We do hope you had a lovely holiday season! Some of you have probably spent it working, whether it’s writing up thesis/paper or at the bench. Yes, that’s theoretically not expected in most cases and it is defiantly not healthy (not taking holidays is not healthy!), but we all do it or have done it at some point. Hopefully, it was at least worth it!

In any case, holidays are over now. Back to work, it is. For some of us it can be quite hard to get back into it. With the next holidays probably a while away and all these postponed tasks, which we did not want to start in December knowing we would not finish it before Christmas anyway. Well, now this excuse is gone. Looking at this big pile of work can be quite demoralising and soak up a lot of the energy you have just loaded. So what can you do to avoid this rather unpleasant feeling at the first day back at work? Your YSSC has thought of some tips to make it easier.

  • Break one big mountain into little hills: Most big tasks can be broken down into smaller ones, which gives you a chance to ease into it more slowly but still getting things done, even if it’s just: prepare a buffer, label tubes or looking up a protocol.
  • Organize your year: Take your calendar and sort up when you will be away for conferences and/or other work-related trips. This also makes you aware of deadlines and prevents missing them. Moreover, it shows potential timeframes for your next holiday, if that’s not already planned (put it in the calendar, something to look forward to, yeay).
  • Start with active tasks: prepare buffers, clean up your lab bench, throw out things you are not going to use anymore. You can actually see that you have done something very motivating!
  • Update your documents (usually quite quickly done): There will always be a next time where you need an up-to-date CV, publication list, LinkedIn/ResearchGate profile. If this moment comes you will be very pleased if you have done it already.
  • Make drafts: You can pre-format and save word files for your next abstract, presentations for your next talk or lab meeting. It will save time when needed and makes it much easier than to start from a completely empty page.

One of the most motivating things is to get something done. So if you are one of those people who enjoy making a “to do” list, you could make this a more pleasant tool by putting also small tasks on, thinks you can get done quickly and easily, so you can tick them off. First thing on your to do list could be clicking on the link below and starting to put together your application for the ISN-ASN advanced School and your registration for the Montreal conference…just saying. You will soon receive a letter from us about this as well.

Apart from ticking a task of your list, this also gives you something to look forward to. It certainly does for us. The six of us work very closely together, all via email and monthly Skype meetings, as we are distributed across the globe. As great as the technology is, it can never replace talking in person and having a direct meeting face to face. So we really look forward to seeing each other (and each of you reading this text) in Montreal. Not only for work but also just to have a chat and a drink at the social event. These opportunities are rare and precious and, if you have some people you feel the same about, maybe you can use the meeting also for this purpose. If you don`t have people like that yet, don’t worry, you certainly will after Montreal J

Have a successful start and a great year ahead!