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Awkward time gaps

Last Friday, I sent my PhD advisor a finalized draft of the current Manuscript of Doom*, where we have one remaining issue to address before it's ready for submission: it's too long. This is not a horrible problem, but it does require time and thought. She is a whiz-genius at shortening, so I asked for help.

Communication about the timing of tasks like this can be tricky to orchestrate by long distance, though, so when I hadn't heard a peep from her by Tuesday, I did some additional work to prune the reference list and sent over the revised version as a nudge. She replied to say, "Oh, I'd started working on this already, but I'll fold my changes into your version." And I haven't heard anything since then, so once again I have no idea what kind of timecourse I'm looking at. I do know better than to poke the sleeping bear too many times in a row on short notice, though.

All right, fine, I can work on one of a half-dozen other projects in the meantime, right?

...except task-switching isn't always so simple. The next item on the list was data analysis for the circadian project, and then again, I hit a sticking point where I needed to meet with my postdoc supervisor and confer before moving forward.

In the meantime, I'm helping an undergrad knock out her honors thesis at record speed, helping a grad student turn around a grant report, and gearing up for more circadian-type fun times next week. Oh, and working on a couple more manuscript reviews.

The challenge, for me, is that all these things leave me with weird, awkward time gaps. I want to do productive things with the time gaps, but sometimes I fail because they aren't long enough for me to pick up other projects, remember where I left off, and make headway.

Oh well. At least I'm not bored or underemployed?


* Manuscript of Doom = whatever current project feels like it's taking FOREVER to complete. This one's from my last dissertation chapter in 2011, for instance. I think it had a more clever name, like Manuscript of Doom IV: The Thunderdome, but I don't remember anymore.

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