March 3, 2017

Airplanes

Working in a bioinformatics service group is like working in Air Traffic Control.

You are constantly juggling hundreds of unique individual problems, all simultaneously up in the air and at different stages of completion. Some of them are in a holding stack of things to deal with later, whilst others are on the final approach to a deadline with no choice but to pay them your full attention.

Every problem is equally important and valuable, according to the owner of that problem and the people riding on its success. Every deadline is immovable due to demands on time and scheduling resources.

Get just one wrong and it is the end of the world. But continue to get them all right without ever dropping the ball and the owners of the problems barely notice.

The key to succeeding at the ultimate goal of barely being noticed is good time management. It is a skill which is hard to learn in itself as it involves suppressing all kinds of old bad habits, and requires you to learn to say no to new work even if secretly you'd be really interested in getting involved in it. It comes with practice, and the benefits are invaluable.

Topics: Bioinformatics, Bioinformatics, changing understanding, outsourcing, problems, time management