Cambridge’s one-on-one teaching model is based on exploiting graduates | Education

Recently, I was having coffee with a final year PhD student about to submit his thesis. He was excited because he had just finished giving his first ever lecture. He had finally been able to prove himself and experience what his future job might entail. Yet when we met later, he seemed downcast about the experience. It had taken him five hours to write his first 45-minute lecture – and several more to prepare the handouts and PowerPoint – but…

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Danielle Steel is a prolific writer, but is that to be envied? | Oliver Burkeman | Money

The novelist Danielle Steel has written 179 books, releasing them at the rate of seven a year – and for all I know, she’ll have released a few more in the days between my writing this column and you reading it. But how? In an interview this month with Glamour magazine, Steel revealed the productivity trick that is central to her success: she works all the time. No, I mean, all the time: for at least 20 hours a day,…

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Most of us feel sleepy in the afternoon. Why can’t work fit round that? | Andre Spicer | Opinion

In the early afternoon, I often catch myself listlessly staring into the computer screen. I have things to do, but I can’t concentrate. I try writing the same sentence five times and delete it six. During one of these afternoon torpors, I came upon a word: acedia. It seemed to perfectly define my mid-afternoon weariness. I discovered this originally Greek word was widely used by medieval Christian monks to describe a sense of indolence, a mood of lethargy, a feeling…

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Much shorter working weeks needed to tackle climate crisis – study | Environment

People across Europe will need to work drastically fewer hours to avoid disastrous climate heating unless there is a radical decarbonising of the economy, according to a study. The research, from thinktank Autonomy, shows workers in the UK would need to move to nine-hour weeks to keep the country on track to avoid more than 2C of heating at current carbon intensity levels. Similar reductions were found to be necessary in Sweden and Germany. The findings are based on OECD…

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What did dignity at work training teach me? Bullying isn’t my university’s problem | Anonymous academic | Education

My university offers a range of workshops to make its bureaucratic processes transparent for new employees. Before beginning the new term, I had to attend one on “dignity at work”. I had a vague sense of what this meant – challenging harassment and bullying, cultivating a respectful institutional culture – and was keen to hear more. I was surprised to find this workshop delivered by an external private company for a corporate rate. The workshop leader said this would help…

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Is it possible to work 22-hour days? Danielle Steel says it is the secret of her success | Books

It says something about the author Danielle Steel’s work ethic that her desk, built to resemble a stack of her own books, is less remarkable than the hours she puts in at it. The 71-year-old romance novelist is notoriously prolific, having published 179 books at a rate of up to seven a year. But a passing reference in a recent profile by Glamour magazine to her 20- to 22-hour workdays – not to mention the 24-hour session “a few times…

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Red Bull wants us to leave work at 4pm. I couldn’t agree more | Opinion

I’m not squeamish, except for one small thing: I cannot repeat rhyming couplets. So I can’t tell you exactly what Red Bull’s latest London Underground advert says because it uses this mawkish lyrical form. I can tell you that it was reprimanded by the Advertising Standards Authority for promising health benefits that fizzy drinks aren’t allowed to do (nope, not even Shloer). I can even describe that promise, in a roundabout way: Red Bull will make you feel so energetic…

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Wellcome Trust could become first big employer to launch four-day week | UK news

That Friday feeling could soon be switched to Thursday, at one major employer at least. The Wellcome Trust is considering moving all of its 800 head office staff to a four-day week in a bid to boost productivity and improve work-life balance. A trial of the new working week at the £26bn London-based science research foundation could start as soon as this autumn, giving workers Fridays off to do whatever they want with no reduction in pay. Some parts of…

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