/ Lab Management

5 ways to manage your research over the holidays

With the holidays just days away, your holiday break is excruciatingly close. While I always enjoy my break, looming deadlines prevent total relaxation. I've developed a few strategies to try to keep things moving forward even when I am away from the lab, comfortably drinking hot chocolate by a fireside.

1) Prepare your equipment for the break

There are many little lab chores that keep your research safe. Make sure to get them done before you leave. That includes refilling your incubators, water baths and cryotanks. Check your freezers for frost build up. This can prevent them from cooling efficiently or fully closing. If you are concerned about a less reliable freezer, a temperature probe can give you peace of mind while you are sipping eggnog. This way you won’t return to half-thawed samples and dead cell lines.

Pro tip: use TetraScience Monitoring for year-round peace of mind.

2) Give your paper/grant/report to your boss before the break

Handing in that big project before you leave for break is ideal! You get the satisfaction of wrapping up a project combined with a stress-free break and hard-earned relaxation. Just keep your fingers crossed that an email with edits doesn’t reel you back from time relaxing with family.

3) Reserve holiday break time for overbooked equipment

We all have that highly prized new piece of equipment that is always booked. Scheduling a multi-day experiment on the new shiny instrument is nearly impossible. BUT, the holiday break is the perfect time to book several days for your confocal time-lapse or a long plate reader study without risking the wrath of your fellow scientists.

For longer experiments, try to time the start and end of your experiment to coincide with your holiday break. Even with shorter experiments, you have a unique opportunity to focus on setting up the experiment and starting it. A local friend or late traveler might be able to shut the machine down for you.

Pro tip: TetraScience Utilization helps labs optimize lab equipment scheduling by providing unique insights into usage patterns.

4) Make holiday cookies!

This is a bit of a long shot, but hear me out. There is usually someone in the lab who is staying local for the holidays. Or maybe they are keeping their break short for a longer trip in the spring. A well-placed cookie could convince them to take that sample or do the reading that allows you to extend your break by a few days. Alternately, they can maintain your cell line, or be on call when monitoring sensors let you know that the freezer has failed.

5) Plan your experiments for after the holidays and order supplies now

Get a head start on 2017. Plan out experiments and place orders now. Don't be part of the flood of new orders that happen every January. Avoid having to wait on those reagents until you are back in the lab, and hit the ground running for a discovery-filled 2017.

Learn more about how TetraScience can help you manage your experiments and enjoy your break!

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*Custom remote santa cartoon via our friends at DigitalScience

Kristie Tevis

Kristie Tevis

Kristie holds a PhD for Biomedical Engineering from Boston University and has over a decade of research experience. She is currently working in protocol development and IP data organization.

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