After some Twitter discussion the last few days over some less-than-glamorous aspects of life as a newish PI, The New PI suggested blogging about a day in the life. I’m at the start of year 4 and feel like I’m hitting my stride for the most part, though it’s taken a very long time to get to that point. I still have days (sometimes most days) that are nothing but what I call busy work – paperwork, red tape, meetings, struggle. Today wasn’t like that and it was nice!
So, although I forgot about it until reminded this evening, here’s a shot at my day.
6:00 – Alarm goes off. I prefer to start the day with a quiet cup of coffee before everyone wakes up, but today it was not to be. Hit snooze repeatedly.
6:30ish – Alarm still buzzing every few minutes, still happy snoozing. Until I hear the toddler’s doorknob. So much for quiet coffee. Get up and get toddler, head downstairs. Toddler wants to read a book so we do – three times (awesome book, btw). Then she’s ready for breakfast (“Igut? Igut? – yogurt) and I can make coffee.
7:15ish – 8:00 – Husband is up and showered, so I can do the same. Get myself ready, chase toddler around the house trying to get her ready. Go outside to look at rainbow. Go back inside to pour travel mug of coffee, grab toddler backpack, work bag, and jackets, and rush out the door.
We’re at daycare by 8:10 or so and getting the toddler into the classroom is a process. It goes well, but takes a long time.
8:20something – In the office, working through emails & morning news stuff. Put off working on IRB revisions as long as possible.
(sorry, you’re going to get lots of -somethings and -ishes since I didn’t actually keep track of time intervals today, what with forgetting about the blogging thing)
9:00ish – 10:20 – Finally dealt with IRB revisions. This involved mostly tweaking language to be exactly what they wanted (aka, hoop-jumping) and trying to reduce the reading level of the consent form. Also had to write an assent script for children too young to give written assent. Emailed off to the IRB and on to the next thing. Somewhere in here I also briefly chatted with a TA about grading stuff.
10:20 – 11:45 – Final touch-ups on a manuscript, which mostly include going back through reviewer comments from the last rejection (sadly, there have been a couple for this one) and making sure they’ve all been addressed well. Spent quite a lot of time looking for a journal to submit to, since it’s one of those papers that doesn’t obviously fit anywhere. During that stretch I was interrupted by a colleague who wanted to talk research design. A good 15 minutes or so of refreshing change. Finished up the revisions, picked a journal, and emailed the manuscript to coauthors.
11:45 – 1:30 – A rare break! Grabbed lunch, got a haircut, visited the husband at work, saw world’s cutest cross country ski boots and brought them home for toddler.
1:30 – 2:55 – Time split between a brief lit review for an upcoming proposal (for which I have a conference call tomorrow) and organizing myself for the week’s lab meeting.
3:00-4:15 – lab meeting. Discussed updates on current projects, upcoming conferences and seminars, and thesis ideas. Spent the second half of the meeting fleshing out details for one thesis with the whole group.
4:15 – 5:00 – A new results section landed in my inbox! Spent the rest of the day commenting on that and jotting down points for the discussion section.
5:00 – now (8:15) – Daycare pick up, played at the playground, home for dinner, played with and read to toddler, bedtime. Texted with collaborator over IRB & data-sharing details – for a different project.
Usually this would be the end of my day. I don’t have much energy or desire to work in the evenings most days. But, I’m feeling underprepared for that conference call tomorrow morning, and it’s an early call, so I’ve got to spend some more time on that this evening.
A day like today, when big things get crossed off my to do list, feels really productive. It feels great to get a manuscript – especially that one – off my desk, even though the bulk of the work happened some time ago. Most days aren’t so writing-heavy, though I probably should make that happen more often. If I’d written this tomorrow instead the whole day would have been something like: meeting, teach, meeting, meeting, teach, meeting, crash.
So with that, I’m out. To get ready for the meetings and teaching to come tomorrow.