Why do great meetings = more work?

I had, finally, an awesome meeting with my supervisor last week. Most of my recent meetings have felt very rushed. And so I’ve often walked out feeling like we didn’t have as deep a discussion as was likely needed.

But, this past meeting, we not only started pretty much on time (most recent meetings have been at least 10 minutes late), but we went over our normal time (normally he’s leaving 10 minutes before the end, to rush to his next meeting). It actually felt like I had his attention, and we had a really really good discussion about my current research. I had some concerns about our experimental design, and so we spent the time sorting it out.

Of course, like all of my meetings that seem to go well, I ended up with a whole lot of work. Our discussion resulted in a bunch of changes to our experiment. Good changes. As in I know they’ll make the experiment better. We have changes to help the participants focus on what we want them to pay attention to. And changes that will make our results easier to analyze by removing one variable. And some of these changes require submitting an ethics amendment.

Without fail, when I have a great meeting, I walk out with a better understanding of my research and the direction I’m headed in. Which ties in with a better understanding of what needs to be done next. And, if you know what needs to be done next, then you know what you’re working on – which means no more stumbling around trying to know what you need to work on.

But, it’s always kind of frustrating that you don’t really get a chance to walk away from a great meeting and just relax and feel great about the meeting. Instead you feel revved up and ready to work (which is good) but somewhat stressed with how much longer and/or detailed your to-do list has become (which sucks).

And, of course, the timing of all this sucks as I’m off to Grace Hopper tomorrow. And already had plans (actual ones + my plan to not work) this previous weekend. So, while I’ve spent time working on everything, I’m no where near close to having all the changes done before I leave. Looks like I’m going to be taking more than just papers to read on my trip.


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