I was wondering to myself, why is it that I am always stuck in lab over holidays and weekends, when everyone else manages to go off and enjoy the break? How come I always end up in such data-desperation? May be it feels that way because I am stuck in lab now, it is not like I never enjoyed time off..
Also have this miserable feeling about work..trying to put a finger on it and realise that, as always, I am upset at myself for not being able to achieve my own lofty goals. It is really high time I set realistic goals...the holiday period is basically 2 work-weeks, nothing more. Take off two days from it because it is really hard to work on Friday and something or the other will be missing and can't be ordered due the holidays..that brings it to 8 working days. Thats it. Hoping to achieve all kinds of grand plans by just working for 8 extra days is really basically flawed, especially in my time scale of 7 days for an experiment to go from start to finish.
And as far as work goes few things I need to fix to make me more efficient and productive
1) Get a handle on doing more than one project at a time. Typically, I race forth with one while the other gets forgotten, and it is very difficult to go back to it and pick up from where I left. To maintain some sense, I have started sticking an up-to-date post it on the project folder, writing exactly what experiment needs to be done next for that project, so that whenever I want to start, I can simply set up the experiment, instead of sitting at my desk, poring over the notebook, reorienting myself, and lamenting my loss of time.
2) Rid myself of mental blocks associated with some activities. We all have parts of our work we hate- it might be mind numbing activities like counting cells, or really repetitive or mundane work, or really detailed/difficult work which has a high failure rate. Every time one of these activities are embedded in my project, I put it off, thereby stalling the entire project. When I finally get around to doing it, I realise it was not so bad after all. So, I need to rid myself of mental blocks, and just do the damn experiment. If it fails, I will just have to repeat it. And again. No need for much drama, self-flogging, feet-dragging etc. to accompany these activities. Everyone has to count cells and organize samples and do the grunt work to get to the sexy part.
3) Also, make some of the grunt work more appealing , or less unappealing, by being more organized and clear cut and breaking it down.
4) Finally, must draw up a realistic time-table of goals. And stick to it. The operative word is realistic. Account for fatigue, boredoom, getting in late, not coming in on the weekend.