I need distraction!

I, uhm, I discovered a weird thing today.

I may be a bit addicted to work…

This is not to say I’m a workaholic. Not at all. I love work-life balance, and I think I do a reasonable job at staying within the contract hours most weeks. But I noticed quite clearly today that when I opened my office door, I felt good about it. My brain needs to be stimulated, in order for it not to start attacking itself. Almost like how the immune system starts generating autoimmune reactions in a too sterile environment. It’s a weird thing, this brain. It never ceases to amaze me how it’s my best friend and my worst enemy. Finding the balance between those to is important. And my brain was in a state of increased self-attack. Time to start distracting, and what better way than with work?

I was happy to be back today. After two weeks of not touching it, I wiped the dust off my laptop, and started it up. Starting off with my weekly team meeting is always a positive start, and as we have started a new experiment today, the meeting was extra useful for me. What better way to start then with a useful thirty minutes with friendly faces?

The hour after, I finished some minor editorial revision for a paper recently accepted in Functional Ecology. I’m super happy about this one, as it was work executed by a former master student, who has left academia. Nevertheless, it’s great if a successful project – with some polishing obviously – ends up in a nice journal. I also had never published in the journal before, but this was not for lack of trying. I like the journal a lot, but thus far it didn’t seem to like me. I’m glad that I know took the final steps needed to add a paper in the journal to my resume. Although it was literally only 45 minutes of work, my mind blew it up over the holidays to a huge week-filling task. That’s my brain. It sometimes gets seriously impossible to listen to my mind. Ugh!

After another Zoom meeting with a small project group (which was good, but nothing to write about yet), me and part of the team met at our climate chamber facilities. A new experiment was planned, and there were pots to be filled. A nice set of 336 2L pots is now sitting quietly in one of our climate chambers. The second chamber will become available tomorrow, and from then, we can distribute all pots, water them, acclimatize, and basically the real thing can start. So far so good. If all goes well, I will be sowing next Monday! That’s usually the most nerve-wracking part. You never know with seeds. Although I usually don’t have problems with them, I chose a couple of species I have not worked with before – expand the horizon. Hopefully they germinate just fine. I’m already relieved to have full pots in the chambers.

For two weeks I was looking up to this day with anxiety, only to find out that it was a great day, and that I quite enjoy this part of my job. I need it. My brain needs it. Food for thought!

Published by Robin Heinen

Father of two | Husband | Entomologist and Ecologist | Postdoctoral Researcher @ TUM | Traveler | Coffee Addict

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