I need to juggle a part-time programming job, along with a research position. Why? Well, because my research position doesn't pay much, and I have a lot of (student) debt to cover. I have only recently begun to "bloom" academically, so I don't have the history of performance required for a compelling scholarship application just yet either.

I am having trouble switching between "work" and "research". Going from "research" to "work" is pretty easy and painless, because work requires almost no "mental preparation". I put mental preparation in quotation marks because I am not sure if it's something that exists, but to me it seems that the longer I have been immersed in a "research phase", the more productive I seem to become. My mental picture of the problem gets clearer in my mind and grows organically the longer I have been immersed in the "research phase", naturally letting me understand what I have to learn/do next. Switching to work-mode disrupts this mental picture, and I have to spend time re-building it when going back to research, which leads to lots of procrastination. There isn't a comparable mental preparation state when it comes to doing my job. Thus, going from "work" to "research" is not so easy, while going from "research" to "work" is painless. It also seems like work doesn't give me the time to "mope" when research isn't going well -- and I have come to value seemingly unproductive, semi-self-hating moping sessions, because they allow me to suss out what it is I am unhappy with in my current approach.

How has this problem been dealt with (successfully, or unsuccessfully) by others? I am having trouble finding questions which seem to address this directly, but perhaps I am just tired today and my search-fu is not up to par. In any case, I am sure many questions with such a theme have been asked...

Could you help lead a horse to water?


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