Tuesday, November 9, 2010

What did YOU do today?

Sometimes I wonder what I do everyday. Today is a good example - I was busy all day, and suddenly it's dark outside, I'm exhausted, and I have no idea what it is that I've achieved.

Empty boxes = work done
It used to be easier to pinpoint progress - I could look at the lab work I'd gotten done, often produce a graph, the number of waste containers full of pipette tips, number of papers read, or when writing, a number of words written (sometimes words deleted). Whatever it was, I had some kind of measure of "Work Done".

These days, although I am generally more efficient in the lab, I spend a lot more of my time taking care of administrative and other responsibilities, things that don't have a definitive feeling (or measure) of accomplishment.

So what did I do today?
As part of a general lab clean-up, I sorted through a huge pile of reagents, for which I will receive both gratitude (no-one else wanted to do it) and gruff for doing it my way (but no-one else was going to do it, so WHATEVERRRR!),  taught two people a technique, did some benchwork in preparation for testing out a cool new toy that should arrive any day now, edited paper drafts for two of my lab-mates, plus I'm pretty sure I ate lunch (I should bring more memorable lunches).
    I did a lot. I was busy. So why do I feel like I got nothing done? It still feels like this is not my "real work".
    I guess I need to get used to it - or better, modify my view of what "getting stuff done" away from purely how much I produced in lab - before I am in the position of running my own lab.

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