I am the sort of person who usually stops the microwave with 30 seconds still on the clock, preferring to eat slightly cold food then wait a few moments longer.
But I find myself in a field where good things take a long time. Perhaps my perspective is skewed, as a trudging PhD student, but all around me, I see the painstakingly slow timeframe for research to evolve from a germinating idea to a shiny publication.
I am pretty sure research is more like a 20-pound turkey than a re-warmed bowl of soup.
You can’t zap a turkey in the microwave, pull it out half-way through and expect it to be delicious. You gotta cook/roast/broil (?) it for hours in order for the flavours to develop and also to ensure it is fit for human consumption (clearly I don’t cook turkeys very often).
Similarly, you can’t rush a research turkey. It sometimes seems to take an agonizingly long time, peering through the oven door to see if the skin is getting crispy. But just as no one wants to spend 48 hours vomiting from salmonella, rushing your research turkey can be hazardous to the research you are doing.
I am trying to learn the art of slowing down in order to learn skills to cook high-quality research birds using meticulous methods.
So, while I wait for this bird to cook (my first PhD paper is still in the oven), I have decided to create my own metrics of success, a personal process evaluation. Because while I can’t carve the bird and send it to my peers to get them to tell me what they think of my research turkey, I can still find ways to celebrate a good day’s work and process towards creating a tasty turkey.
So, here are some of the super fun ways that I track my process during the revision process: For this day, I decided that, with 4 final revisions to go, it is beer-o-clock and the rest can wait for a fresh brain tomorrow.
On another occasion, I fitted some trend lines to try to project when I might expect to finish the corrections, based on either linear or exponential assumptions of my rate.
Super fun times, right?!