the need to be productive

So, not to complain more about being busy... but...

I'm finding it difficult to be productive enough to keep up, and still maintain some semblance of sanity, sleep, and life. I don't think the answer is entirely in working more hours, because at some point I just kind of slow down and amount of work done goes asymptotically to zero. Aside from that, it just isn't sustainable, and my current level of things to do isn't going to subside for quite some time. Really, I need to learn to manage it better.

You see, I'm at this point in my graduate student carreer -- I think this rather enviable point -- where I know what to do. I know what experiments need to be done, I know what analysis needs to be done, I know what things need to be written up into papers, I know what things need to be done to prepare for the next round of experiments in the more distant future, I know what conferences I should attend. My roadmap is acutally looking something like a map... with clear roads to travel. This is rare, as anyone in grad school knows, and I feel pretty good about it (even though I know some of it will probably change... because that's science).

So, knowing that it can't all be done at once, I've got it divided up, and I'm trying to multi-task some of the writting and doing experiments. But still... I feel like I'm moving through it soooo slowly. And yesterday, I realized that to really write up this part of the paper I'm working on properly in a way that will be truely more useful, I have to learn about a whole new area and it seems not that well established/understood, so there isn't a nice book to get from the library, so I'm tracing back through research papers. Yesterday I printed about a dozen of them. So now I'm reading, when I feel like I should be writing.

Here's the question to fellow science bloggers: How do you decide where to stop? I could write something very descriptive about my data without really digging very far into this new area... but I know that it has the potential to add a lot to the paper... and/or eat a lot of my time.

Anyway, next week I'm away on a trip-to-see-a-friend-on-the-way-to-a-workshop... soo... probably no posts. But, probably some nice pictures when I get back!

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