How can a busy scientist prioritize items that are urgent and important?
August 4, 2013 5:00 PM Subscribe
I'm a research scientist and I sometimes give presentations. Presentations are unique because, while they aren't the most important part of my work, there is a built-in deadline. I can only work on them until the presentation time, and then I won't get another chance to redo that particular presentation. Most other things I can work on until they are done in the order of what is most important. But giving a good presentation is still pretty important. So when I have a presentation coming up it is hard to decide what to work on first. If I work mainly on the presentation then I feel like I am postponing my important regular research, which isn't great. If I work mainly on the research, then I feel like I am resigning myself to giving a more mediocre presentation, which isn't great either—it makes it less likely that people will understand the work and isn't good for my reputation generally. If I try to switch back and forth I lose concentration and energy due to the difficulty of context switching. Do you have suggestions for how to set priorities in this scenario or what has worked for you?