What are your methods in maximizing research output? I, a junior researcher without teaching duties at the moment, have been trying to work more and more hours, pushing leisure closer and closer to zero. However, I have the impression that further increases in working hours lead to a considerable decrease in productivity, to an extent that more working hours even decrease the overall quantity of produced research.

There is a general discussion on productivity, but I would like to collect methods that proved to be the most suitable for researchers. Do you adjust your nutrition? Do you engage in a specific type of physical exercise? Do you use specific scheduling techniques? How do you keep yourself from procrastinating? Do you stick to fixed time slots for leisure? How many working hours per week do, according to your experience, maximize output? Feel free to come up with further questions.

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    Wow, don't turn yourself into a paper generating machine. Having said that, you can try searching the net for 'how to be a prolific writer'; e.g., prolifiko.com/…. There are other ways, like improving your networking skills and participating in many projects. You should really focus on what interests you, and work within your capacity. What person-X can do may not be suitable for you. Commented Feb 9, 2021 at 20:42
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    I recommend high doses of doing nothing. Commented Feb 9, 2021 at 20:56
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    Hmmm. Maximizing. Wrong idea, I think. Optimizing might be appropriate.
    – Buffy
    Commented Feb 9, 2021 at 21:23
  • Related questions: academia.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/4864/… Commented Feb 9, 2021 at 22:33

1 Answer 1


There is a saying in industry that one should work smarter, not necessarily more. Write out your high level goals for the next 1 month, 6 months, 1 year, etc., then set out a detailed roadmap on what needs to happen and when, to get there. Then execute on those milestones. Don't read every paper you come across, read those that further you along your path. Give yourself deadlines to start/finish manuscripts. Hold yourself accountable. Sometimes that overwhelming feeling of not getting enough done is simply a lack of clarity on what needs to be done.

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