Tiny Steps and Vacation

Posts are slowly coming these days. Mostly I've got lots of work to do that's leaving me with little time to blog. Also, my blog writing neurons seem to have seized up and died. I'm rapidly becoming the least articulate person I know. Sigh. So, here are a series of updates:

Lab work is going fairly well. I'm making slow and steady progress, which I'd take any day over rapid and backwards progress. I finally ::knocks on wood:: got past my cloning difficulties. So, it's on to the the next couple of steps.

I think I'm making progress in the time management aspect, too. I tried biochem belle's suggestion of organizing my time. She suggested printing out my weekly calendar and planning out all the experiments, etc. on them. I've done something similar using iCal and Omnifocus. I'm doing this because I like to break up my experiments into tiny, tiny steps (as in: (1) Pour gel, (2) Load gel, (3) Run gel, (4) Take picture of gel). I break up the tasks, not to make them seem more manageable, but because I like to cross things off a list. So, the more steps I have the more I get to cross of my list (I know, this is sad, right?). So far, so good, though.

Continuing with the time management aspect, I think I'm doing better on this balance thing. I can't work nonstop and remain sane. I've stopped (or am trying to stop) reading into this too much. As in I'm not allowing myself to state that just because I become unglued after several weeks of nonstop work (and no progress) that I'm never going to graduate and become a grown-up scientist. Instead, I remind myself that working sane hours and making steady progress is the most important part of this graduate school thing (I can't state anything about allowing me to make it in the "real" world, but I figure I've got to make it past this part). Also, I'm not allowing myself to get into those one-up conversations. (You know, the ones like: "I worked 150 hours last week and I haven't had a weekend off since high school." "Oh yeah, I worked 170 hours last week and I haven't had a day off since the first grade.") That's helped quite a bit. So, instead I'm working while I'm at work and taking off a day a week.

To develop this even more, I'm going on vacation next week! Dr. Man talked me into taking a week off during August. So, the last week of August it is. We're going to Washington, D.C. to visit friends, parks, and monuments (not necessarily in that order). (Also, if anyone in that area would like to meet up, drop me an email.) I'm very excited (see the exclamation points). We have a couple of friends up there that we haven't seen in ages! I need time off! Flights were cheap! Plus, I'm not allowing anyone to make me feel guilty for taking time away from the bench. I keep repeating to myself that it's ok for me to take a vacation, the world will not end, and I will (probably) still graduate.

Besides I can always read papers on the plane, right?