“Why managing your time is not enough to be productive (and how to solve it!)”
This is a "tasting" of the course Mindful Productivity for Scientists. Keep scrolling to read all the info about the course! To sign up for the edition IN PERSON at Wageningen University, click here. Spaces are limited!
You look at your watch and it's 17.00. And you feel so awesome about yourself that you just want to scream. Because you've finished all your the priorities you had written for the day.
Send that manuscript to your co-authors.
Meeting your student.
And even started analysing your data.
And you're not even that exhausted. So finally, you go home with a smile on your face thinking how tonight you'll enjoy dinner time, and then chill at the sofa while watching the "The Handmaid's Tale".
Because you LOVE science. But you'd also love to have a life. And it seems there is no time for it!
Another way of being a scientist is possible. And I want it for you (or any other version you prefer!)...week after week.
If you’re a scientist or an academic...
You’ve already heard that the key to be productive is to FOCUS. If you're following me for a while, you’ll know is also the key to write all your papers…or basically to get things done!
And you may wonder, “OK, but how and on what do I focus?”
Well, the answer is not so easy…yes, focus is key to write and to do anything productively. But how do you get there is a multi-piece puzzle. And I'd like to share my version of that puzzle with you!
Now, do any of these things sound like you?:
You’d like to finish today this draft you have in your screen …but there you are, staring out of a window
You're constantly distracted. Email notifications, WhatsApp, your partner when you're at home and your colleagues and students at the office
Focus is not a problem, it's that there is too much to do! Write papers, analyse data, do experiments, supervise students, and even some teaching! How is it possible to do it all? And now, all those meetings
You wonder if you are actually cut out for academia. Feeling not good enough is no fun
You’ve concluded you are just too slow. There is nothing to do about it
If you’ve answered “yes, that’s totally me!” to any of the things listed above, let me tell you two things:
You’re not alone. Many scientists feel the same way. Just, it's not something we speak about!
You can do something about it. Managing your time and your to-do list in an efficient way, is a skill. The skill of time and project management. And you can learn it. The same as you learned to do it in an inefficient way!
The thing is, if you’re feeling like this, it’s not your fault. Academia is an institution that was mostly designed by white males who were good at focus and writing, and who had housewives at home taking care of their kids. If you are not in that situation, because you are not in that situation or because you struggle to focus and write, it’s totally normal you feel overwhelmed.
But things are changing. Slower than you probably would like. And now is the moment to build a system that works for you. One that you feel you're in control (and not just constantly putting fires off!).
When you find what really motivates you, and combine it with ways of controlling your mindset blocks and with proven productivity strategies, you become unstoppable!
You may have heard that to succeed in academia you need a productivity system. You may even have heard it from me.
And it may sound obvious, but here there are some not-so-obvious aspects about that system that needs to…
Work for YOU
We humans are diverse. Scientists too. You may struggle to focus in an open space while your colleagues are just fine. Or you may have small kids and you're exhausted. So you need a system customised to your needs. And a system flexible enough to adapt to the changes in life!
Start from the inside out
It needs to start with your needs, your strengths, your values…because it is inside where you’ll find the motivation to finish your work when things get hard. And believe me, things will get hard!
Include your energy
There are plenty of scientifically validated tools for time and project management. But they are not enough. They often forget the energy…you cannot measure energy as you measure the time or how far you are with your projects. But you can feel it. And you’ll need it to finish those projects!
You’re in luck because I’ve made something for you. Now let me introduce you to the…
Mindful Productivity for Scientists
A program to learn to manage your time, projects and energy. The result? Your productivity system to focus and get things done. And not just "things", but those that matter to YOU as a scientist!
Proudly trusted by scholars at
and many more!
Here’s how it all breaks down:
Values & your why
Projects and tasks
Weekly & daily planning
Focus & unfocus
Pomodoro method & perfectionism
Cyclical planning & creativity
Yearly & monthly energy
Make it last
Mindful Productivity for Scientists is not just a time a time project and time management course (although you'll also learn all about that!), but a unique program that…
Brings a mindful approach to your scientific life, connecting the practical aspects of being a scientist who has many things on the to-do list, with the mental and emotional aspects of simply being a human being. Because sometimes, it seems that’s forgotten…we are humans with a body, with emotions, with all short things going in our minds. And we cannot just switch that off and get to work.
And after understanding yourself better, what’s stopping you from moving forward, and defining what matters, we’ll get to work. To build a productivity system with proven effective strategies of time and project management: goal setting, priorities, projects, tasks, and planning!
All that, surrounded by a community of like-minded people that has a similar view of what academia should be, scientists that suffer similar struggles, and brilliant minds full of creativity that will inspire you and be inspired by you!
The end result
A productivity system that works for YOU. A toolbox customized to your needs, to help you manage not only time and projects but also your energy. And an "instruction manual" of how to use those tools and in which moment. So you can switch from from feeling overwhelmed by your to-do list, to be excited about finishing your daily and weekly tasks.
