Sakura Mentor

Research and Time Management
Pousali Mukherjee Updated in April 2021

I thank Sakura Science Club for giving me the opportunity to write the new report.

TIME- the precious thing that we always have, or rather I would say, we all want to have more and more. I feel time is the most important thing one should always keep in mind, but we make the mistake of always thinking, that we have more of it, when we actually do not.

In a country like Japan, people give very much importance to time and they are extremely dedicated to their work. They often come to work before time and continue working diligently even after office time is over and do overtime work. This is very very inspiring! I feel that all work has deadlines and we feel pressure as we near the deadline. So maybe, to avoid deadlines and last minute pressure, it is good to finish before. But what happens in case of researchers ? Especially, the PhD students whose time is very very limited to finish their project. And PhD students need a lot of thinking in order to do research.

I want to share my perspective on the importance of time as a PhD student in Japan. Here, Professors expect the students to finish their PhD within a span of 3 years, and scholarships are also scheduled that way. This is very different from the Western countries like United States, where students take at least 5 years, in some cases extending to 7 or 8 years. Well, this kind of situation has both kinds of pros and cons. So the bell starts ringing and the timer starts and countdown begins the moment the students are enrolled as new PhD students in Japanese universities, because we know that we have limited time to finish our research. This situation is not so difficult for the Japanese students and international Masters students (who continue PhD) because they actually get 5 years to complete their research with satisfaction. So although new PhD students feel stressed, they take it up as a challenge to finish it on time. The other thing I also see as a positive thing is to try to avoid procrastination. Well, that being said, it is not always true that I do not- for example, if we need to write a code to program, I may have 10 (at least 5) different ways in my head to tackle it. But trying all possible ways is although good way, but time is also an important factor. So we often go with I would not say the coding recipe that takes the less time, but here our intuition plays a major important factor to choose the correct recipe that turns out to be efficient.

As a PhD researcher myself, my advice is try not to get too stressed due to lack of time. Often we may have 5 or 10 different things to do and we are confused how to tackle. So we need to manage time with our intuition and complete our task.

Of course I had lots to share and write about this topic of time in light of a PhD student, but I want to stop here as my word limit ends almost.