Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Can it be done?

Can I really, truly, make a resolution work? I have had limited success with New Year resolutions. The only one I can ever remember following through on was cutting out soda for an entire year ... but that only worked for the one year I did it, and now I can down a 2L bottle in an afternoon.

At any rate, my goal for this year is to write (and get accepted) three first author manuscripts this year. I have the data for two of them already collected so this should be an accomplish-able task. Also, since I have a paper already under review, that should count towards one of the accepted papers should things go favorably.

However, in order to achieve this level of success, I need to organize. It's not one of my strong suits, and my desk is a cluttered mess. I know where everything is, but I'm still not organized, and I need to get there. I know it behooves me, for my long term productivity and upward mobility in the ranks of research, to achieve this goal. So, I took my first step in this direction today ...
Is increased productivity in my future?

I went out and purchased a daily planner. I tried this last year, with very mixed results ... but I have the fire in my belly this year. I swear! At any rate, I've already started filling out January, which is a good thing because I have a manuscript review and a grant review due in the next few days. I better get cracking!


soil mama said...

I've given up on resolutions, they just don't work for me

I can't tell you how many times I've gotten new planners and not used them more than a month. this summer I started using the calender in Enterprise (similar to outlook) and I love it. I like to get reminders when something is almost due or before a meeting. With my planner I would often not realize something was due till I turned the page- oops!

getting a Mac has also kept me more organized since it indexes so well and I no longer print up pdf documents (less clutter) since I can use Papers and Preview to organize and take notes on my journal articles. I haven't seen any PC programs that do this, but maybe Zotero does?

Thomas Joseph said...

I use Outlook for important stuff that I get through email (I love the ability to drag and drop items from my mail to my calendar.

I use EndNote to track all my articles, and it seems to work well for me. I do keep electronic copies of all of my articles, and I keep a paper copy with my notes stapled to the back. I have a huge metal shelf in my lab on which all my papers (sorted into groups, depending on the project) are "filed" ... and my filed I mean stacked according to project.

Switching to a Mac is pretty much impossible for me at this point. All my expensive software is PC-based and I hate the idea of switching back and forth. The only "switching" I've done is with my netbook which has a linux OS ... but usually it's only to transfer a PDF or two I downloaded while I was at a meeting.

Nat Blair said...

The single best productivity book I've ever read is David Allen's "Getting Things Done". It's less about a particular system and implementation, than it is about overall good approaches and habits that help manage lots of tasks. Plus, this book isn't too high on the 'creepy self help weirdness' index.

Thomas Joseph said...

Thanks Nat. I'll check it out.

soil mama said...

I know what you mean about switching to Mac. I was a bit scared but figured I was early enough in my career to do it. The new Mac's actually run all the PC programs so I haven't had to give anything up, although I still keep my old PC around to run my really clunky GeneMapper program

I think I'll need to check out that book too!

Thomas Joseph said...

Ordered the book, and it's on its way. Actually, I'm incorporating it into my IDP (Independent Development Program) for 2010 ... so it best be good! :P