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GTD in science profession?

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  • GTD in science profession?

    Does anyone have advice on implementing GTD (or any lifehacks, for that matter) in an academic science career? I about to start my journey through graduate school in physics, and I would appreciate any input. Thanks!

  • #2
    You may want to do a general search of the DA site as this topic has been mentioned before. The link below, should take you to one such discussion:

    http://www.davidco.com/forum/showthr...hlight=science

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    • #3
      Good Luck in Graduate School!

      Originally posted by chazmanT
      Does anyone have advice on implementing GTD (or any lifehacks, for that matter) in an academic science career? I about to start my journey through graduate school in physics, and I would appreciate any input. Thanks!
      I have been director of graduate studies in my physics department for several years, and doing GTD for quite a while too. Some thoughts:

      GTD works very well for administrative and teaching duties without much customization. You have responsibilities, and you use your calendar and lists as tools. One important tip: always have something to write on when you interact with students. A small notepad, index cards, whatever. You can be very organized and effective here, except..

      In your first two years of graduate school, you will probably take three classes a semester, and spend somewhere around 10-15 hours per week on each of them in a normal week. You will likely have a weekly colloquium that you should attend, and more specialized weekly seminars as you move into research.Our graduate program specifies that TA's should spend up to 15 hours per week on TA duties, so it is not hard to get to 60 hours or more.

      Take notes everywhere. You will take notes in class, of course, but you will also benefit from taking notes as you read. It is possible to expand one page of a graduate physics text into four or more pages of calculation. Most people find such notes have little lasting value, but some keep them for years. Many people use a separate notebook for notes on talks they hear. Some system to manage paper is essential.

      Your own education and research will require most of your time and energy. Frankly, research is just difficult. A lot of information is thrust upon you, mostly disorganized, and you have to build a mental map of what is known for yourself. Ideally, you will find a way to fill in or extend the map. The GTD book does not devote too many pages to project thinking, but the material is helpful. Mindmaps and outlines work well for me. DA says that no project looks exactly like another, and that is certainly true in research.

      Good Luck!

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      • #4
        Originally posted by mcogilvie
        Frankly, research is just difficult. A lot of information is thrust upon you, mostly disorganized, and you have to build a mental map of what is known for yourself. Ideally, you will find a way to fill in or extend the map. The GTD book does not devote too many pages to project thinking, but the material is helpful.
        I'm a professor of physiology at a medical school. I have one or two suggestions that might help with this. Many people tell you to name your projects as the stated goal. I would say name them for research as the hypothesis. There is nothing that clarifies thought for a scientific research project like formulating this one sentence in a clear and consice manner. It can't be emphasized enough.

        The project planning section in the book (GTD) is, IMO, extremely helpful. Think it though carefully step by step and make sure you are ordering materials and reserving equipment well in advance. List the things you need at each step. Waiting on things like this are, at least for us, the biggest obstacles to efficent use of time.

        Good luck,
        Tom S.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Tom Shannon
          I'm a professor of physiology at a medical school. I have one or two suggestions that might help with this. Many people tell you to name your projects as the stated goal. I would say name them for research as the hypothesis. There is nothing that clarifies thought for a scientific research project like formulating this one sentence in a clear and consice manner. It can't be emphasized enough.

          The project planning section in the book (GTD) is, IMO, extremely helpful. Think it though carefully step by step and make sure you are ordering materials and reserving equipment well in advance. List the things you need at each step. Waiting on things like this are, at least for us, the biggest obstacles to efficent use of time.

          Good luck,
          Tom S.
          My wife is a neurobiologist, and you are right that having materials and equipment at the right time is important. I'm a theorist, albeit one who does large-scale simulation "experiments", and hypotheses are more fluid for me. NIH is a bit more dogmatic about the scientific method than other funding agencies.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by chazmanT
            Does anyone have advice on implementing GTD (or any lifehacks, for that matter) in an academic science career? I about to start my journey through graduate school in physics, and I would appreciate any input. Thanks!
            After almost 18 years as an scientist here are some good advice:

            1) create a good functional reference archive, registers and store notes and copies of papers or other important matter. make sure that you do this immediately and dont pile for archive later.

            I started with my own dbase II program which i later upgraded and changed to newer systems and still keep it up to date . It comprices several file cabinets and about 50 file boxes. Everything registered in an database so that i can find almost everything witin a few minutes.

            There is nothing called useless knowledge, everything you learn, and I mean EVERYTHING will be usefull one time or another in the future (something more often than others though)

            2) Make sure that you store all you PIM (calendar contacts task) information at one place, (I use a pda that is in sync. with a pc at work and at home) dont distinguish between private and professional matters. make sure that you can access this info whereever you are.

            3) read the books by David Allen and Stephen Cowey.

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            • #7
              thanks!

              Thanks for all the helpful advice! It is greatly appreciated.

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