Thursday, January 26, 2006

What Science has Done to Me

Science has done something very bad to me. OK, so I don't know if it's necessarily bad; it could be good. All I really know is that it has done something to me.

It has made me into a leisure-time multitasker.

I used to be able to sit down, relax, and focus on something fun. Notice that I said "something fun" and not "some fun things".

Sadly, I fear those days are gone.

During the day I can always be found carrying around a minimum of 4-different files filled with papers on 4-different topics as I run around campus using equipment or teaching. If I have managed to sit down at my desk, you'll find me praying that my computer can handle the 3 Word files, 2 uber-large Excel workbooks, and data analyses software while I try to balance dissertation writing, manuscript editing, grant proposing, and data crunching.

You would think that I go home and slow down--I used to go home and slow down.

Now you will find me simmering several pots of lovely (mmmm...turkey meatballs and homemade marinara) on my stove while I run bathwater and read a few dozen pages of this, this, this and this. Reading one book at a time is for the weak.

Here's the sick part. I've actually also tried to throw in Yoga while the food is cooking and water is running, but my books kept getting in the way and/or closing on me while I suffered in down-facing-dog. At least I drew the line on that one.

I need to slow down. No wonder I'm tired.


At 4:09 PM, Blogger 21st Century Mom said...

Yes, you do need to slow down. It might not be science that has done this to you. It might be that you are avoiding thinking about life after you get your degree. If you keep busy enough that issue just disappears in the heap, no?

And yoga while doing 3 other things? No. No, no, no. The whole point of yoga is to slow down and turn your focus inward. I vote you stick with the yoga but drop the 3 other things while you are doing it.


At 4:21 PM, Blogger she falters to rise said...

Get out of my head 21st--you are too close for comfort;) I think you might be right that part of me is doing some tactical avoidance. I also think that I've become a little manic. I feel like if I'm not doing a bunch of things, then I'm being lazy/inefficient and I start to feel guilty. I don't know if that is stemming from an internal pressure or from some external circumstances surrounding my lab situation.

At 4:46 PM, Blogger Jessica said...

Wow...SFTR, I always knew you were an over-achiever but, gulp!

At 7:43 PM, Blogger Katie said...

I am starting to think that this is normal in science as well. I find myself doing trying to do all these things at once and feel lazy if I don't do at least two things at once. My advisor also fosters this type of behavior by telling us that when we are sick, why stay home and be sick? We can come to the lab and be sick and at least get some work done. Although I think this is perhaps normal in science, I don't think it is healthy. Maybe we can break this cycle when we graduate??????

At 1:34 AM, Blogger 21st Century Mom said...

Okay - new diagnoses from Dr. 21CM.

Graduate school induced mania coupled with fear of what the future holds.

I'm still prescribing yoga as a solo effort. No multi-tasking allowed during yoga.


Do it for 30 minutes and call me in the morning.

At 2:02 PM, Blogger ScienceWoman said...

I've read a few things in the general media about how doctors are seeing a rise in ADHD-like symptoms among adults - a result of always trying to multitask. And I've also read that we are actually less efficient when we multitask.

The problem for me now is trying to figure out how to cure the addiction to multi-tasking. At work and at home.

As per 21CM's advice, I've also been trying yoga. It helps for about an hour afterwards. I think also playing an instrument would help (can really only do one thing when playing music), but I can't find the time to do it.

Good luck with your efforts!

At 9:29 AM, Blogger trisha said...

I know I commented on this. I know I did.

I know because I am only capable of doing one thing at a time.

At 8:05 PM, Anonymous Denise said...

OMG. That is like me in year 3 of a science PhD. I miss relaxing rather than recovering liesure time! I'm making a conscious effort to tone down multitasking when I'm not at work, but it's really hard when there's always so much to do.

At 11:03 AM, Blogger sue said...

Sllllooooowwww doooowwwwnnn....

At 1:51 PM, Blogger Psycho Kitty said...

On the bright side, if you ever choose to have kids, you are already trained.


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