When driving on a highway, and hitting a road-construction area, you are often informed that the road will be under reconstructon for two months. “Why two months?” you think, but you understand when you spot the two guys who are responsible for fixing the 2km degenerated asphalt-strip. The next question in your head is something like: “Why not do them roads one by one with 10 people instead of doing five of them at the same time really slow with only 2 people on each?”
It is a little bit like that in ancient DNA. What to prioritize? Reporting old grants is important and should be done thoroughly and respectfully to the organization that financed the project (like that major research-grant you just finished and are to report in four days). But you also have to process all the new material you have been receiving, some of the stuff is really cool and could produce some really interesting results (it is amazing how small you feel when you look at all the samples waiting in line…). Then there are the six manuscripts you are presently working on, all of them so close to being finished and submittable, just a few more hours on each of them. And some of them are really competitive, so maybe one or two of those? And of course the position you are hiring for, you need to organize interviews and meetings etc for that one. That is really important too, because then you will get more people who can help out with all of the above. Which one to choose, to focus one?
When you drive home from work, and again hit that 2km strip under reconstruction, you realize why there are only two guys working there for a super-extended time period.
You feel so small…