After a short vacation in July and some travel during August, I'm finally getting back into my normal routine. As I'm trying to wrap up a few projects (still), get a couple of new ones started, prepare for a comp, and wrangle my prospectus into shape, I'm trying to identify where I'm losing the most time during projects.
I realize a lot of people have a hard time getting projects started. I'm definitely one of them. For me, the time between a thought that I think is worth writing about and when I start putting ideas down on paper is entirely too long. I have to think and think about it. Solve a bunch of the problems in my head. Take copious notes (usually on paper). Read and read and read and read. And then I start putting it down, with the outline and form already figured out.
This presents two problems. First, I need to trust my knowledge of the literature more than I do. I need to just start writing the big picture stuff down and then fill in the details - or change it if the evidence suggests I'm wrong. Second, I suspect I use it as a delaying tactic. "Oh, I'm not going to start that yet, because I have this huge hurdle I need to figure out." Whereas writing it down and forcing myself to deal with it head-on would probably save me more time and increase my productivity.
Anyway, there is a very busy year ahead of me. I've managed thus far, but as my workload gets worse and worse, I'll be looking at (and sharing!) ways to make my research more efficient. Now to follow through....
Speaking of which, I told a few of you that I'd write about some odds and ends. It's on my list. I guess I should probably just start typing them and stop thinking about them.