A day in the life of Dr. O

Jan 06 2012 Published by under Uncategorized

I was just reading Dr. Isis' latest post about her first day back from maternity leave, and it got me reminiscing. In my first few months as a working mom this past year, I thought I'd never figure out how to get it all done. Pumping, working, sleeping, commuting, dropping off the little one at daycare in the morning - it was all completely overwhelming. Everyone kept telling me we'd eventually settle into a routine, and you know what? We did, and our routine has now become, well, very routine. Especially without pumping interrupting my day. I'm used to it, and I like it. And it's all going to change next month.

In honor of this uprooting, I thought it might be nice to record my post-lactating routine for posterity. You know, a puff piece, which will probably only humor me, for this lovely Guest Blogge. 🙂 Here goes:

5:20 am: Alarm goes off; hit snooze.

5:30 am: Alarm goes off again; Hubby starts getting ready for work while I wander into the living room for some resistance training and a little light cardio with my new workout tape (thanks Mom!).

6:10 am: Workout complete, drink water and a quick cup of coffee as Hubby eats his breakfast and reads from his new Kindle Fire (thanks Mom, and Me).

6:30 am: Hubby heads off to work as I start getting ready.

7:00 am: Scarf down a bowl of cereal before Monkey wakes up.

7:05 am: Monkey wakes. I get him dressed, play a few minutes, then we head out the door.

7:45 am: Drop Monkey off at daycare; head into work.

8:15 am: At work. Unpack laptop and start checking email. Reply to sales rep in Tenure Track Town about installation of Awesome Piece of Equipment. Email future chair to see if my appointment letter has made it through "channels" yet.

9:00 am: Chat with lab tech over coffee while simultaneously reading blogs on Android.

9:15 am: Look over my to do list and prioritize today's "must-happen" items. Catch up on recent literature with Google Reader. Check out a few blogs and get inspired by one. Start writing a blog post of my own, then realize I have actual science to do.

10:30 am: Check results on latest Pain-In-My-Ass (PIMA) experiment - all crap. Write up some suggestions for fixing PIMA experiment in lab notebook, set up cultures for repeating PIMA experiment tomorrow.

12:00 pm: Eat lunch, visit a couple of blog posts that I want to comment on, return call from Monkey's hopeful future daycare in Tenure Track Town to see if he has a spot (he does, finally!!!).

1:00 pm: Work on manuscript; more literature reading; writing; head-banging because I can't get PIMA experiment to work and I NEED IT FOR THIS DAMNED PAPER!!!!!

3:00 pm: Break for Twitter to clear my head. Wander to break room to see if there are any treats - no. Wander to mentor's office for chocolate. Chat with mentor about random science stuff for a while.

4:00 pm: Back in front of manuscript; more literature reading; writing; more head-banging because I can't get PIMA experiment to work and I STILL NEED IT FOR THIS DAMNED PAPER!!!!!!!!!!!!!

5:30 pm: Call Hubby to see how my boys are doing and let him know I'm leaving soon; chat with at Monkey for a few minutes.

5:35 pm: Check to do list to make sure I've done all that I can in the lab for the day.

5:40 pm: Hurriedly finish writing up blog post that I started earlier.

6:00 pm: Head out the door.

6:45 pm: Arrive home. Monkey greets me at the door wearing a pajama shirt, no pants or diapers, and a ski hat, running around in circles and yelling. After laughing my ass off a moment, I carry him into his nursery and Hubby and I put him down for bed.

7:10 pm: Eat dinner with Hubby on the couch -  leftover pulled pork and a nice cucumber/tomato/pesto salad that Hubby made the night before, and a side of yogurt.

8:00 pm: Edit blog post while watching TV and schedule for the next day. Check Google Reader to see if any other blog posts or PubMed articles have been updated on my RSS feeds. Check Twitter. Check Facebook.

9:30 pm: Put computer away and lean back in the recliner.

10:00 pm: Hubby wakes me up to tell me it's time to get in bed.

28 responses so far

  • [...] I posted over at the Scientopia Guest Blogge about my daily routine, which is all about to change. Share this:ShareTwitterRedditFacebookEmailLinkedInPrintDiggLike [...]

  • Bashir says:

    Ouch. 45 minute commute. What do you do with that? Zone out? Books on tape?

    • Dr. O says:

      Sometimes listen to NPR. Sometimes chat with my mom on the bluetooth device she bought me. Sometimes listen to classical and think about science.

      But it seriously sucks. Notice the evening commute, when all I want to do is get home, is noticeably longer than the morning commute.

      One of the best things about our move to Tenure Track Town is that my commute will be approximately 6 miles round trip versus my current 20 miles each way. I'm ready.

      • Bashir says:

        That's nice. I'm spoiled. Mine is maybe 2 miles. Sometimes I'll start a song on the CD player and it'll end just as I'm pulling into my parking space.

  • Your commute also caught my eye. (And the fact that you schedule your day very differently than I do.) I've been thinking about commutes and 2-body problems recently. I've always been fortunate enough to live withing biking distance of my university so far, but I know that will have to change soon. Any ideas on how to cope with the dead time?

    • Dr. O says:

      Depends on what kind of commute you'll have.

      Mine is long due to both distance and traffic, which completely stresses me out, since the time can change drastically depending on weather, seasons, or an accident. I have traffic apps on my phone to direct my route which saves me sometimes. Other than that, it's just a matter of distracting myself from the traffic.

