Breaking down your lab management process can help to conserve mental energy and further save you time and money. You become less reactive and you become more proactive by organizing your workflow.
Now I’m not the first, nor the only one who feels like there are a million things to do. I’m sure you’ve felt this way before and maybe even now, more than ever. To top that, you may feel you’re behind schedule with your research, your career, your family, and the list can go on. This is actually relatively normal for most highly ambitious people, but the problem doesn’t lie in the number of tasks we must complete, but in the choices of which tasks to even take on.
Your mental energy matters significantly, because knowledge work requires deep concentration and creativity. Many young research scientists struggle with time management, not only as a product of time, but that of mental energy. The cognitive load that one experiences can be tremendous, especially when it comes to intellectual focus and decision making. This is a critical resource that shouldn’t be taken lightly. The results can be catastrophic when we’re deciding whether to invest our time into completing a manuscript or completing another assay. Therefore, we need to make room to reserve our most critical thinking during times where we’re most refreshed and focused.