Presenter: Linda Pretorius


A day is finite. Yet our daily to-do lists seem to be growing ever longer. To make it all work, we try to get as much out of every hour as we can (or think we can) by trying to optimise our efficiency. Think time management apps, scheduling software, programs that automate routine tasks, instant messaging to connect with collaborators and teams working simultaneously on shared documents in the cloud. But how much do these tools improve efficiency? And does increased efficiency mean increased productivity? Does output necessarily equal productivity?

In this presentation, I draw on time-management data gathered over almost five years, an analysis of the digital platforms I use and thought leaders’ research on productivity models for knowledge workers to start a conversation about how editors can use technology to complement their productivity without losing themselves. I argue that understanding what editorial input a project requires, setting up an appropriate workflow and knowing how you work best, allows editors to adopt digital resources that will add value to their role rather than define it, whether they’re a hands-on practitioner or a team’s facilitator. By being selective about the digital resources we use and thinking about their role in our work, I argue, editors can become masters of productivity instead of being automatons of efficiency.


Linda Pretorius

Linda Pretorius holds a PhD in Biosystems from the University of Pretoria. She loves both science and working with words. In her career as a science writer, editor and proofreader she has found the best of both worlds.

Linda entered the world of editing in 2008, first as a freelancer and then working in-house as managing editor at a large educational publisher for eight years. She thinks that her science studies and inquisitive nature helped to shape her into a critical thinker. This has allowed her to evaluate existing workflows and processes through analysis, not only to understand what makes some processes fail but also to seek solutions when they do. In 2019, Linda decided to take the plunge and return to the freelance world, where she shares her experience with others as editorial consultant and hands-on practitioner.

Linda Pretorius