      If it's a long commute without a lot of traffic, then books on tape, a good news program, or just thinking about your day is a nice thing. I highly recommend a hands-free device to let you talk on the phone, too; sometimes that's the only way to catch some adult conversation time with Hubby.

  • moss says:

    Wow, just think how much more time you could spend with your family if you weren't blogging/twittering/reading blogs all the time!

  • gerty-z says:

    I, too, can't help but notice all the wasted time in your day. I mean, between snoozing the alarm, eating on the couch (50 min?!??!!!), and wandering around on the internet I calculate that you must be wasting 2-3 weeks/yr. Shameful. I expect more. Really.

  • Dr. O says:

    I really should learn to devote more of my life to science. Maybe if Monkey and Hubby don't make the move to Tenure Track Town with me, I can stay more focused. Thoughts???

    • gerty-z says:

      I think this is obv the best choice. Families can be really distracting, and really hold you back as you are trying to be a good scientist.

    • sigh{non-sarcastic}.

      I've just read Gerty-z' attempt to show you "the right way" to do all this, and it's hilarious, but I can't help but notice that there is a part of me that wants things to work out such that my partner has Epsilon during the week so that I can be more focused on just research.

      I know the conversation has mostly turned fun at this point, so I'm sorry to be a wet blanket.

      • gerty-z says:

        {non-sarcastic reply} You are certainly not alone with your struggles in this arena. I sometimes find it difficult to carve out time I would like to focus on research. It is hard. Every family has to do the best they can for their situation. Good luck!

      • Dr. O says:

        Agreed with Gerty so much here. I really don't spend much time with Monkey or Hubby during the week, as evidenced by my schedule. It's not that I don't want to, but I find myself taking advantage of every possible second with both of them on the weekends as a result; I don't like taking advantage of any of that time. I know several scientist parents have even more of an extreme version of this type of arrangement, and they make it work for them. The trick is finding what works for you, and not letting anybody else tell you you're wrong!!

  • gerty-z says:

    Here, I'll show you how to do it the right way 🙂 PING!.

  • Alyssa says:

    I'm so impressed that you exercise in the morning like that! Good on you! Hopefully you'll get a routine down quickly once you move (and you'll have more time because of a shorter commute - always nice).

    • Dr. O says:

      Truthfully, it's only been the past 4 days. I am impressed that I've kept it up that long; next week might likely be another story 🙂

  • leigh says:

    i commute about 6 miles each way, but it takes 25-35 min depending on traffic... and that's with knowing all the back roads and alternative routes.

    imagine all the extra science i could get done if i were willing to give up food and heat and health insurance and all that other unimportant stuff, and pony up the extra rent money to live closer to my science.

  • Jim Thomerson says:

    I lived 11 miles from the university and would drive or ride the bus. I used the time to think up interesting ideas which I would present to my colleagues. It was suggested that I really should move closer to the university and have a shorter commute.

    • Dr. O says:

      I would love the ability to take any kind of public transportation, but it would cost probably $100/week in PostDoc City, and the bus schedule is extremely limited. This place sucks regarding public transportation!! I still will be very happy to enjoy a shorter commute, but a better bus schedule and fee would also make my life much easier.

  • [...] Dr. O used her space on the Guest Blogge to make a record of how she spends her day. A commenter, Moss, was quick to point out how inefficient she was at using her time. I couldn't [...]

  • Yael says:

    I am also working on a PIMA experiment for a revision. Do you have any advice on how to get over the sick feeling/palpitations when doing those types of experiments? Ugh. All the best on that experiment...

  • [...] Dr. O and Gerty-Z recently blogged on how they allocate time in their day to various activities. I’m consistently trying to figure out how to make the most of my working hours, since between having two kids and a full plate at work, I struggle to get as much of the vitally-important stuff done as possible. Vitally important stuff=writing grants and papers (teaching is in this category for the semesters that I teach). Important stuff=making sure everything in lab is running fluidly and troubleshooting problems. Less important stuff=dept service. [...]

  • [...] was reading an article on scientopia about time management. On of the tenure track professors was talking about her [...]

  • Thisbe says:

    Well, everyone piled on to make fun of moss and that was entertaining. I found myself noticing the same thing though - there is an awful lot of time (a couple of hours, maybe?) during the workday that is not dedicated to doing the designated work. Which is fine, but I think if I found myself with a few extra hours during the workday to read and write blogs, I would strongly consider reorganizing my time-management plan. Internet is seductive, and I find it helpful to ask myself frequently when I am on the internet, "Is this REALLY how I want to be spending my time right now? The answer is so often "No."

    The response to moss also reminded me of the years I worked in a bakery. The economy was tough, and we hired an older lady who had been laid off from some office job (I think in social services, but unsure) because we felt sorry for her. It was terrible; she seemed totally unable to understand that if she was on the clock, she needed to be working. In her mind, spending fifteen minutes here and half an hour there chatting with coworkers about whatever was totally legitimate.

    I still have a visceral annoyed reaction to people intentionally spending time not working while at work, but I tend to think it's a culture thing. In many jobs, if you are spending an hour chatting with someone or poking the internet your shift will get cut short and you will be sent home because there is obviously not enough work for you.