I am a PhD in computational materials science, and I have been offered a stop gap postdoc position (at the moment for 6 months) by my PhD supervisor which I will be starting a month after my defense. Now, I have many manuscripts pending for submission and getting them out will be the highest priority for the next couple of months. But apart from that and searching for new opportunities, what should be my prime focus during this duration? My advisor is a handsoff person and will give me full freedom to pursue my interests. I want to stay in academia.
My plan: I want to upgrade my python programming skills and experience (I will be actively participating in kaggle competitions), and also want to work in incorporating machine learning in my field of research (something that is being done in my field). I also have to work on my technical knowledge and improve my experience with the numerical method I have used in my PhD research.
Keeping all this in mind,
Will it be a good move for my academic career to explore new topics during this short postdoc position, try to publish something in an area I would like to work in the near future? Focus on get my pending papers out and learn new skills along the way?
I am really serious about this and I am confident that I can put my 100% effort in the work. My question is, as an experienced academic, what is your opinion on my plan?