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It’s the end of another year. And many of us will continue the tradition of making New Year’s resolutions to improve our character. Resolutions can also be extended to the workplace.

In fact, I have several suggestions for New Year’s resolutions in the lab:

Get rid of your fungus collection

The New Year is a good time to throw out your old petri dishes. Bacterial colonies should really only be kept a month or so on agar, so there is no reason to keep them until they are growing fungus. Unless you are a mycologist, that is!

Update your lab notebook everyday

Stop relying on post-it notes, hastily scrawled data on paper towels and “your memory.” Set aside time at the end of every work day to carefully think through and record the day’s experiments. You will remember details better when they are still fresh in your mind. And you will be less likely to lose a piece of data.

Try something new

Throw out superstitions and get out your rut. Do something that is new. You can start small, like running a gel without your lucky gel box, and then work up to something bigger, like learning a new technique.

Sit down and write

Stop procrastinating when it comes to writing your manuscript/thesis/grant. Just sit down and write something everyday. Even if what you write is terrible, you will have somewhere to start the next day.

Take the time to optimize

A lot of times we are tempted to just “jump in” and try an experiment. But if you take the time to do things, like titrate antibodies, you will improve your results.

Leave things better than the way you found them

Communal equipment and working areas can be a source of much frustration. Do your labmates a favor and clean as you go. Waiting for your spin to come down? Use the time to organize the area or dust off some of the equipment.

Wash your lab coat

Wash your lab coat at least once this year. C’mon, you know it needs it!

Whether you make New Year’s resolutions or not, all of us at Advansta wish you a very successful New Year.

Animation courtesy of Lenabem-Anna J.

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