I’ve been working over the Easter break unfortunately, mainly to catch up on a few bits of lab work, but haven’t been doing serious days, only a few hours each day, but damn, did I get some work done!?
I know there’s lots of articles out there saying people are more productive in shorter periods of times and specifically, scientists that work more hours are less/just as productive those who work way fewer hours (see here, here and here). I used to just shrug this off as I thought that the amount of lab work I could do in say a 50 hour week compared to just 5 hours is incomparable.
But then came along the Easter holiday. I wasn’t going home as I couldn’t afford tickets back (damn you GWR!), so I decided to catch up on some lab work over the long weekend. It started off with a meagre 2 hours in the lab on Friday (11am – 1pm) of just setting up cultures. Then Saturday came (1pm – 7pm), then Sunday, (2pm – 5pm) and Monday (2pm – 6pm). As you can tell, I didn’t aim to get in at any particular time.
So in total, over 4 days I spent on average just above 3 and 1/2 hours in the lab per day, when compared to a normal working week of 5 days, spending on average 6 hours per day in the lab doing/setting up experiments then the rest in the office. Even though I spent half the time, and the majority of it was setting up cultures for experiments, I got almost the same amount of work done…which is crazy!
So I’m going to agree with the research from a personal perspective and say…yes, spending your entire life in the lab doesn’t mean you’re going to be more productive! Here’s hoping over the next few and final months of my PhD that I can be even more productive in shorter times…I can hope…ha