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December 21, 2007
Winterize Your Ideas
It’s time, across most of the drug industry, for people to prepare their labs for a few days off. Some companies officially close between Christmas and New Year’s. At the others, you’ll find about 20% occupancy, and those people will likely as not be taking advantage of the time to shovel stuff out of their offices. Not much drug discovery lab work gets done in the last week of December, I can tell you.
I’ve written before about how I used to leave my lab space in what I thought was good shape, only to come back after the break and find that I’d labeled flasks with helpful legends such as “Large Batch” or “2nd Run”. And every January, there I’d be, looking at some tan-colored stuff and thinking “Hmm. Second run of what, exactly?” I could usually work it out, but a couple of times over the years I’ve had to run NMR or mass spectra just to figure out what I was getting at.
So, make sure your stuff is labeled with something more intelligent, is my advice. And even more importantly, make notes to remember lines of research, and plans of what to do. It’s easy to lost the thread after being off for a while. This isn’t always bad – one of the good things about a break is that you lose the threads of a few things that are well lost. But it’s a good idea to write down what’s in progress, what you plan to do about it, and what you’re going to try to do next.
I’m convinced that a lot of good ideas get lost. They're not followed up on, they're forgotten, or they're buried under later duties. I've been trying to keep that from happening, which is one reason I was asking about literature and note-organizing software a while ago (more on that in January). One of my tasks today is making sure that all the current thoughts I have are battened down for the season. As usual, it'll probably turn out that some of the things I'm doing now would be well replaced by some of the things I've just been thinking about.
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