It’s not gonna do magic. You need to implement what you learn. But once you do it, you can see results like this:
Jordi Gamir Felip
University Jaume I, Spain
During my lab years, I was pretty organized, but I lost the habit along the way. And this lack of organization and distractions did not let me focus. This course has helped me to plan my work again. And more importantly, to identify what are those tasks that are moving my career forward and prioritize them! This course can suit different types of people… Those who are not organized will learn how to plan and set goals (among other things!). People who are organized will learn how to apply many concepts that may be familiar but did not know how to implement (my case).
I'm not a planning person, I just do what I feel like. It used to work but often I ended up continuously working for 12h and totally break down the next day. Now I make time for things that really matter…those that are in line with my priorities and my values. This course has opened my eyes that many things I often do are just procrastinating or perfection-seeking. I definitely should have done this course earlier. I'm having a better work-life balance after this course.
Universidad de Yucatan-CSIC, Mexico-Spain
Before I took this course I had some organization. But, I was having trouble keeping my energy high and, some days II was anxious about having a lot of things to do. After the course, I watch those tasks with perspective, confidently prioritizing, and even asking for help! One of my favorite things I’ve learned is to set ambitious goals and break them down into little pieces.
New College of Florida, USA
After taking this course, I am now more compassionate with myself. The examples in the lessons are so specific to the life of a scientist that now I realize some things that before were not so evident to me. I am good at what I do! Only I’ve been surrounded by unrealistic expectations, which made me believe I was not good enough. A clear outcome of taking this course is that now my productivity is more consistent, and those moments of not feeling “good enough” have almost disappeared!
Why I may be your kind of person...
Hey, I’m Ana, and…
I've taken everything I've learned from more than 15 years doing research. Supervising master students and Ph.D. researchers. Collaborating with top researchers in the fields of Ecology and Entomology in Spain and The Netherlands. And working during the last year with scientists that wanted to focus and write. And here I combined that with my own struggles.
Feeling small covered by an impostor syndrome that peaked when I started as a postdoc in Wageningen, as a non-native English speaker, surrounded by excellent scientists. Unable to focus around the distractions of being a new mum. Or lost in uncertainty about what should I do with my life every time my contract was about to finish.
But I've also learned something crucial: productivity is a skill. You can learn it. And that's what I want to help you with.
Ready to get started?
Or keep reading…
Imagine what the world would be like if you…
Have a system to work productively, and that you can adapt depending on your needs.
Say hi to procrastination and impostor syndrome when they arrive, and quickly kick them out!
Set up the foundation of WHY are you doing your work, so you can go back and gather the motivation you need.
Plan your days, weeks, months, and years, having clear priorities. Things that matter to YOU.
Say NO without feeling guilty. Because you are now the priority. Finally!
Become more consistent, get things done, and feel confident!
That’s what I want for you with
Mindful Productivity for Scientists
And this is what past students say about this course...
University of Alicante, Spain
Before the course, I felt stuck and worried about not advancing in my work tasks – my first own Marie Curie project in a very productive group and a backpack with tasks from my previous postdoc. A big result has been to understand that I need to set boundaries and ask for help, so I can protect my own time and energy to do the work I want to do. Not feeling alone felt very comforting and encouraging. And last, I simply liked the atmosphere and people!
Daniela Requena Suarez PhD researcher
I was about to enter the final months of my PhD and was overwhelmed by the final steps. In the end, I was able to plan everything day-by-day, and even had the mental energy to take additional challenges. After the course I managed to submit a PhD thesis on time, so I'm very happy that I joined! I would have finished it regardless, but definitely with a more troubled mentality. I'm currently in the post-submission stage, happily going through a "void" period and not feeling guilty about it! I'm super happy I signed up!
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands
When I joined this course I had just started a tenure track position and I felt utterly overwhelmed. I was just working like crazy, but not having time for my own research. I felt that I couldn't enjoy any time off because I hadn't achieved enough for my work. The course really helped me get clear what my values are and what I should give priority. Even if this means that I have to say no to others.
Charles University Prague, Czech Republic
Before this course my working hours were completely inefficient. Just the fact that I spent money made me really put effort into it. As a result, my productivity has changed beyond measure. I have a plan with the steps to finish my dissertation. And even when I’m still behind my schedule, I feel so empowered knowing I can do it! I am just sorry I didn't take this course much sooner.
This program is for you if:
You feel overwhelmed by all the things you need to do, and unsure of whether you are focusing on the right things
You don’t really have a plan, and mostly work on the urgent things first (mostly coming to you by email!)
Whenever you look at your to-do list you get a burst of anxiety and the only thing you feel like doing is watching Netflix
You spend your days putting off fires and wondering when will you finally have time to write
You struggle to focus
You’re just exhausted! Not mentioning demotivated
NIOO-KNAW, Wageningen, The Netherlands
Before I joined this course I was feeling negative around my work. Especially due to the lack of motivation, not having clear priorities and being drained by difficult tasks. Now I feel less stressed because I am aware that many of my blocks (such as procrastination) come from emotions, but I can understand them and put into place with the tools I got. Also, having a good planning and overview has helped me feel more positive about myself and my work. I’d recommend to invest in this program as a mini-journey to know yourself better and take action on those issues that are blocking you from working efficiently.
