Personal productivity is a topic of interest to many people, one might not think of productivity as being applicable in a scientific area but as a scientist I can tell you that it is a big topic with me. I often look back to my grad school days and remember when I could work on my dissertation or do data analysis for hours on end and time just seemed to fly by. This period of concentration (or Flow) was a state where I was at my best, I could write a program to do some image analysis, figure out a way to display information that made sense or come up with an innovative way to overcome a problem and most of all I really enjoyed it!

One idea I had is the incorporation of periods of time where you are naturally productive. It may not be possible to really be “productive” from 8:00-5:00 five days a week. One of the freedoms you have in grad school is to set your own schedule (in industry this can be done but not to nearly the same extent). My most productive time is once I get home and pull out the laptop and I can really get things done. There are fewer distractions and it is a more comfortable environment. When I was in grad school my most productive time was in the morning before everyone else in the lab arrived.

As a scientist I like to be on top of my game when I am faced with a question, problem or a particular need that is presented to me and needs an answer. Even figuring out some way to more efficiently do some repetitive data analysis gives me great satisfaction. I am looking for ideas on how to encourage Flow experiences and incorporate them into my daily life (especially in but not limited to work).