Thursday, March 11, 2010

4-Day Work Week

When I was negotiating my contract with my PI, I asked to work four days a week. That way, I could use my day off to work on other things --- such as the education & outreach program I'm trying to develop for a nearby observatory, catching up on my reading and/or knitting, working out, or doing chores.

It was all nice at first, but now I'm finding it strangely stressful. I almost feel like four days a week isn't enough time to be as productive as I'd like to be. I end up feeling guilty for not working on my day off, because I should be getting more things done.

I'm sure it doesn't help that my progress is pretty slow because of the high learning curve. All I did the first 3-4 weeks was read, and there is still so much that I want to learn, but I wanted to move on to...you know...actually doing stuff.

I also feel like I should be performing at a higher level because I'm a post-doc now, and I should just know how to do shit. I know that I've changed research areas, and my PI is very understanding of that, but I don't want to disappoint her either.

Another issue is that I seem to have about a million and one other things I'm working on. I'm heading up the steering committee for the education & outreach program, and I'm on another steering committee for a new education conference. I also want to finish up the work I was doing in my other post-doc, and write up a paper on that. Then, I'm a member of the post-doctoral association executive council. Oh, and then there's the whole we-just-bought-a-house and trying-for-a-baby things, plus trying to keep up my hobbies of reading and knitting...and trying to get to the gym too...oh, and keeping up with my two blogs...

It's nice to be busy in a way, but I'm finding I can't concentrate on what I'm doing because I'm thinking about everything else I need to be doing. I know I've juggled stuff like this in the past, so I've started to make more specific goals each day so that I can focus more. It's been helpful, but I still feel like I'm all over the place sometimes.

Sigh - does life ever calm down?