would love to enrol for a masters or doctoral degree. You have done your homework, and you know that the degree you have in mind requires you to put together a research project of some kind. But… you have no idea what the “end product” of this research project will look like, which makes it difficult to envision what you are letting yourself in for.

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7 principles to consider while navigating the academic journey

Academia is like a real-life game, complete with roles and rules. Over the years, I learnt from those around me, and I’d like to pay it forward by sharing seven principles to consider while navigating the academic journey. Just a disclaimer before I continue: these principles are based on my own experience, each person’s story is different, and not everything will apply to everyone. Take what works for you, and let go of the rest.

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Work-life balance strategies for postgraduate students

You are doing a postgraduate degree because you know it is what your career needs. You thought long and hard about whether to enrol; you weighed the pros and cons, calculated the hours required to make it work, and made an informed decision using the information at your disposal… now you are knee-deep immersed in it. You feel pulled apart between what your postgraduate degree requires and life out there; your kids need you, or you are working part-time, or you are planning your wedding, or you a…

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Effective (& Reasonable) Goal Setting

Goal setting… it sounds so easy; you jot down a few wishes, and off you go. If it is so easy, why do so many of us not achieve our goals? This blog post will look at the goal itself and deeply dive into how you can formulate your goals to set yourself up for success.


You may have heard some proclaim that one should not have New Year's resolutions. New Year's resolutions sound like this "I want to be happy", "I want to be successful", or the famous "I want to lose weight" or "I want to complet…

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Having to deal with strong emotions? Just FAVE them

We have all been confronted with strong emotions from a fellow student, supervisor, friend or foe. A friend shares an experience and we, coming from a good place, jump in with an array of solutions. Often followed by an unexpected reaction from our counterpart. This type of situation does not benefit either party, creates animosity and leaves one feeling empty.


I read a blog post recently that described the importance of not jumping into solution mode immediately when confronted with strong e…

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How to increase the number citations to your research paper

In a research paper, a citation refers to a source of information. In-text citations are used in the body of the paper, while end-of-paper citations are found in the reference list at the end of the paper.


You may wonder why one would want to increase the number of citations to one’s paper. The number of times one’s research paper is cited is used as a measure of the reach (also referred to by some as impact) of a researcher’s work. The number of citations is used in various metrics, includin…

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Elevator

Create an Elevator Pitch for your research | Get crystal clear clarity and more opportunities

Imagine you are getting into an elevator and someone asks you "what is our research all about", you need to describe what it is and why it is important before the elevator reaches its destination and the two of you part ways. By the time you exit the elevator, the other person should know exactly what problem your research is addressing, what it is that you are researching and why it is important.

But why would we care about putting an elevator pitch together? Firstly, formulating your elevator…

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Systematic review and meta-analysis: the basics explained, quick and easy

New postgraduate students and early career researchers looking for the perfect study design for their research question often ask, “what is a systematic review?”. This blog post explains what a systematic review is and the different types of systematic reviews. It will also ensure that the concept of a meta-analysis is no longer a foreign one.

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Narrative vs systematic vs scoping review: What’s the difference?

I often get asked what the difference between a narrative review and a systematic review is, or what the difference between a narrative review and a scoping review is. This is also something I wondered about when I was new to the world of research.


Let’s first look at what a systematic review and scoping review are. A systematic review is done to identify research studies published on a certain topic, with the primary aim to recommend best practice on a certain topic and inform policy. This i…

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Systematic vs scoping review: Which is right for your research question?

After many hours of thinking, reading up, jotting down, walking about, you have your research question formulated. You know that it's a review that you need to do to get your research question answered, in other words, a study where you gather existing research and summarise all of it into one study. You are uncertain whether it is a scoping review or a systematic review that needs to be done.

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Images and your research project: an all-in-one how-to guide

Doing a masters or doctoral project teaches one not only about research but also about all other types of skills, such as preparing your images so you can add them to your thesis, dissertation or publication. These four videos will give you some guidance when it comes to combining multiple images into one, de-identifying the model in an image, creating an image out of anything and removing the background of an image.

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Your Systematic Review Search Strategy

The search strategy can get one down when doing a systematic, scoping or any other type of review. This series of videos will help you organise your keywords and apply the essential principles to a search done in Medline via Pubmed. To explain the importance of keeping track of the number of studies you find, I also give you a glimpse into the PRISMA 2020 flow diagram.

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Outlook Calendar Tips & Tricks

Outlook Calendar has so much potential! In this blog post, referring to three videos, I highlight the most valuable tips and tricks to boost your productivity when using Microsoft Office 365 Outlook Calendar.

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6 ways to use concept mapping in your research

A concept map is a great way to present all the moving parts in your research project. I recommend using this technique when you start thinking about your new research topic all the way through to the end product, and once you submitted your thesis, dissertation or research article, you can use this technique to plan your next project.

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Go Fast, Go Far, Go with Kindness and Respect

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together” - African proverb. Let us value others for who they are whether it’s for going fast or far. The Island University of Kind Efficiency is recruiting, and this is your official invitation to a job interview.

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