Getting things done!

Ok, I admit it. The title is kind of ironic! Given that I haven’t written anything in a long time I am not the most appropriate person to talk about commitment. And I will also try to explain you why, and “justify” myself.

It seems like my way of dealing with ToDOs is quite peculiar, and most likely extremely wrong. Usually what people do is following things in as straight as possible line. If one has a deadline approaching, he/she will try to work on that in a steady way and submit the result in time.

Dedication for people
Dedication spent by people versus time, when deadlines are approaching.

As you can see in the graph above, ideally one should have a steady increase in the effort or dedication  spent in one project and reserve some time for correction and refinement. If the deadline is shorter, the increase should be steeper in order to achieve that (provided that both projects require the same total amount of dedication – same area under the curve).

Now, let’s have a look at how I do it:

Dedication myself
In blue the dedication spent ideally on projects; in red the dedication I spent on projects versus time.

Clearly the process is not optimised. I assumed, for simplicity, that also for myself the amount of dedication and workload for a project is the same as the ideal case (same area under the curve). In my case, though, you can appreciate more interesting features, from some useless sparkles about later projects, over very abrupt edges to the most shameful delayed submission.

So I asked myself: Why is this happening, and how to avoid it?

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Travelling, geek science way

skyline
Moon-Venus-Mars Skyline – Image Credit & Copyright: Jay Ouellet

This morning I woke up staring at the skyline of Quebec city on my phone. A nice reminder of why I am doing this job.

Science is closely related to travelling, and be staring at beautiful landscapes. If you are a scientist, you probably know about those moments in which none of your experiments is working as you would like and you ask yourself why you did not follow your mother’s suggestion to study medicine or law to count on a stable carrier. And then you look at the window and a deer is peacefully wondering in the garden of the dormitory you are staying in a small cosy city in Belgium. And inevitably, you smile. Travelling! Travelling, and getting to know new research groups, sometime is what you need to remind you that all the studies you have done are worthwhile.

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