Yo Han feels the need to please everyone. His collaborators, supervisor, office mates, faculty staff and his family (they’re low on the list though). Overly ambitious yet with the weight of the world on his shoulders, he sighs:
How can I feel less pressure in my work?
Dear Yo Han,
Don’t worry so much. I know it’s a stupid answer, and some people just seem to not be able to take their minds off of their work, but it’s the most appropriate answer I feel. So what if you hand in that paragraph tomorrow instead of today? So what if you take a day off of work to spend it with your family, and meet with your supervisor next week? So what if your model does not work properly yet, let’s take the month to find and correct all of those bugs. It’s not insurmountable to finish your work later compared to your original, somewhat overly positive estimate of how long your tasks would take you. Your career is not going to be over, your office mates will not laugh you out of the building and your supervisor is not going to stare you down for the whole of next week out of sheer disappointment. I don’t know if you’ve noticed: science is hard. It’s difficult, it takes time, it’s frustrating and you only feel rewarded after you’ve put in a lot of effort. So it’s okay if it takes some time, and you don’t need to burn yourself out to try and finish every yesterday instead of tomorrow.
Just to add a little controversy to the mix; why don’t you take your project schedule and drop it right into the perfect place for it? The trash bin (be it on your computer, or the one in your office/room). I’m not saying you should excessively procrastinate (like I am whilst writing this blog) but it’s best to realise that you still want to do science in ten years from now. You won’t make that if you keep up your current stress levels. Take a walk outside, take the weekend off, and find yourself a nice beach to stroll at over a well-deserved holidays. Live a little.
The Sassy Scientist
PS: This post was written all relaxed.