Thursday 21/05/2015

OK here it is, day one of #dailyphd… 

Welcome to the little lab space I call home (when I'm not at my actual home of course!)
Welcome to the little lab space I call home (when I’m not at my actual home of course!)

I arrived at work by 8:30am, and was in lab by 8:35am – strong start! I have a protocol (the one from yesterday) that involves a minimum 1 hr incubation so I thought I’d get cracking with that nice and early. By 9am my samples were happily incubating so I decided to get on with my lab rota duties. In our lab we have a weekly rota where one person is in charge of checking stocks of consumables, emptying communal bins, restocking paper towels – basically all the boring nitty gritty stuff that needs doing but never gets done unless it’s specifically allocated to someone. This week was my week, I worked through the list of jobs pretty swiftly and only have one left (which I’ll do tomorrow). Not sitting down at my computer first thing massively improves my productivity.

10am – checked my incubating samples and my enzyme hasn’t quite done its job yet so another 1 hr incubation for these little guys should hopefully do the trick.

10:15am checked blog and saw that some people have actually looked at it! This feels good even if the numbers are small (thanks twitter community 🙂 ). I’m immediately feeling much more accountable for my time (10mins on twitter is allowed though, right?). I’m still wrapping my head around wordpress so I spent a little time here and if anyone has tips to share please do! I’ve just worked out how to make sure I have buttons to share my blog via twitter, Facebook etc. and I’ve spent a quick pomodoro finishing a post for my other blog which I normally post on Friday’s.

Once I’d finished extracting my 30 DNA samples I had my lunch at ~1pm (it wasn’t a day where I sat in front of my computer to eat which is always good). After eating I spent a few minutes reading this THE article I’d spotted on Facebook earlier. My supervisor is firmly in favour of the thesis made up of publications approach and it does sound very appealing, but somehow I don’t imagine conventions changing before I begin writing. In my evening Twitter catch up I noticed this article got quite a lot of attention so I think it was a useful couple of minutes.

Wednesday afternoons effort
Wednesday afternoons effort
Today's additions 60/120 samples done: off to the -20 they go
Today’s additions 60/120 samples done, off to the -20 they go

By the time lunch was done it was 2pm and I had hour before my weekly team meeting which took up the rest of my working day. Normally I would prepare slides but I didn’t really have anything to put on them this week as my time’s been spent preparing samples (hopefully by next week’s meeting I’ll have lots of pretty pictures to show).

In the end I did actually make a few slides – sometimes it catches me by surprise that I’ve got some presentable things to show most weeks. We finished the meeting at ~5:30pm which gives me a spare few minutes to update the blog. Our meetings can be long, we’re a group of 6 including my supervisor, but we can talk & talk. This can be really useful and is generally time well spent (although normally we hold the meetings on a Friday to close out the week and that can be a little painful!). My to do list has grown slightly, as it always does, but not in an overwhelming way (which it definitely can some weeks). While time in meetings can sometimes feel like a drain on lab time my boss is normally pretty happy for us to pop in and out if we have an experiment running.

6pm was home time – I catch the train everyday and I’m home by just after 6:30pm (not a bad commute). I cooked dinner for my boyfriend and I (summer sausage casserole with mash – veggie sausages for me) and we sat down together at the dinner table to catch up on our days. We’re both busy so it’s nice to take the time to sit down together every day and enjoy our dinner. I love to cook, although I’ll fully own up to really not feeling like it some nights!

And that brings me up to date on today – 8pm and it’s time to relax (once the blog is up). That’s right this evening I don’t plan on doing any PhD work, I have a busy day tomorrow where I’ll extract the second half of my DNA samples (60 down, 60 to go) so that’s me done for the day, I’ll watch a little TV (while the boyfriend continues to play the eagerly awaited new Destiny expansion pack *confused face* that came out on Tuesday on his PS4).

I hope this first real post lives up to your expectations, the format isn’t set in stone and will probably evolve a bit as the days go on. Some days will be more boring than others so I apologise in advance :P. As I write more the details (like the weekly meeting) will hopefully become familiar so posts will probably get shorter. Until tomorrow everyone, and a huge thank you for reading 🙂 .

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