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At 2 AM, We Sleep

Time management is a key skill for any PI, writes Jack Lemming at the Nature Jobs blog. A schedule, he adds, can keep you focused and your research moving along.

He says to keep a detailed, up-to-date calendar. But, he notes, don't keep to it blindly and revisit it mid-week to account for any high-priority tasks that crop up.

Lemming also suggests scheduling meetings — and keeping them short — in a block, though he notes that won't always be possible.

In addition, share your calendar with your colleagues so they know when you're available, and similarly try using a shared filing system for the lab. That, he says, will cut down on the number of emails everybody gets.

Lemming further says to set aside time to catch up on reading about the latest researcher as well as time to meet with students. "Your undergraduate and PhD students will need regular guidance on the theory and practicalities of their science, and sometimes it's impractical to expect them to book a meeting in advance for a question that will take you a minute to answer," he says. "They will be the ones doing the science on the ground, so make sure to accommodate them whenever you can."

Lastly, he advises keeping it all flexible, as there will always be something that's forgotten or overlooked that needs to be taken care of.