Under the gun

We are currently finishing up our next issue (to be sent off to the production team where it magically becomes a ‘real’ journal (i.e., one that you can hold in your hand and show to your mom)) and so for the past couple of days our eyes have constantly been on the calendar. In particular, at this time of the month, our thoughts change from something vague, like, ‘did I remember to ask this scientist to write a review article for the journal’ or ‘how can I best explain that paper in a 200-word Research Highlight’ to something more specific, like ‘did we see the proofs of the Research Highlights yesterday’ or ‘did that author get back to us on whether her images were the wrong size,’ etc.

Having such defined deadlines is great for keeping things organized, and it reminds me how hard it was for me to ever get anything done as a postdoc since there were few (if any) external deadlines. Am I the only one who needs structure? Or if you all similarly find the vague concept of ‘needing to get things done’ uninspiring, what are your tips and tricks for buckling down and getting something finished?

Catherine (associate editor, Nature Chemical Biology)