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Questions tagged [time-management]

Concerning the use of available working time to accomplish the greatest possible amount of work by improving efficiency, minimizing wasted time or procrastination, etc.

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245
votes
20answers
25k views

How to avoid procrastination during the research phase of my PhD?

I just finished all of my coursework for my PhD program, and am entering the research phase of my degree with a topic already in mind. I've already started the research, but I'm already finding that ...
87
votes
5answers
8k views

What productive academic work can you do with minimal attention in a small (<30 minutes) block of time?

Ok, here is a major issue I have with much of my work (which is experimental/computational research): I am a graduate student, and spend much of my day doing 5, 10, 20 and 30 minute experiments (both ...
60
votes
10answers
11k views

How to get work done on the weekends

As an undergraduate, I had a problem: I could work very efficiently during the week, but over the weekend I could get absolutely nothing done. Usually my plans for the weekend would include errands, ...
56
votes
4answers
5k views

How do you balance producing results with learning new skills?

On the one hand, I'd like to produce a few graphs every week so my project can move forward. Taking a month off to learn a new programming language, do a literature review, or work through a relevant ...
55
votes
10answers
8k views

Can I learn the course material for the first time while I'm teaching it?

If I'm going to give students the course X in next semester. Should I have full understanding of the subject before I teach them or can I learn about the topics before I go to the class and then teach ...
54
votes
11answers
6k views

How to make thesis-writing feel less tedious?

I'm about to finish my master's thesis on a TCS topic (algorithms). I'm quite happy with my results; the most engaging part of the thesis was grappling with getting up to speed on the state of the art,...
49
votes
7answers
5k views

How to be efficient as a graduate student juggling classes, TA and research?

I am a first year PhD student, and it's the fourth week of school. I am taking two classes, doing one grad class TA and doing a lab rotation. I am in Electrical Engineering (Controls and DSP). I ...
47
votes
6answers
3k views

How to avoid thinking about research in free time?

I work on research, trying to get grants and publish papers and the like, I really like my job, could not think about doing anything else. When the weekend comes, or just free time I have the problem ...
44
votes
3answers
3k views

How can I improve the effectiveness of my literature searches?

OK, I know this is a pretty basic question but I haven't been able to come up with any really satisfactory solutions. (I have searched around on this site, but none of the related questions precisely ...
41
votes
7answers
6k views

How do academics with teaching responsibilities, etc. find the time to do research?

How do academics manage to do research when they are lecturing and running courses, helping students, writing up assignments and tests, marking assignments and tests, supervising graduate students, ...
38
votes
2answers
1k views

How do I politely and tactfully tell my advisor that I would like more consistency in meetings?

I am a PhD student. My advisor is great, but like all academics is very busy (administrative duties, other students, research...). What happens almost every time I try to have a meeting, since the ...
37
votes
10answers
11k views

Why don't colleges make terms shorter and with fewer classes?

Instead of the typical 4 classes every 10 weeks, why not 2 classes every 5 weeks? Condensed courses usually means: Taking less courses at the same time which makes compartmentalization for ...
34
votes
12answers
8k views

How do you manage to study and have a balance in your life at the same time? [closed]

Over the last couple of years, math and programming have become a big part of my life; I know I’ll pursue a career involving CS and math (most probably machine learning) and usually, my days revolve ...
34
votes
7answers
5k views

Is it fair to offer students a last-minute extension to finish a test?

A friend of mine who is a CS grad student at a US university took a class in which the students were given an extra hour on a two-hour exam. The trouble is that this offer was made in the last five ...
34
votes
2answers
1k views

What are some ways to increase grading speed?

I sometimes spend too much time on grading students' homework in the class I am a TA for. I am asking if there are some ways to improve grading speed? I hope that I can learn some useful tips from ...
32
votes
3answers
18k views

How long should it take to read a paper?

