Chasing your post-doc tail

Trying to catch up with your post-doc life is like being a dog chasing your own tail…

Some time ago my boss mentioned at a meeting that now that the summer is over, we (the group) need to get less relaxed and more focused again (well, simply, work longer hours). Even though I believe I have been always putting in quite long hours, I decided to approach it in a systematic manner and push myself into a more challenging working rythm. (Those who read my work-life balance pieces will probably find this slightly insencere of me; well, haven’t I mentioned I tend to go through phases of hard work – crash – dip – recovery – and hard work again?).

Nevertheless, one that thinks that working longer hours will allow them to catch up with their work – beware! From what I’m seeing right now is that as the hours extend, the work proliferates, the more time I schedule, the more small projects I start – it’s a vicious circle. Surely more gets done. But there’s also more and more to do!

And so after a whole day at lab, tired with the post-weekend Monday tiredness, when once you reached home 8:30 pm in the evening you wish for a little relax and alone time, I have to get down to that paper and make a journal club presentation. It’s a Cell paper by the way. I want to sleep…


I suppose a conclusion is: plan smart! Even if, or especially when you plan to work more and longer, pay even more attention to how you schedule things and make sure they fit. Because when you work longer, counter-intuitively your wasted time will hurt you even more than when you work short hours: more work will make you less efficient, more tired, less productive in the end of the day. Further unplanned extensions might make you crash, physically, even when you’re still feeling phycologically very motivated. Plan and time. Also: take care. Of yourself.

Cell, here we go!

p.s. And, maybe, don’t procrastinate writing your blog 🙂


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