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alkamid

Living in the Cambridge bubble

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Day 31 Before Draft

Quite surprisingly, thoroughness in processing did pay off last week. The yield increased from almost zero to over 50% which, for experimental science, is great. We got a few lasing devices, which is exactly what I needed to make one of the chapters more… experimental. Meanwhile I learned that I spent over 400 h in the cleanroom in the last year. When you divide it by weeks and days it only amounts to 2 h per day or so, but I usually go in for longer and then take a break, so it means that I spent 2-3 months almost entirely in the cleanroom. Given that I don’t really enjoy fabrication, it’s slightly depressing.

Last week I switched to writing mode. I am taking several weeks off the lab to lock myself in a room in my parents’ house during the day. My plan is to write 8 hours per day (+5 h at weekends). That’s 8 hours of reading, plotting (hmmm, I’ve just spent half an hour drawing two arrows in matplotlib), simulating and writing only — when I take a break to check my inbox, browse the internet or eat, the timer (Toggl) stops. Every 30 minutes I reward myself with a little break. I go for a 6-7 km run in the middle of the day. Running in the forest really helps me emptying the mind from clutter and refocusing. I’d love to have this opportunity in my new job.

The good news is that this routine seems to be working well. I feel like I am getting things done and my .tex files are growing. I started from what I thought was the worst/weakest chapter (the one without much experimental results) so hopefully the pace will only increase. The bad news is that I have not yet worked for 8 hours on any single day — the clock usually stops around 7. It might sound like I am wasting a lot of time, given that there are 16 h in a day. It is partially true, but on the other hand I have never been a fan of shutting myself off from social and family life during intense periods at work/uni. I better go back to writing. I am on 28 h now out of the planned 45 h for this week.