I am wondering how long it usually takes to read a research article. I can see that the answer depends on: The knowledge and intelligence of the reader The field of research The journal The ...
31
votes
6answers
4k views

How to not lose focus after each disruption in flow

I have observed that whenever I'm studying something, or solving an assignment, whenever I would hit a question which I am unable to solve or is taking too long for me to do, my mind wanders away from ...
31
votes
3answers
2k views

How do you manage to work on multiple research projects?

Things that make multiple research projects different and single project: Inertia that sets in once I have spent a few weeks on single one of them. The 'switching cost' seems too high to me, and it ...
28
votes
5answers
3k views

How many papers should I be reviewing as a referee?

Like many academics with an active research program, I am asked to review many papers. Borrowing an idea from peer-to-peer file sharing companies, I try to keep a rough sense of my recent "ratio" of ...
26
votes
3answers
2k views

How to regain lost focus? [closed]

I seem to have lost the focus that I once used to have. Few years back I was able to study for 4 hours straight but now its hardly possible for me to focus for 15 minutes. Any advice on how to regain ...
25
votes
5answers
2k views

Doing a PhD with significant external time obligations (e.g., marriage)

Graduate school has a reputation for being a tremendous time-sink. I'm currently married with kids, and I have a fairly busy extracurricular schedule. Is it common for married people - or anyone, ...
25
votes
3answers
1k views

How to efficiently plan holidays in academia?

It is holiday season, so I thought of re-considering my ways of holiday planning. As a student, holidays in academia are somewhat shaped by the semester breaks and the lecture-free period. Working ...
25
votes
1answer
515 views

Is there an optimum time to leave between writing and self-proofreading?

Having read a number of guides on tips to do when proofreading as well as some questions on this website. They all refer to leaving some time between writing and proofreading. This time can vary from ...
24
votes
5answers
3k views

How to tell supervisor too many lengthy meetings are hurting your productivity?

My supervisor wants us to meet 3-5 times in a week with another PhD student of his. Every meeting is on average more than couple of hours. I don't know about the other student. But I feel like we are ...
24
votes
5answers
913 views

Balancing coursework, research, and teaching

I'm a first-year graduate student, and I just joined a computational chemistry laboratory. I have three tasks now: pass all my courses, fulfill my TA duties, and start research. I'm finding that I'm ...
23
votes
4answers
9k views

Use cases of org-mode as a scientific productivity tool for academics without programming needs

I am a social scientist working primarily on Linux, but also at times required to work on Windows systems at the University. I have been looking to improve my productivity in the academic workflow ...
23
votes
3answers
1k views

Does becoming good at scientific research force one to become one dimensional?

I'm an individual interested in multiple academic disciplines such as neuroscience, biological engineering, computer science, history, anthropology, psychology, political theory ... to name just a few....
22
votes
4answers
4k views

Should I apologize to my coauthors for being slow to finish a paper draft?

I am first author on a paper about my research from last summer. Due to a busy school year and a bout of severe depression, I have taken FAR longer to finish this paper than originally planned. ...
22
votes
4answers
582 views

Pre-tenure strategies to spend less time on bureaucracy, and more on research

In the past year, as faculty, I have spent 33% of my time on paperwork and bureaucratic activities. This does not include service (committees,department meetings, etc), and is after hiring a full time ...
21
votes
3answers
1k views

Ways to manage something like a 'work-life balance'?

According to a recent international study on work-life balance within academia "a majority of researchers and scientists had conflicts between their work schedules and personal lives at least two ...
21
votes
5answers
14k views

Average time alloted for manuscript review across disciplines

I am asking this question because I've always had the impression that manuscripts submitted to a journal in my field (theoretical linguistics) take an insanely long time to get published, and ...
20
votes
5answers
26k views

How many hours a day on Mathematics as a successful student?

My motivation to ask this question actually comes from here, receiving negative reactions for 12 hours a day or even 7 hours spending time on Mathematics. A person usually spends 4.5 years to ...
20
votes
5answers
4k views

How to prevent too many students from making appointments to meet with you when you put “Office Hours: …, or by appointment” on the syllabus?

