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Women in Science

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Video clip: Eleanor learnt from a university workshop (The Balanced Researcher) about the benefit of keeping protected time every day to write up her studies rather than waiting for three clear days (which never materialise).

Yeah, that’s, that’s, I think that’s one of the hardest things to, to give yourself protected time to achieve. It’s the thing you can always put to the bottom of the pile, it’s the thing that’s, that’s the hardest to do when you’ve, when you feel tired also, just, just to take one or two hours to you know to sit and to write. It’s much easier to be in responsive mode to your emails or the person knocking on your door. And actually I went on a very useful course that the university put on, it must have been four years ago and it was called, ‘How to be an effective researcher.’ And that was a very, very useful course. And it was about you know giving yourself small chunks of protected time every day to do the things that matter to you like, like getting your work written up. And I’ve tried to follow that advice. I think it’s very good because what does happen is you think, ‘Oh I’m going to put aside three days next week and I’m going to put the whole three days aside and I’m going to write this paper in these protected three days.’ And the three full days never comes because something else always crops up. So I’ve learnt now and it was very instructive on that course that was made very, very clear that if you’re a busy person you never get that kind of time. And, and a way to cope with that is to take small chunks each day and say right, one hour, no-one’s going to talk to me, I’m going to do what I need to do. And writing, and publishing your work is, is, is your metric of success. It’s the most important thing as a scientist. Yeah.

Do you, do you always find it easy to decide who the other authors are going to be or is there sometimes a problem with that? Or the order of the authors?

There can be and it’s interesting, I’ve got pretty good role models for this even and I’ve looked at people that have been very generous in that aspect. So rather than fight to be the first or last author every, they, they just said, ‘Okay fine, I’m not, you know I don’t, you can, you know you can take the position,’ and it’s quite interesting, quite often it’s a strategy that works because people want to, people want to work with you.

So I think there has to be give and take and it doesn’t serve you well to, to be very, you know to always fight for your own personal position. It doesn’t serve you well in the long term and I think you need to remember you are probably in this career for, well you know hopefully 30 years and you want to work with people around you for many, many years. And so there’s got to be some give and take.