I've been debating if I should make this public. Well, why not, this might be helpful to someone who suffers like me.
These are just random thoughts, raw ideas I plan to try, etc. so please don't judge : )
It's a long way towards a Phd. Let's make it happen.
1. Leave the lab if you're starting to feel unhappy.
It makes no sense sitting in the lab and suffering from the idea of "I should work".
2. I find myself bad-tempered recently, e.g., angry about knocking over a vial, and frequently breaking glassware. That's odd, as I always think I'm a mild person.
I guess this has something to do with my job. As I do mostly synthesis currently, to be efficient I have to work on multiple reactions a day, like -
I'm making a new complex A and need to try route A1 and A2 at the same time, while the starting material I prepared several days ago somehow did not come out as clean as before and I tried method B1 and B2 to purify it, and I also need to take out reaction B3 to prepare more of it, I'm also working on getting crystals of C1 and C2, to get which I need to figure out if my reagent D is clean, do a few filtrations, and try several conditions for recrystallization, aside of all these, I need also be thinking about taking into glovebox dry solvents and glass, washing dirty glassware, funnels and NMR tubes, having to talk to someone, writing a recommendation letter, being in charge of certain things in lab, and an exam two months later... And there is also life.
Yeah that's all what I'm working on today. Every time I try to be efficient I have to have such many things in my mind. It's tiring. Well, as I sat down and think about this, it seems there are a few things I can try to make my life better:
* Spend sometime at the end of each day to carefully write down all the details on lab notebook * More importantly, list all the things to do for next day and get all the glassware, solvent etc. ready * Try splitting the to do list into two parts, several things before lunch and a few after. It's not practical to have a fixed plan as unexpected things happen everyday, but organizing the list a little bit rather then just writing down everything and having them all loaded in my mind might make my work easier. Then I can think about only 2 or 3 tasks at a time * Do some easy things when you don't want to work, like washing glassware * Set a time when I'll stop working and wrap up. Say 7:30, I should planning on not doing anything after 730 other than organizing what I did today and what I'll do tomorrow. Then I can have time for gym and cooking and feel happy. Think about work-life-balance. I need to be happy in order to be efficient.
(I would be really happy if I could do two tasks a day, each taking 4 hours _(:_」∠)_）
I just started reading in the morning at home before going to work. Aside of all the benefits, this made me quite anxious today. Comparing to other's work, I’ve done so little and couldn’t imagine how we were going to publish it. On the other side this is good though, as being anxious is at least better than blind confidence.
Another thing to mention is that, since we have been using OneNote Calendar to track the hours, it now somehow seems to me, Ok I’ve been in the lab for 9 hours today and it's fine to go home. No, it should be the tasks I finish on a day that make me comfortable about leaving the lab.