Weekend science work: not always a bad thing

Author: Brianna

I have been thinking about work patterns lately. (Let’s be honest: I am more or less always thinking about work patterns.) Meg Duffy over at Dynamic Ecology wrote an excellent post about the myth of the 80-hour work week being necessary to succeed in academia. The comments, as always, are absolutely worth reading.

I try to estimate my output by things I’ve accomplished, not butt-in-chair time. Unless I’m working on something that doesn’t always have measurable forward progress, like trying to figure out broken code or learn to code new things. Then, I count hours because otherwise I’d despair, and time put in really is a reasonable measure of accomplishment.

Generally, I don’t work weekends. I stick to a work schedule that fluctuates a little, but generally runs 8am-5pm during the week. Count me in the camp that thinks trying to be “on” 100% of the time means you’ll accomplish less than if you work with good focus for a reasonable number of hours. I’m also always trying to improve the intensity of that focus and the length of time I can stand to do it, but that’s a subject for another post.

Crunch time happens. I have spent many a weekend and evening and late night on papers, revisions, applications, analysis.

But today, I just want to declare that sometimes I like working on weekends, just because I can.

Tea and notebook

Sometimes it’s relaxing to sit down with a cup of tea and some minor tasks that need doing. Or curl up with a cat and do some reading.

Today I’m drinking chai, putting together a small award application, making a little progress on my taxes, and mapping out my next research project in a flow chart. There’s a cat in my lap (not visible in photo above, alas). It’s a good way to spend a Sunday afternoon.



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