Falling Behind | Blog #2

If there’s one thing I know about myself, it’s that I love being busy. Having an automated checklist of my day-to-day activities as each hour goes by allows for mental preparation. It’s quite therapeutic when I am able to check the little boxes in my head when I finish a task.

Collect virgin flies for crosses – Check.

Set-up FLIC (Fly Liquid-food Interaction Counter) – Check.

Maintain my fly stocks – After 3 tedious hours, Check.

Etc, etc.

It’s absolutely addicting. I come into my research lab every day with a plan in my head, and once I start on my first task, a belt of other tasks is streamlined through the day. During the more monotonous routine tasks, I tend to listen to podcasts to keep my mind busy.

But slowly, this addiction has become overwhelming. My mental list of tasks has slowly increased in length. There are days where I end my day at the lab with a list of things that I would put for the next day / or just on the back burner. These unfinished tasks accumulate and it absolutely haunts me. One of the biggest tasks that I have been putting off is reading academic research papers. My days have been filled with experiments and upkeep of current data collection that I haven’t had time to just sit down and learn. I’ve been so ambitious in planning experiments with my graduate student to fully drive a hypothesis that I forgot the main premise of research. I’ve fallen behind on learning about the machinery behind what we are potentially investigating. Though I have kept myself busy with the mental list-making, I have struggled to keep my purpose in all of this. Keeping my purpose should be at the top of my mental list of things-to-do, but instead, it’s on the backburner.

But I’m making it a priority again because being busy without understanding why I need to keep myself busy is counterproductive.

Learn. – In progress.

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