Unorthodox time management tips for researchers

Even if you have never read a time management blog post or book, we all have tactics and tools we use to achieve our tasks. Some are more structured than others and we develop them in response to our own needs. Two researchers share their more unorthodox time management tactics as well as the tools they use to save time, or rather be more effective with the time they have.

Not-to-do list, aka the Idea Park
Ideas often generate more ideas which can become diversions from completing the task in hand. Rather than lose those ideas or get massively distracted by them, make a list of them to come back to another time. One researcher coined the phrase Not-to-do list but perhaps calling it an Idea Park may be a more positive term. If the ideas are particularly good, they are likely to make it on to one of your other task lists!

Conferences, particularly the smaller more specialised ones, can be incredibly invigorating and propelling. The key is to pick your conferences wisely and decide what your motivations are for going and what the outcomes will be. The smaller conferences often give better opportunities to discuss your work with others and increase your professional network.

Swimming pool, running shoes, mountain bike
Doing something solitary and physical gives both your body and mind a chance to recharge. This will help with your overall well-being. This type of activity is often neglected and not seen as important, but investing time this way will benefit to your mental state of mind, and help you to focus on your work.

Freezer, microwave and tumble dryer
Cooking in batches and freezing food that can be quickly reheated in the microwave and having clothes dry fast help save time. Household chores do tend to take a lower priority so anything that saves you time will be of benefit. If cooking is something that you like to do as a leisure activity to help you unwind, then this may not be applicable to you. The same goes for cleaning, some people enjoy cleaning as a physical activity but most of the time it is a procrastination activity.

Click here to read the full post and read on for another researcher’s favourite time saving tools and tactics.

Food flask
So with your batch cooked meals you can also just pop them into your food flask. Not only will this save you time at your chosen lunch break (no queuing at the café and finding a table to sit at) it will also save you cash.

Paper wheelie
Lugging large amounts of paper work and books around can encourage you to spend more time at the gym. However, to save you leaving that one paper or book at home when you need it in the office, or vice versa, you could put all the things you are working on into a very portable paper wheelie.

Yes, meditation has made it on to another list on how to manage academic life. The writer says that practising a daily meditation and reflection helps them to keep everything in perspective.

Click here to read the full post.

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