I wonder…

if I am a Koala which

Like wombats and sloths, has a very low metabolic rate for a mammal and rests motionless for about 16 to 18 hours a day, sleeping most of that time.

This is what I did last week

Monday: I woke up at 5 am. I did not sleep Sunday night. Ever since the semester got over and I had no 9 am classes to attend, I have kept pushing back the time I hit bed in the night, often reading up late, or watching a movie, or spoiling another persons schedule by chatting up late.

I also had a trivial matter of finishing up some examples that I was making for my adviser’s book. 2 among them were exceptionally straightforward, and I had been avoiding typing it up. And, I did those two problems in 2 hours of non-stop work on Monday morning, from 6 to 8 and then slept off. The whole afternoon went in a meeting with the adviser to get the examples fixed in his book, and I saw a movie in the evening and dozed off

Tuesday: I hoped that a Monday with as little sleep as possible would get me back to normal schedule. And it almost worked.Β  Went to office by 10 and started working on the last example that I had to finish. It was for a chapter that is not directly related to my research and I had to use another student’s code, and I spent a lot of time trying to figure out if bugs in his code were not actually bugs. Late morning was another short meeting with the adviser, and then I slacked off for most of Tuesday, doing nothing, (except getting frustrated at apt-get upgrade and even more frustrated with installing Octave 3.2.0)

Wednesday: Wednesday was the day for the scheduled bi-weekly research meetings with the adviser. I woke up at 9, but lazed around in bed till noon, made lunch and strolled into office at 1:30. Played around with the last example, and convinced myself that there were bugs in the other students code, and went into the meeting with no progress to show, but a question that had bothered me for 10 minutes a few days ago regarding the model that I was using. Luckily, that question was enough fodder and we spoke for an hour about it. It has become a norm that I hardly work after research meetings, and I came back home and slept.

Thursday: Was less lazier than Friday. I spoke to the other student forΒ  about 15 minutes. He understood his mistakes and said that he will finish the example. So, one work less for me.Β  I came back and spent time making my system work like before after installing Octave3.2.0. Downloaded a few papers, which I thought would give me some super idea to further the ideas that the meeting on Wednesday generated. Read a few of them, and each one of them was crappy. Thought a little, and got an idea anyway. All this took around 45 minutes. The “intellectual” strain made me tired and I slept off, woke up later and wrote the previous blog and then dozed off again

Friday: Was the laziest of all. Woke up at 9, but decided that I need to finish the awesome dream that I was having, and so slept and tried to recreate the awesome settings of the dream. But, what is awesome when you are in deep sleep, is plain illogical when you are semi-awake and try to recreate it, but free association in a semi-awake state can lead to colourful dreams, and I dozed till 3 in the afternoon, made lunch, had it, and napped again till 6 (this was because of “An Equal Music”). Rishi called at 6, and spent the next six hours drinking beer (Self note: I am getting older, and my body rebelled for 3 22 ounce glasses of beer with vomit last night. Need to decrease the amount to just 1 beer) and chatting aimleslly.

And finally on Saturday, I analyzed the previous week and realized that I spent 7 hours meeting my adviser, 2.5 hours working on the examples, 1 hour downloading and reading paper, and generating an idea (which in all probability will be thrashed next meeting), and slept for a massive 58 hours the previous week, averaging nearly 12 hours a day. The question that begs to be asked is:

Am I so lazy because the PhD affords me the luxury of being lazy (ya! most of the time no boss and no deadlines) or is it because I am so lazy that I opted for a PhD?

So, I have made myself this plan, to finish work that in my lazy schedule, I would have taken ages to do, but in actually, would not have required so much time, and a little ambitiously, plan to finish it in 10 days. I have a feeling I won’t be, but I am sure I will do a lot, if I actually get to office and work furiously. Lets see

Plan for the next 10 days

Plan for the next 10 days

PS: The first “no” in the last column needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. I prepared this to-do list almost at the verge of being bored with work. I decided not to split the work in item (1) because then there is a flow to the to-do list. But let me see how subsequent updates on the plan works!


