4 Ways To Maximize My Daily Routine

Last summer I accomplished less than I had hoped. I want to do better this time around, so I am looking for opportunities to be more productive. The first step involves looking at my daily routine.

Daily Routine: The Ideal

First, I find that I am most productive and satisfied when I fit work into the 8-to-5 (ish) schedule.

Second, I find that I do my best work when I leave the house.

So my best days look like this: I go to the office as early as possible, work as much as I can until around 5, exercise, and then leave.

Achieving The Ideal

Obviously, I have to deviate from Continue reading 4 Ways To Maximize My Daily Routine

Interview with ACI Scholarly Blog Index

I recently answered some questions from Traci Hector at ACI Scholarly Blog Index. More about the interview and about ACI below.

What We Talked About

  • My experience of studying religion.
  • Why philosophy led me to ‪cognitive science.
  • How intuition is related to beliefs about god and science.
  • Computational corpus linguistics and how philosophers use it.
  • How I use blogging and ‎social media‬ for my research.
  • My thoughts on podcasts.
  • About blogging as an academic.

The full interview is here: http://aci.info/2016/04/27/aci-interview-with-scholarly-blogger-phd-candidate-nick-byrd/

About ACI Scholarly Blog Index

…an editorially created and curated index of scholarly social media. Authors are selected for inclusion based on their academic credentials as well as the scope and quality of their writing. Metadata, taxonomies, and proprietary Author Profile Cards are appended to each publication. An elegantly sophisticated search interface easily surfaces highly relevant articles. Post-search filtering allows researchers to further hone in on appropriate articles. ACI Scholarly Blog Index is free to use.

Check out ACI Scholarly Blog Index at acindex.com

Where to follow ACI:

Twitter @aciblogindex

Facebook facebook.com/aci.info

LinkedIn linkedin.com/company/4859067

Google+ plus.google.com/+AciInfogroup

What do philosophers do, anyway?

Lots of people ask me this question. Students. Friends. My mom!

I spend a lot of time with philosophers, so you might think that I have a good answer to this question. Alas, my answer usually sucks. You can find some of my worst answers to this question over at The American Philosophical Association (APA) Blog: “You’re a philosopher, eh? What do philosophers do?

I’ve also shared my general thoughts on how to answer this question in that post. But if you want really good advice on how to answer this question, check out what philosophers are saying in the comments.


Let me be the first to admit that I’m doing it wrong. My philosophy pitch is…well, boring. And my delivery is awful. When someone asks me about what I do, my first (and now-automatic) response is a sigh.

What can I say? When people so reliably respond to philosophy with confusion or condescension, I become a little insecure. Unfortunately, insecurity doesn’t help. It just makes my next philosophy pitch even worse. I need to break the negative cycle.


Special thanks to philosopher Skye Cleary for connecting me to the APA blog.

Featured image: “Philosophy” from dakine kaneCC BY 2.0, cropped, adjusted color

Text-To-Speech for Speed Reading & More

My job requires lots of reading. But sometimes I read very slowly. Other times my body is occupied doing something that precludes the ability to read from a book or an electronic display. So I have been looking for ways to fit in more reading and to read faster. Text-to-speech technology provides the means to do this. So I use text-to-speech for speed reading, for multi-task reading, for and a few other things. In this post, I will (a) talk you about the best PDF-to-speech app that I have found and (b) talk about how I use text-to-speech more generally.

1.  PDF-to-speech

Most computers, tablets, and smartphones can read text aloud in one way or another. However, until recently, I have not found text-to-speech software that can do both of the following:

  1. Speak the whole document start-to-finish. Every new page seems to trip up the software, so I have to restart the speech playback at the beginning of every new page.
  2. Ignore header and footer text. If the software can do 1, then it gets sidetracked by the text in the headers and footers every time it advances to the next page (e.g., copyright notices and page numbers; see figure 1 below).

Continue reading Text-To-Speech for Speed Reading & More

Grad School | Part 5: Contingency plans

You’re trying to figure out whether or not you want to go to grad school. You’ve tried to estimate the value of a PhD in philosophy (Part 1). You’ve considered academic jobs (Part 2). And you’ve considered the nuts and bolts of grad school (Part 3) and the pros and cons of grad school (Part 4). Now it’s time to figure out what to do if — after starting grad school — you find yourself no longer wanting the academic life. It’s time to talk grad school contingency plans.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | …

1. Disillusionment

Sounds exciting, right? Hear me out.

In just a few years, I have encountered many grad students who Continue reading Grad School | Part 5: Contingency plans

Grad School | Part 4: What’s Good And Bad About Grad School?

Prior to this post, I argued that the value of a Ph.D. is not in its job prospects …or lack thereof (Part 1). I showed that desirable academic jobs are neither ideal or common and that most academic jobs are very undesirable: they pay very little, they expire as frequently as every semester, and they offer no health insurance (Part 2). Then you found out about how most US philosophy Ph.D. programs work (Part 3). If you are considering getting a Ph.D. in philosophy, then you’ll want to have a realistic view of the process. This post attempts to provide such a view. It covers two things:

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | … | Part 5

1. What’s So Great About Grad School?

Even on a mediocre day, I can honestly say that I am living the dream! Really, there’s a lot to be grateful for in terms of being a grad student in philosophy.

1.1 Admission

Just being admitted to grad school Continue reading Grad School | Part 4: What’s Good And Bad About Grad School?

Grad School | Part 3: The Basics of a PhD In Philosophy

Most philosophy programs in the US seem to share the same general model. So no matter where in the US you get a PhD in philosophy, you can expect a few things. Before we get started, here’s the outline of the series, in case you want to jump to another post.

Part 1 | Part 2 | … | Part 4 | Part 5

1.  Timeline

All US philosophy PhD programs have roughly the same timeline:

1st year: teach/research, take seminars

2nd year: teach/research, take seminars

3rd year: teach/research, finish coursework, qualifying Continue reading Grad School | Part 3: The Basics of a PhD In Philosophy