In the past I have included the following statement on my syllabus: Office Hours: Mon 1-2pm, Weds 3-5pm, or by appointment However, I am beginning to get too many requests for appointments. ...
18
votes
5answers
9k views

Getting a pet during a PhD

There are questions on here about getting married, having kids, and other major time commitments during graduate school. But one thing that I haven't seen posted -- but that I've seen come up with ...
18
votes
5answers
1k views

How do I tactfully tell my advisor (who's much busier than I am) that I'm too busy to do such-and-such?

I recognize my advisor is busier than I am. But, nonetheless, I feel the need to tell her sometimes that I am overloaded with too many tasks and I need to push a deadline back or pass on some request. ...
18
votes
1answer
2k views

Is there any research on applying Agile/Extreme/Lean methods in academic research?

I've been enjoying quite a lot of literature, all published within the last ten years, on how to handle projects, ideas, development, thinking, and so in with processes like Extreme, Agile, or Lean. ...
18
votes
3answers
282 views

How to replicate others' results quickly?

Lately, I've been getting the impression that before I can conduct cutting edge research, I have to first master state of the art methods/techniques. Often, this requires spending (i.e. wasting) lots ...
17
votes
2answers
2k views

Progress tracking tool for managing PhD students

I am looking for good options for tools to manage my PhD students, in terms of seeing that they are on track in working out their PhD theses (I am in the UK, three year system) and are hitting their ...
16
votes
3answers
1k views

When should I release deadlines for assignments?

Some students have been asking that I release all the assignments and their due dates at the beginning of the course. I suppose that I could create some estimates, but I suspect that we will end up ...
16
votes
5answers
6k views

How many “office hours” are common (or standard) for full-time lecturers?

In situations where one teaches purely undergraduate students (20 hours per week, 16 weeks per semester, 2 semesters per year) how many hours per week, and how many weeks per year, are people normally ...
16
votes
4answers
958 views

I gave up on a PhD because of time management, shall I try a second time?

Background A year ago I gave up on my (first attempt at getting a) PhD because I could not stand the needed time management. I am a mosaic autist but I do live with it without major issues. My only ...
15
votes
2answers
206 views

Balancing between finishing past projects and working on current ones

Personally, I never feel done with projects, as there are always a few open projects, in which I'm involved in. (And typically 1-2 which "I should have finished year ago or so".) First, what are good ...
15
votes
1answer
712 views

Life Hacks: Teacher Edition! [closed]

Now that I've gotten your attention with that terrible title... The Mathematical Association of America used to regularly run a column called Teaching Time Savers, an archive of which can be found ...
13
votes
3answers
971 views

Time management as a TA in mathematics

I just started being a TA in mathematics at a university in continental Europe. My big problem is my time management: I feel like I don't have time for my own research. During a working time of 40h ...
12
votes
2answers
534 views

Is there generally a high amount of variability in the number of hours grad students put to work each week?

As in, it's certainly not a standard 8-5 job of 40-50 hours per week. Is it common (and expected) for them to sometimes put in 80 hours a week, and to occasionally put in 10 hours? (say, during times ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

Should I cancel / alter office hours for committee meetings?

My contract requires that I maintain a certain number of office hours a week where I am available to meet with students. In practice this time is rarely entirely taken up by student meetings however. ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

How to mark student reports more efficiently

I have been assigned to mark student reports for an engineering coursework, which mainly involves the use of a software. The main content of each report is around 15 pages. There are 45 reports in ...
10
votes
2answers
730 views

Strategies to avoid burn out due to systemic lack of time

When I was an undergrad student I used to procrastinate a lot. I managed to get things done in the nick of time by staying up all night before exams, and so on. Not very different from what Tim Urban ...
10
votes
1answer
568 views

How to stay motivated when working on projects by yourself?

My advisor told me that I needed to be an independent researcher, so I came up with a project by myself. But I don't really work on it because there are no deadlines and no one else is involved with ...
9
votes
2answers
506 views

How to salvage a rejected paper when you don't have time to correct it?

I just submitted a paper to a conference. The reviewers gave me their responses only two days before the deadline to resubmit the paper. They seemed to indicate that my paper was on topic, and had ...