Sunday: Another “no”. I realized that making the matrices was not as trivial as I thought it would be. But, it is boring work, because the fun begins after the matrices are coded up. Also, a plan to go to Chicago might just materialize next weekend, so a major blow to my plans. Lets see what Monday brings!

Monday: Work was progressing smoothly, till my computer decided that it has been used enough for the day and refused to work. Don’t know how much of a setback this is going to be. Hopefully, it can be fixed easily tomorrow.

Thursday: Way Way behind schedule. By the way of explanation: 1. The work is way too boring. I have to carefully type the code, but do not have to think. It is just a matter of writing up around 300 lines of error-free stuff. Just too boring. 2. Adviser is not in town next week, so the next meeting is well into the middle of July. Hopefully, I can finish stuff by then. 3. German class is at 9 in the morning. My schedule is all affected because of waking up at 7:30.

Friday: Back to scratch now. Realized that the code that I am writing is getting clumsier and clumsier as I move to steps 3 and 4. Need to redesign 1 & 2 to make 4-10 easier.

  1. #1 by Anjana R on June 14, 2009 - 5:48 pm

    whoa!! you have really neat handwriting!

    and i subsist on very little sleep. πŸ˜€

    tw used to hate the yellow note-paper thingies. and you are uber organized dude πŸ™‚

    • #2 by Kaushik on June 15, 2009 - 5:43 pm


      I always ration for a decent sleep. Even when there are deadlines to be met. I waste too much time in office doing nothing related to the work I am supposed to do (like typing this comment)…when deadline hangs around, I just work then.
      But Sleep is essential

      “. and you are uber organized dude :)”
      You have got the wrong impression. I should put a photo of my desk next.

  2. #3 by Ammalu on June 15, 2009 - 11:25 am

    Lots have changed here since my last visit πŸ˜› .. I could not catch a word from the yellow notes πŸ˜‰ and somehow i got the idea that you are super intelligent!! πŸ˜› Is that so?? πŸ˜€

    • #4 by Kaushik on June 15, 2009 - 5:44 pm

      Now, that is the complete opossite of Anajna’s comment. My handwriting is not that bad that you could not understand anything.

      “and somehow i got the idea that you are super intelligent!! πŸ˜› Is that so?? :D”


      The purpose of the post was to highlight my laziness !

  3. #5 by sachita on June 15, 2009 - 3:19 pm

    your advisor doesnt seem to be the breathing down the neck kind. My work life isnt very different(i have made way too many of these lists!) except the manager will come with a knife called deadline and I will have give up even regular sleep!
    – Sachita “Koala”
    Ps: People can no longer call me lazy!

    • #6 by Kaushik on June 15, 2009 - 5:48 pm

      my advisor is uber cool! No deadlines from him…the thing is he often forgets where I was during the bi-weekly meetings, and I use it to my advantage…

      Sleep is just too precious to be compromised for work!

  4. #7 by andyuncut on June 16, 2009 - 1:01 pm

    I almost envy the candour on your blog. And really glad that you removed that silly thing on the right frame which you had put up for some time.

    Here’s a small punt – I”ll owe you one more Sprite if you finish 6 out of those 11 things. Now please don’t think I am trying to jinx it.

    • #8 by Kaushik on June 16, 2009 - 1:14 pm

      What silly right frame? I just used some WP theme and now I changed it just like that….

      6 out those 11….I am not sure I will even do that….my computer has gone kaput!

      But, If I do it…I will come to Kochi for the coke (I don’t like sprite)

  5. #9 by Mambalam Mani on June 22, 2009 - 8:35 pm

    Ahh! The pleasant life of a Grad Student. Accountable to no one except the adviser (who was a kind man for me anyway).

    • #10 by kaushik on June 22, 2009 - 11:04 pm

      Mambalam Mani :

      Yup! My adviser is exceptionally kind and quite forgetful….The downside is, if you are not motivated to work (all by yourself), then you get stuck :p

  6. #11 by Karthik on August 21, 2009 - 1:51 am


    Ruining others’ schedule is what you’ve been doing not just for the past semester, but the past 3 years (perhaps longer?)! πŸ™‚
    As far as research is concerned, this is what happens when you do 5 days’ work in 2 hrs time. So, start doing things at a leisure pace so that you enjoy it.

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