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