Building and Managing Your Own Research Team

Managing Your Time

There is more to being a new PI than honour, glory and universal veneration. You will experience significant new demands on your time, particularly with the additional responsibility of running your own research team. You will have to manage your time like never before. Ask yourself, "Is my research program progressing?" If it's not, ask yourself why. The problem may be poor time management.

You MUST say "no" to lower-priority requests. Until you have been a faculty member for five years or so:

  • Limit the number of graduate committees you are on.

  • Try to avoid sitting on an external peer review panel, unless your oper- ating grant has been renewed once.

  • Avoid excessive collaborations where your research is not the main focus: collaborations that are helpfu l to others but not part of your core research program can dissipate your time, focus, money and energy.

  • Do not "chase" publications; focus on quality, not quantity.

Do not try to keep up with the literature completely. It can't be done. Instead, schedule some time Pach day to read about the most salient issues in your field, and learn to accept that there have been new developments that you don't know about.

Create a workday schedule that reflects your work priorities, and stick to it. If you leave your schedule open-ended, your time will be dissipated on unproductive, lower-priority activities.

In the same way, create a 24-HOUR schedule that reflects your LIFE priorities too, and stick to it. Don't let your work take over your life. Keep work fun by keeping it in its place.