We are now 10 whole days into 2017, and so far (fingers crossed), nobody famous has died. However, this analysis by MIT researchers suggests that 2017 might be worse. Anyway, after much careful thought, deliberation and coffee, here are my ‘Top New Years Resolutions That I Will Forget About By February’.
Be More Organised
This tops my list most years. So far, I’ve been making some excellent To Do lists, if I do say so myself. I’ve rediscovered my calendar and have been using it to block out sections of time for experiments, which I will hopefully stick to. Please bear in mind that I rediscover my calendar approximately 4 times a year, after forgetting to plan my experiments in advance and scheduling time for them. Fast forward to the end of March when I will no doubt be trawling through a notebook trying to find out what protein my PI told me to check for in my cells, ultimately giving in and throwing a cocktail on my Western instead. I’m not actually that unorganised, but have been known to run Westerns with no purpose, having forgotten why I started it in the first place.
Resolution: Put ‘make next To Do list’ on every To Do list.
Read More Papers
I’m going to assume that you’ve all seem the #365papers / #260papers / #230papers by now? For those of you that haven’t, the idea originated with reading one paper a day for a year, before somebody decided to do it excluding weekends, and finally taking off your holiday allowance and public holidays. Because nobody wants to be sat on the beach trying to get through a paywall. When I first heard of this, a bolt of fear hit me. That many papers in a year? No Sir Ree Bob. I didn’t know why, but something with it didn’t sit right with me. That was, until I read this post by Manu Saunders.
Working in cancer research, there are so many new papers published every single day, it would be nigh impossible to try and find one each day that would be relevant to my research. I admire anybody who is trying to do this, but why not focus on quality rather than quantity?
Resolution: Find one paper a week to read that will add value to my reading repertoire.
This is the most difficult one for me to write. Last year I made a huge step and switched to decaf tea at home. I couldn’t commit to this in work last year, because as we all know, every researcher needs that pick me up mid-morning, mid-day and mid-afternoon, just to keep on researching. As a stereotypical Brit, I drink on average 6 cups of tea a day. Less if I’m in the lab all day, more if not. Bearing in mind that I start my day with coffee too, I’m 90% confident that I might, possibly, have a (very small) caffeine addiction. As a side note, it is often too cold in our office to have cold drinks, even in summer. So that nice hot cup of tea is sometimes all I have to keep my fingers from falling off.
Resolution: Switch to decaf in work, or drink more water instead.
Have a Better Work Life Balance
My current side-hustle is tutoring, which I do three nights a week after Phd-ing. Combine this with a long distance relationship, and I spend most of my ‘free time’ either tutoring or travelling. I often have a bit of a guilty conscience that I’m not putting 100% into my PhD, but I do really think that tutoring is going to help me in the long run. This does often mean that I don’t have all that much time in the evenings to wind down and work on blogging, social media etc, but this year I really hope I’ll be able to be more organised (see point 1) which should help me out a bit.
Resolution: Add downtime into my calendar/To Do lists.
Fingers crossed that in December, I’ll be able to look back and think, damn, I smashed that this year 👊🏼
What are your resolutions that you’ll definitely keep/ you’ve already broken?