Time management for the supervisory role

Its not so easy when you have to manage someone else’s time effectively. I have spent the last several years learning how to manage myself. How many hours of sleep I need, what types of food help me think, and how long it takes me to complete certain tasks. Years I tell you. This knowledge did not come cheaply. Many mistakes and even a few missed obligations (of course prioritizing is a close cousin here), but I can now accomplish tasks in a timely manner without too much fuss.

Enter my new mentee, a junior undergrad. She seems bright, and seems to have lots of potential. However, she is lacking a bit of background for our lab. We have worked through a couple of protocols and she has generated some acceptable data, and so we have moved onto the next experiments.

My current challenge working with the student is planning out how long experiments will take. She has a limited schedule around her classes, and we cannot bite off more than she can chew since she only works every other day. This morning an experiment that should have taken 45-60 minutes (for a distracted graduate student) took her almost two hours. I don’t know how to handle this, except to keep optimistically planning experiments and try to minimize waste. Anyone have any strategies to help with this quandary?


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