Research stamina

Running a research project has more to do with a marathon than a sprint. Most good runners can nearly run forever if they avoid injuries and they stay hydrated and motivated.

Similarly, a creative worker can work nearly forever on a topic. A novelist can write 10 books in a saga. A researcher can produce 25 papers on a narrow topic. How do they do it?

  • You must not lose focus. It is easy to get interested in the a brand new idea and drop your current work. You should not change your focus without careful consideration.
  • You need a constant flow of new ideas. You should never focus exclusively on a narrow topic. You need the white noise. You need smart people making you think about alternatives. You need to draw analogies on what others are doing.
  • You must keep your job and sufficient funding to keep going. Obviously. Fortunately, many research topics require little more than your own salary.
  • You need to keep challenging yourself. The human mind degrades when subjected to routine tasks.

One thought on “Research stamina”

  1. Professor, I am absolutely with you on maintaining a idea pool and working on them, probably each at a different stage in the ‘processing pipeline’. Infact, while developing software as I see it it’s worthier to have a list of features to develop and a priority associated with each. Some times the higest priority task will be ‘hello world’. I just try deliver it I day ahead of time window, while stealing some time to work on a low priority /good to have/ or a long haul feature like refactoring the code base.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

To create code blocks or other preformatted text, indent by four spaces:

    This will be displayed in a monospaced font. The first four 
    spaces will be stripped off, but all other whitespace
    will be preserved.
    
    Markdown is turned off in code blocks:
     [This is not a link](http://example.com)

To create not a block, but an inline code span, use backticks:

Here is some inline `code`.

For more help see http://daringfireball.net/projects/markdown/syntax