Research Week: the conclusion

It’s Friday! I am back in the office today and therefore making more progress. I played with my data this morning, and after ln-transforming the data (why, oh why, do I always forget about that), they finally make some sense. Hooray!

Today’s progress:

Minutes spent writing: 120 (I skipped the 30 minutes of crap writing today)

Words written: 484 (more time playing with data than actually writing)

Papers read: 2

And here are the final statistics of my progress during Research Week:

Minutes spent writing: 690

Words written: 12,405

Papers read: 10

Not too shabby. Can I keep this up during a regular week? Probably not. But I don’t see any reason why I can’t try to incorporate more of this into my daily work routine. Maybe reading one paper and spending 60 minutes of research writing a day (even if it’s broken into smaller chunks of time) is not unreasonable.

As spring break comes to an end, there are finally signs of spring around here. It’s sunny outside, and next week it’s supposed to warm up considerably. Oh, and here are today’s shoes, which I love (and not just because I got them for $26 on eBay):

I don’t know if it’s the weather, the shoes, or the research progress, but my ennui is just about gone.


Research Week, Day 4 Report

I don’t know if any of you out there have ever tried to work productively at home, with 8 territorial and emotionally needy pets (ok, only 7 – the tortoise doesn’t really give a shit about anything except his heat lamp and food) – which is bad enough, but just wait ’til you get to the end of the sentence — while having a new furnace installed. If you haven’t tried it but are considering it, let me give you a word of advice: don’t.

I did my 30 minutes of crap writing this morning, and then sort of fumbled through 90 minutes of researchy writing cutting and pasting. It was too difficult to concentrate with the banging coming from the basement, the dog barking and whining, the cat growling at the noise in the heating vent, the other cat insisting on climbing into my lab because he’s cold and there’s no heat, and the parrot squawking. I haven’t even bothered trying to read any scientific papers. I did answer a whole bunch of work emails. But this afternoon I don’t seem to be accomplishing much besides laundry and reading the Regretsy archives.

Maybe I’ll get more done later today… maybe not. But here’s the tally so far:

Minutes spent writing: 120

Words: 2490

Papers read: 0

Progress on manuscript: thought of many ways in which I’m doing it wrong. Is that progress?

Weather: colder, grayer, and freaking SNOW.

Shoes: well, I haven’t left the house today, so I’m not wearing shoes. But I am wearing these:

Now with bonus territorial dog and chilly cat.

Update: After posting this, I felt bad about myself for being a slacker, so I ate a Cadbury Creme Egg and read two papers (so what if they were just short communications?). Here’s a photo of the good dog, being good:

Research Week, Day 3 Report

Still going well! I don’t think I’d be able to keep up this level of productivity any time other than spring break or summer, though – it’s awfully quiet around here right now.

Minutes spent writing: 150

Words written: 2863 (but most of those were not new words – I did a lot of editing today)

Papers read: 2

Progress on manuscript: Looking good! I edited the Introduction and Methods sections and I’m pretty pleased with them. I think I’m going to have to go back and run more statistics before I get much further with Results and Discussion, though.

Weather: gray and rainy. I guess I should be glad that it’s above freezing, though, right?


Research Week, Day 2 Report

Minutes spent writing: 150

Words written: 2928 (yeah, that includes references – so what?)

Papers read: 2

Manuscript: definitely progressing

Other project: ideas are coming together, thanks to all the paper reading – I drafted an introduction this afternoon!

Poster: finished, except for small design tweaks


Research Week, Day 1 Report

I set pretty ambitious goals for myself this week, and Day 1 went pretty well. Here are my goals:

  1. 2.5 hours per day on writing tasks, in 30 minute chunks. First 30 minutes when I first get up, the other 4 to occur as they fit throughout the day.
  2. Read 2 papers a day.
  3. Finish poster for next month’s conference.
  4. Make significant progress on a new manuscript – one for which I have all the data.
  5. Complete a small service-related writing task.

How’d I do yesterday? Very well! I started by being generous with my definition of “writing” in the first 30 minute block, and I used this time yesterday to write out these goals and map out my plan for the week. (This blog post is today’s first writing task – hey, it’s words, right?) I spent a full hour on the manuscript (much of which was cut and paste from an abandoned attempt back in December – but hey, gotta start somwhere), 30 minutes on the poster (nearly done!), and 30 minutes drafting the service-related writing task. Oh, and yes, I did read two papers.

Total minutes spent writing: 150.

Total words written: 3640.

Also, there is a newer project that I want to make some progress on, and it just so happened that my collaborator emailed me with questions about how to proceed with the bioinformatics analysis on that project. Lots of research getting done around here!

It’s still cold and miserable outside (but campus is empty and parking is easy), I had to spend $760 on car repairs yesterday (but the car is all better now), and I did wear the boring loafers again yesterday (but this time, it was part of a look – I also wore an argyle sweater and pearls), but I feel a bit better about making progress on the research front. Now, to repeat for the next four days…