10 Tips to Organize Your Lab Space for Better Productivity

10 Tips to Organize Your Lab Space for Better Productivity

Do you hate it when you get into the lab ready to get stuff done and then find yourself spending the first 45 minutes of the day hunting for what you need? We do too. So read these 10 tips to organize your lab space for better productivity and spend less time hunting for stuff and more time doing research.

How to Share Your Lab Protocols and Why It Benefits You

How to Share Your Lab Protocols and Why It Benefits You

Reproducibility is a cornerstone of scientific research and your results need to be reproducible not only by yourself but also by others, both in and outside of your laboratory.  This reproducibility is key for validation of your results as well as to further expand on the knowledge gained during the experiment. In order to accurately…

Simple Tips for a Clean(-ish) Lab Drawer

Simple Tips for a Clean(-ish) Lab Drawer

Picture it: 6:00 pm on a Friday night. You have one or more experiments running. Maybe you’re doing a western blot, or following a staining protocol for an immunohistochemistry experiment, or just labeling tubes. But rather than working on active experiments, you’re helplessly searching through the lab drawer for that one pair of forceps, that…

How to Cope With Overwhelm in the Lab: Taming Your Inbox

How to Cope With Overwhelm in the Lab: Taming Your Inbox

Look around you in your lab, your institution, and even in the world in general and you’ll see how much we all gravitate towards stress and overwhelm. Stress is just the workplace norm. Overwhelm means you are working “hard enough”. Being so occupied that you are frantically buzzing around from one task to another means…

Need a Few More Hours in the Day?  Here Are Some Timesaving Tips

Need a Few More Hours in the Day? Here Are Some Timesaving Tips

Are you constantly looking for ways to squeeze more lab hours out of the day? Here are some timesaving tips that can help. Figure out Where Your Time Goes Not sure where you are losing those valuable hours? Use a website like Toggl to help you keep track of your time. This will make it…

Why You Should Dedicate Time to Write Detailed Protocols

Why You Should Dedicate Time to Write Detailed Protocols

During my first year as a graduate student, one of the earliest pieces of advice that I received from a senior student in the lab was to keep detailed protocols. In fact, she had a folder of her own protocols, all of them extremely detailed and riddled with notes. When she showed me how to…

How to Effectively Organize a Research Lab

How to Effectively Organize a Research Lab

An academic lab is a unique working environment. Lab members are expected to take responsibility for their own research projects and perform the work quickly and efficiently. However, unlike an industrial or corporate setting, there are often no clearly defined management structures. This means that when it comes to communal equipment, reagents and resources, individual…

Science as Sport? Improve Your Work by Changing Your Perspective

Science as Sport? Improve Your Work by Changing Your Perspective

“You think you know, but you don’t know and you never will, okay?” was the response an irate Jim Mora, head coach of the New Orleans Saints, gave to an unwitting journalist questioning his management – his point being that unless you’ve actually been in a professional sports team, you will never know what it’s…

Common New Year’s Resolutions for Scientists (and how to keep them) 

Common New Year’s Resolutions for Scientists (and how to keep them) 

A new year means new resolutions and a chance to improve ourselves. All too often, however, these changes last only a few weeks before we slip back into old ways. Why not make 2015 different and make a change that sticks? These changes don’t have to be huge, and often it’s the small changes that…

20 Ways to Increase your Productivity

20 Ways to Increase your Productivity

No matter how efficient you are, it’s always possible to improve your productivity and improving your productivity means that you get more of the rewards you are trying to obtain: results, publications… or dare I say it, money. Here are 20 ways to improve your productivity. Some are focussed toward improving the productivity of bench…

Spring Cleaning in the Lab – How not to Have Skeletons in your Lab Closet

Spring Cleaning in the Lab – How not to Have Skeletons in your Lab Closet

Most of us hate cleaning and are often hard pressed to find time to clean our homes, never mind our laboratory space. However, an annual spring clean and maintenance of a regular cleaning rota/regime will contribute to an efficient, organized and harmonious lab environment. This is increasingly important in communal lab spaces where multiple staff…

6 Ways to Maximize the Lifetime of Your Reagents

6 Ways to Maximize the Lifetime of Your Reagents

Reagents are expensive and are a significant cost to your lab. You know what to do to keep others from stealing your reagents. But contamination, improper storage and “lost” batches will all eat into your stock of reagents, bump up your consumables costs and waste your precious time. Unless you take steps to prevent them, that…

Damage control: One thing you must always to do ensure your data is reliable

Damage control: One thing you must always to do ensure your data is reliable

Whenever you make up a solution or use a purchased reagent in the lab, you trust the work of a whole army of people and equipment. If any one of those links in the chain has a technical problem or makes a mistake, then your reagent might turn out to be faulty. And that can…

10 Commonly Broken Good Laboratory Practices

10 Commonly Broken Good Laboratory Practices

What comes to mind when you think of good laboratory practices? To many, good laboratory practices describes the best conduct while working at the bench. The laboratory is a complex environment and understanding how small, seemingly innocuous, actions can have such a huge impact on the outcome of an experiment will help you to ensure…

Superstitions And Habits At The Bench: Sensible, Or Just A Little Bit Odd?

Superstitions And Habits At The Bench: Sensible, Or Just A Little Bit Odd?

Everybody is different when it comes to how they like to run their work space.  Some people just find a space in the lab and work wherever there’s room, sharing their tips and pipettes, while others like to have a designated area to do their lab work in, with their own equipment. Personally, I much…

Making a List, Checking it Twice: 5 End-of-the-year Lab Tasks

Making a List, Checking it Twice: 5 End-of-the-year Lab Tasks

A lot of effort is spent on running experiments…and occasionally it can feel like an almost equal amount of effort is spent on administrative tasks! Policy compliance is important for keeping everyone in the lab safe, but it can be difficult to keep track of it all when your primary duties are at the bench….