I made it to a rather high level in Academia (I'm a senior postdoc at the moment) but now I am stuck at this level (doing my 6th postdoc in 7 years). I was performing quite well when I had more or less clear goals set by my PIs but at this stage I have either individual funding or very hands-off PIs and I have to plan things myself. I think I have a pretty decent intuition and lots of interesting ideas, but the implementation stage is very tough for me. There are three problems.
- First, like in most (every?) STEM fields, in mine one has to fail many times in the process of getting an approximate solution to the problem one tries to solve. Normally, (as far as I understand) one is not discouraged or uses a couple of productivity tips/tricks and goes on to try another approach, until it works. I found out that, despite trying hard, these productivity tricks do not really work for me.
- Second, due to this uncertain time to solve the problem, it is also not really possible to plan the task by splitting it into small bits, like is often suggested.
- Third, even when I have the research done and I have to publish (or when I am writing a grant application), it is very difficult to polish the plots and fix wording of the paper. Again none of the standard tips really help me.
So, due to all this and me living alone and working 99% remote these days (my field is computational) I wallow in procrastination way too much of the time.
I understand that this affects everyone in science to some extent, but at some point I started to feel that it is not just me being more lazy than others or being unfit for the task, but that there is something deeper. So I went to a psychiatrist and got my ADHD diagnosis. Of course, my ADHD is not super severe (otherwise I would not make it to were I am), but it is bad enough to halt my career now, and I don't want it to happen.
So my question is: is there a good way to "gamify" scientific research somehow? Or maybe there are some other ways to deal with the problems I mentioned, specifically in the ADHD setting?
I know that there are some special cognitive tricks designed for ADHD people to help them achieve their goals, but none of them (as far as I know) works for scientific research due to these three reasons I mentioned above.