Hello there bloggies!

This week is one of those weeks. My calendar is filled with an endless stream of meetings and seminars. Every time I open my Outlook inbox I seem to receive another 2-3 (or 7!) calendar invites, telling when and where I need to be. And be there I am. I scurry down the hall, up & down the stairs (well let’s face it, elevator…), and in/out of all the Web meetings.

But my job isn’t to go to meetings, say something borderline intelligent once in a while, and look pretty. My job involves generating and analyzing loads of genetic data and trying to translate those findings into real biological and clinical utility. I can’t do that in a conference room, auditorium, or webinar.

So how am I supposed to do my work with all of these meetings cluttering my life?

Work all day and night? Oh no…I need my sleep and meals and well, my life too

Skip out on the meetings? The boss would loooove that

Being that guy in the meeting ceaselessly typing away on their laptop? My mama raised me better

For me, the answer is just as simple. It’s finding a balance in your schedule between meetings and doing actual work.

Meetings are a necessary evil unfortunately. On a more obvious level, they help get everyone on the same page, expose people to new science, and address vital things happening in the lab. But more than that, they also give you valuable face-to-face (or voice-to-voice) time with people. These interactions can be HUGE when trying to find contacts to get something or even to help network for that next position.

The key is ensuring that the time you aren’t in meetings are utilized as best as you can. It is the dreaded necessity of time management, a skill that all grad students and postdocs (and frankly everyone) needs to spend time trying to hone these skills. During my grad school days, I had much more freedom with my time. Other than a few seminars and meetings during the week, I could do my work whenever I wanted. In my postdoc, the number of meetings and responsibilities I had only grew. I had to plan analyses to start in the morning and run during conference calls. I would carve out certain afternoons that were sacred writing time. These were necessities to keep me productive both in terms of meetings and my science.

Now as a non-trainee scientist in industry, that need to manage my time well is even more important. And I am willing to bet everything that my academic friends (faculty and staff scientists) would entirely agree! I’m finding myself having to be more on point and able to fit more things into my day. With some careful planning, the right balance really can be found (at least so far…fingers crossed).

Meetings are important. So is your science. Be aware of your time and use it well while in the lab. It’ll give you more fun time out of it!

Thanks for stopping by the blog! How do you balance your science with other responsibilities? Let me know in the comments or on twitter @DrFsThoughts.

See you later!

-Dr. F

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