The Sassy Scientist – Time Trials

The Sassy Scientist – Time Trials

Every week, The Sassy Scientist answers a question on geodynamics, related topics, academic life, the universe or anything in between with a healthy dose of sarcasm. Do you have a question for The Sassy Scientist? Submit your question here.

Sylvie asks:

What would you say is the main problem you encountered during your research career?

Dear Sylvie,

Easy: time management and focus. Doing scientific research is hard enough without dealing with deadlines, waiting for collaborators to provide their contribution… —

*ping* *ping* *ping*
ahem… sorry, just needed to check these emails

—…and adjusting paper manuscripts due to nitpicky comments from reviewers that took their sweet time to reply. Meanwhile, students constantly ask numerous “clearly defined” and ambitious questions… —

*knock* *knock*
Just a minute! I’ll be right out to talk to you about that hand-in assignment…

— …and I still need to finish those abstracts for AGU. I should first check the rules about authorship. Oh, only one first-author abstract this year. How am I going to handle this? I hope my co-conveners can take up some of the abstract checking — the list of abstracts is getting quite long… Did I already book my flight and hotel? I am getting sick of those hostels. Can I use my presentation from this year’s EGU?

*ping* *knock*
Just one more minute

What was I saying?

Right: time management and focus. Initially, you wouldn’t say this could become a problem. However, after a while you’ll find that decent planning is critical: issues will snowball and reach a tipping point if you are not careful. This also concerns planning your future: designate some time in your busy schedule to evaluate the current status of your projects and assess your priorities for the next months.

Now, where did that student go…

Yours truly,

The Sassy Scientist

Ps: This post was written in the last weeks before my extensive summer holiday (I promised a real one this year) and the final weeks of the academic year: my favourite time of the year for answering your questions… 

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I am currently employed at a first tier research institute where I am continuously working with the greatest minds to further our understanding of the solid Earth system. Whether it is mantle or lithosphere structure and dynamics, solid Earth rheology parameters, earthquake processes, integrating observations with model predictions or inversions: you have read a paper of mine. Even if you are working on a topic I haven’t mentioned here, I still know everything about it. Do you have any problems in your research career? I have already experienced them. Do you struggle with your work-life balance? Been there, done that. Nowadays, I have only one hobby: helping you out by answering the most poignant questions in geodynamics, research and life. I am waiting for you right here. Get inspired.

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