I’m guessing that not many of our readers are that into ice hockey (don’t get me started about calling it ice hockey…). However, this year the National Hockey League owners and players could not reach a deal. Aka billionaires fight millionaires for more money while Canadians suffer without hockey. And unfortunately, this was the first time in 3 years my husband and I have been home for Christmas with the potential opportunity to watch live hockey. ARGH! (although update – deal has been made and hockey will resume although petition is going for empty stadiums to teach them a lesson…) What I miss most about hockey though is that thrilling, last minute pressure to score a goal as the clock ticks down and your team is trailing (which sadly my team is quite good at!). But interestingly enough, I’m getting that same feeling of the time ticking down as I madly try to score a figurative goal.
You see, I’m in Canada working on a collaborative research project here with a colleague (actually my previous Master’s supervisor)…but here’s the kicker. I only have 8 weeks…of which 1 week was Christmas…of which now only 3.5 weeks remain. And I still need to collect the majority of the data I planned to collect!
Now here’s the real kick in the pants…I planned ahead. We started talking about this project in February when I applied for the travel award. We continued sporadically chatting over the year and this culminated in putting the ethics through prior to me arriving. However, then when I arrived and started piloting everything…that is when the madness began! Suffice to say, various versions of the protocol have now been piloted on 5 people with what is, at least, a clear way forward and an ethics amendment submitted. But now as I wait I feel the time ticking and the pressure to score that last minute goal!
So I’ve compiled my list of things to not freak out about when you have a tight schedule on a project and/or things to keep in mind (mainly to also make myself feel better):
1. Take your time with the piloting stage. There is nothing worse than haphazardly piloting a protocol only to realize later that you get very different results when you actually do everything properly.
2. Don’t worry or beat yourself up when the piloting stage is taking ages. It may feel like you are not making progress, but you are.
3. Keep your project hovering in the back of your mind – little thoughts about it here and there often result in a big step forward.
4. Take a break from it for a couple of day (if possible). My way forward came over Christmas break when I had finally relaxed.
5. Believe. You can do it! You can do it! You can do it!
6. Strategize as you go. Perhaps you cannot get the whole sample collected, but decide what type of recruitment will get you the farthest (ie, collect all data from one group vs half of the data from both groups).
7. Always remember the rule of pi. However long you think something will take, multiply it by 3.14 and that will be the actual amount of time it takes. Keep this in mind for future planning!
I think that’s all I have, but here’s hoping the last minute goal is on its way!
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