|Dr Jeremy Segrott - public health research ... ymchwil iechyd cyhoeddus||
A while back I told a colleague at work about a new coffee shop which had just opened close to our office. 'That place? It's been open for months', she replied. And so it seems with technology and computers - I am rarely a pioneer, and learn about labour saving devices and tricks long after other colleagues have integrated them into the daily practice.
I'm not that old (comments below are closed on that), but I have been using MS Word for most of my adult life, and it's so much a part of my daily life and work that I hardly ever give it a second thought. Maybe I should. A few years back I worked on a report with a colleague (not the same one who knew about the ancient coffee shop) who seemed to know how to do all kinds of things with MS Word, all of which were automated, accurate, and saved lots of time, but none of which I quite seemed to be able to get the hang of. So, being brutally honest, I have carried on doing things manually when sometimes there has been an easier and better way.
A few weeks ago I was pulling together a large report, which included many tables and figures, and which needed to have a comprehensive and accurate contents page. I realised that I probably needed to invest a small amount of time in finding out how to work with Word's headings system, and its ability to create titles for tables and headings, all of which can then automatically create (and update) tables of contents. I wish I'd done this many years ago, and I'll always use the system from now on.
Here are the main things I worked out how to do properly. Many (most?) of you are probably doing this, and it is very likely that there are even better ways of doing some of the following, but here goes:
I don't know why, but I always seem to write better when it rains. How can that be? Maybe it's the rhythm of the sound of the rain falling on the roof windows in my office. I also normally write with music on - it seems to have some background noise against which to work and think - having absolute silence is no good for me, though I know for many others it's essential. I once met an academic who had the radio and TV on in the background when she wrote.
... I was not writing at all. Ironing a shirt, I suddenly found the answer to a problem - how to strengthen the discussion section in a paper. Shirt - poorly ironed; - writing idea - fairly good I think.
Maybe it's the old one of the mind working away at things when you're not asking it too. Now just have to get the ironing right.
James Taylor once said: "I don't read music. I don't write it. So I wander around on the guitar until something starts to present itself.