Umeå University, Sweden
On my days before this course I felt like my job was putting out the most urgent fires around me. I found it hard to prioritize and concentrate. During these weeks I’ve learned what are the things that hold me back, and how to tackle them. Much of the struggle to be productive comes from a fear of not being good enough, and being organized is a big help! One of my big "a-ha" moments has been to prioritize tasks to achieve more of my personal goals instead of others’ priorities, while still feeling a good teacher and mentor. For me it was very helpful to have a teacher in this, and a peer group with similar struggles. I would not have implemented these things without the course, I needed the kick in the butt!
University of Birmingham,UK
I have always been organized but, in recent years when I needed it more (being a new mum), I have lost this organization's capacity. The course has boosted my confidence and clarify my professional goals. I recommend it 100%! It's super useful for different things: (i) to realize that with some modifications in our daily life (professional and familiar) you can be more productive, (ii) to keep you more focused, (iii) increase your emotional energy and your confidence. A big thing for me was to reflect on what and where I am and what and where I want to be in my professional career. Then, all makes sense!
Imperial College London, UK
Before this course I struggled with feelings of anxiety and worry about my research. This would stop me from completing my day-to-day tasks. Now I trust myself to get everything I need done. I had a big “a-ha” moment when I suddenly realised how happy I was again. I wasn’t worried about anything, and I was able to really enjoy my lab work and my writing again. Before starting the course, I thought Ana was going to tell me about a great online tool which was going to totally transform my planning. That’s not what she did, but she did something so much better – she showed me that I don’t need a fancy tool, I can do it all myself. It’s so simple and effective… who knew!
But I also need to tell you that this program is probably NOT for you if:
You have a productivity system that works for you. If that’s you, don’t lose your precious time. Just go and do your science, do more of what works well, and tweak what could improve.
You want an easy and fast solution to your problems. The solutions I know take time and effort ;)
You are not willing to look inside you…The mindful aspect of this program requires that you dig a bit inside you, finding your values, what motivates you, or why you do what you do. It’s up to you how deep you want to dig, but at least you’ll need to go through the outer layers!
You are seeking a solution to feelings of depression or burnout. I am not a therapist. These are serious issues that require professional help, so if you feel you need that kind of help, please contact a professional. Most Universities will offer support.
Are you still not sure if this is for you?
Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org explaining your situation and doubts and I’ll get back to you ASAP! Or you can also send me a quick message here below (peach-colour bubble!)
THIS COURSE WOULD BE A BIG INVESTMENT FOR ME. IS IT REALLY WORTH THE PRICE?
Absolutely. Most early-career scientists end up suffering a delay in defending their Ph.D. thesis, finding the next job, and finalising all the tasks of a project (which often we carry as a heavy stone during the next project). And issues with time management are often at the core of that delay. But also, at a deeper level, this program will help you with the stress, motivation and overwhelm. And THIS, is priceless.
CAN I GET THIS COURSE FUNDED BY MY INSTITUTION?
You’ll need to check this with your supervisor (plus probably some sort of approval to take a course during your working hours). In my experience, you may get full or partial funding for this type of courses, but that's out of my control ;)
IS IT WORTH SPENDING TIME ON A COURSE ABOUT SAVING TIME WHEN I AM SO BUSY?
Definitely! I expect you’ll save the hours you invest in the course, from distracted and unproductive time (hard to measure though…). So think about all those hours you can save in a year after you finish the course!
I AM A POSTDOC/ASSISTANT PROFESSOR IS THIS COURSE SUITABLE FOR ME?
Yes. The students of “I focus and write” are a mix of Ph.D., Postdocs, and Assistant Professors. In the last editions of this course, 42% were post-docs and 18% were assistant professors or similar.
IS THIS COURSE DIFFERENT FROM MINDFUL SCIENTIFIC WRITING?
Yes, it is! In the writing course, you learn an introduction to what Mindful Productivity is, and that is around 20% of the writing course. The results of that have been mind-blowing for many students. And they wanted more! So, I expanded the topic in this course, with a productivity content of around 60% (the rest 40% is about mindset around productivity).
IS THIS COURSE ONLY FOR WOMEN?
Not at all! Any gender identity is welcome. Although the majority of my students identify as female, there are always a few men and non-binary people in my courses. All of them are people who struggle to focus and manage their time, and who are interested in mindful approaches and insightful discussions about academic life.
Do you have a question that is not answered here? Or would you like to discuss your situation? Just drop me an email at email@example.com!
Just by purchasing this program, you won't see results on your productivity automatically. You’ll have to actually do the work. Your results may vary depending on your situation, the time you spend on the course, and the complexity of your life! A please remember: I am not a therapist. If you have any symptoms of depression or a mental health problems. This course is NOT the solution (and please find professional help).