I’m reading a book called “Getting Results the Agile Way” by J. D. Meier.
Meier worked at Microsoft, where he developed and refined this system. I’m studying it for ways to be more effective in my work as a graduate student, and hopefully to develop a personalized and refined system beyond graduate school into my work life.
The heart of the “Agile” system that Meier proposes is to do a “Monday Vision”, to plan for “Daily Outcomes”, and to do a “Friday Reflection”. Here’s some of my reflections on the system.
If you were to ask me, I’d say that Evernote’s more than “just a pretty cool piece of software”. It’s quite literally become the centre of most of my workflows.
In particular, I use Evernote extensively as a documentation system for my research work, effectively using it as a laboratory notebook. I’ve found Evernote to be a good replacement for a traditional pen-and-paper notebook, and it fulfills the ultimate goal that I have for making myself more efficient and effective in what I do. Here’s how I’ve used Evernote to get that done. Continue reading
Evernote has been lauded in many corners as a must-have in a scientist’s toolkit. But I’m sure that like me, there are people out there who don’t know where to start in using Evernote as a scientist-in-training. I’ve decided to share a bit of my thoughts on how one can use Evernote as a scientist, but rather than provide a simple listaragraph (list + paragraph) on how Evernote can be used, I will share more deeply on the workflows that I’ve designed using Evernote. In this post, I’ll share how I use Evernote to take reading notes on the papers I read.
I have a stack of papers I carry around with me all the time. It’s basically my “reading stack”. Right now, it’s 12 papers thick. In it, I have papers pertaining to all sorts of topics:
- 3 are on reassortment in influenza.
- 1 is on information theory to identify co-evolution in protein residues.
- 1 is a network analysis paper on global influenza spread.
- 3 are on influenza packaging and secondary structure.
- 4 are on wildlife epidemiology.
Upon seeing this list, two questions pop up to mind.
- Why is it that I haven’t processed these papers yet?
- Why don’t I have a better way of organizing them?
One might expect that yes, I should have read these papers. (The network analysis paper has been sitting in this stack for over 3 months now.) On the other hand, on second examination of my mental processes, I realized that I shouldn’t be organizing them.
I wanted to pen (type) some thoughts down on what the initial portion of the process of coming up with a research idea is like.
I can sum it up in one phrase: it looks like a valley. And there’s nothing to be ashamed of having difficulties crossing through it.
I have recently read the book by Jocelyn Glei of 99U called “Managing your day-to-day”, which provides some strategies for managing one’s day-to-day as a ‘creative professional’. Given the creative nature of graduate school, I consider myself a ‘creative’ of sorts as well. In particular, I took to heart the strategies pertaining to time usage, and I have implemented some of those strategies in a tangible form, which I’d like to share with everybody. Below, here’s 5 strategies that worked for me. Continue reading
Since I joined the Runstadler lab in late April, Jon has been particularly focused on ensuring that I get a thesis proposal hammered out early, with well-thought ideas written into it. Prior to actually sitting down and writing it out, I didn’t know what to expect while writing it. Having now ton 7 months into it, I finally have crystallized some thoughts on what the process is like, and what I think I could have done to make it more efficient (read: junior grad students – you might find some of this useful!). One thing nice about the process I’ve had is that I’ve had to come up with a research idea on my own, just like my fellow graduate student lab mates Kim and Chris, and so amongst us, there’s a strong sense of ownership and direction over the projects we’re undertaking.
So here we go.